Edberg punishes errors by Krajicek

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Stefan Edberg enrolled Richard Krajicek into an exclusive club yesterday, membership restricted to Wimbledon champions who fail to pass first base at the United States Open. The Dutchman is in the company of two Australians, John Newcombe and Pat Cash, along with Edberg himself.

The 30-year-old Swede made an impressive start to the 54th consecutive and concluding Grand Slam championship of his career by eliminating the Dutchman, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Edberg not only outplayed Krajicek but also profited from his opponent's unforced errors. Krajicek suffered a nosebleed after cutting himself with his towel at 1-4 in the second set, but by then he was fighting a lost cause.

While Edberg was punishing Krajicek on the Stadium Court, Britain's Tim Henman was also advancing to the second round with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win against Roberto Jabali, a 26-year-old Brazilian who came into the draw as a replacement for the injured Mats Wilander.

The British No 1's determination to build on his quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon was evident from the start, and he was a class above Jabali throughout. Henman's superior serves, volleys and groundstrokes underlined the gap of 118 places in the world rankings.

Henman now plays either Doug Flach, the American who eliminated Andre Agassi in the first round at Wimbledon, or Italy's Gianluca Pozzi.

Siding with the establishment is not usually Agassi's style, but the Las Vegan made an exception by offering sympathy to the beleaguered United States Tennis Association. Agassi and his American compatriot Michael Chang were notable absentees when 50 leading players gathered on the eve of the tournament to demand that the Grand Slam championships adhere to ATP Tour world rankings in future.

Chang, promoted to No 2 seed above Austria's Thomas Muster, did, however, express support for his peers after winning his opening match against the Brazilian Jaime Oncins, 3-6, 6-1, 6-0, 7-6. "I think the USTA will probably think twice about doing it next year," Chang said.

Agassi, raised in the seedings from seven to six, marked his 100th Grand Slam victory with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win against Colombia's Mauricio Hadad. He then appealed for a ceasefire in the political sniping which has escalated since the USTA was forced to remake the men's singles draw after failing to announce the seedings in advance.

Agassi said: "The ATP has used the US Open for a platform to announce many things, including the start of their Tour. Then for the USTA to make an admitted mistake and for the ATP to prey upon it, try to take advantage of the situation here in their backyard is disappointing. I can't be part of that."

In the women's singles, Croatia's Iva Majoli, the fifth seed, was eliminated by Judith Wiesner, of Austria, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1; Jennifer Capriati, the former American prodigy, lost 6-4, 6-4 to Annabel Ellwood; and Kimiko Date, the Japanese 10th seed and a Wimbledon semi- finalist, was defeated by the American Kimberly Po 6-2 7-5.