Ivanisevic has solid start to his game plan

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The Independent Online
Tennis

Goran Ivanisevic, the top seed, advanced into the second round of the Sydney International tournament yesterday, defeating Germany's Marc Goellner 6-3, 6-4.

There were, however, upsets in the women's event, with Rene Simpson, a qualifier from Canada, removing the sixth-seeded Karina Habsudova of Slovakia, 6-4, 7-5 and the French qualifier Sarah Pitkowski overwhelming Natasha Zvereva, of Belarus, 6-0, 6-0.

Ivanisevic, beaten in the 1996 final by Todd Martin, played a solid match. He missed a break point in the fourth game, but broke to lead 4-2 and consolidated his advantage with an ace to go up 5-2. After Ivanisevic sealed the first set with another ace, a forehand error from Goellner gave Ivanisevic a break for 2-1 in the second set, and that was enough to settle affairs. Although Goellner tried drop shots and covering the net as well as rallying from the baseline, he made too many unforced errors.

"He didn't play a great match but I did enough to beat him," Ivanisevic said. "I'm moving very well and not missing many balls. My serve isn't 100 per cent, but it's my first match outdoors and it's important to use this tournament to get ready for [the Australian Open] next week."

Habsudova, ranked 11th, made a lively start, moving to a 3-0 lead against 149th-ranked Simpson, but the Canadian fought back to take the set. A strong finish saw her claim the last three games of the second set and the match.

Pitkowski, like Simpson, appeared to have benefitted from playing qualifying matches and she felt acclimatised to the warm and windy conditions. After struggling to hold in the opening game, the spirited 21-year-old from Paris dropped just six points on her service in the remainder of the match.

Hernan Gumy, the fifth seed from Argentina, defeated the unseeded Spaniard, Tomas Carbonell, 7-5, 6-2 in the opening match of the New Zealand Open men's tournament in Auckland. Carbonell was on holiday in New Zealand when he was called in as a replacement for the American MaliVai Washington, who withdrew last week because of a back injury.

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