Tennis: Early exit for Hingis

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The Independent Online
The unheralded Japanese Ai Sugiyama provided an early upset when she beat Martina Hingis in straight sets in the second round of the women's singles. Sugiyama, ranked 24th in the world, won 6-4, 6-4. Hingis, 15, the 15th seed, held a 3-0 lead in the second set but the 21-year-old Sugiyama came back strongly, moving well and hitting winners beyond the reach of even the fleet-footed Hingis.

The teenager's Olympic hopes now rest with the doubles competition and she hopes to win at least a round to enable her to stay on to watch the equestrian competition, her other favourite sport.

"I have seen the dressage but I would also like to see the jumping so I hope we can stay one more day," said Hingis, a keen horsewoman herself. "If we lose, I go home."

Hingis, Czech by birth but now a Swiss national, won the Wimbledon women's doubles title last month with Helena Sukova but says the Olympic experience is quite different.

"The opening ceremony is something different you don't have at the French Open or Wimbledon." she said.

On her defeat, Hingis said her opponent was too quick and too unpredictable on the backhand. "You could never tell if it would come down the line or crosscourt," she said.

Monica Seles went through easily, beating Patricia Hy-Boulais 6-3, 6- 2. The top-seeded Seles served seven aces and hit 26 winners.

Tim Henman, the British Wimbledon quarter-finalist, is having a ball on and off court in Atlanta,immersing himself in the special atmosphere of the event. Henman, who faced the Australian Todd Woodbridge in the early hours of this morning, was in no mood to see his dream die.

"Tim needed a tough match to start, and that's what he got from Shuzo Matzuoka on Tuesday," said his coach, David Felgate. "Now he feels he's really part of the Olympics, part of something he's grown up watching on television and reading about, and he wants more of it.

"People can wait four years for this, and then just lose. The feeling that it means so much is something Tim has to develop - just like Pete Sampras.

"He's got to get to that stage where he has that same feeling for the big events, the Grand Slams and the Olympics, but he's a British tennis player who the fans believe in now."