Tennis: Hingis coasts through and sets sights on Graf

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The Independent Online
MARTINA HINGIS, the world No 1, sealed a comfortable opening victory in the German Open in Berlin yesterday, overcoming the Spaniard, Gala Leon Garcia, 6-3, 6-2.

Hingis said she felt sluggish at the start of the match, but that she hoped to avoid the pitfalls that have sent her home early in previous years. "It took some time to get going," the Swiss player said. "I hope this year is better... in the past it has been Steffi Graf's tournament."

Hingis faces Elena Likhovtseva, of Russia, in the next round. Likhovtseva beat Dominique van Roost, of Belgium, 6-3, 7-5.

The French Open champion, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, seeded fourth in Berlin, needed nearly three hours and three tie-breaks to defeat the American, Corina Morariu, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6.

Mary Pierce was forced to withdraw from the tournament because of a thigh injury. America's Jennifer Capriati beat Amanda Hopmans, a "lucky loser" from the Netherlands, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. The schedule was again interrupted by rain.

Five British men posted encouraging results in the Futures event in Edinburgh.

Tom Spinks, James Nelson, Miles Maclagan, Mark Hilton and Iain Bates all moved through to the second round.

Hilton, Cheshire's junior national champion, successfully played himself back into contention to record a satisfying 3-6 7-5, 6-4 victory over Charles Maria of France. Rain prevented play in the women's satellite tournament.

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