Top-ranked Kuerten cruises in first round

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Gustavo Kuerten cruised to a first-round victory in the Tennis Masters-Cincinnati tournament in Mason, Ohio, while Magnus Norman struggled.

Gustavo Kuerten cruised to a first-round victory in the Tennis Masters-Cincinnati tournament in Mason, Ohio, while Magnus Norman struggled.

Kuerten on Monday routed Jerome Golmard of France 6-0, 6-4. Norman needed two tie-breakers to beat Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7).

Norman said he was still making the adjustment from clay to hard courts.

"I feel like my game is picking up every time I step on the court," the native of Sweden said. "By the time the U.S. Open starts, I think I will be in good shape."

Two seeded players were knocked out of the dlrs 2.95 million tournament Monday. Hicham Arazi of Morocco upset No. 10 Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador 6-4, 6-4, and Arnaud Clement of France beat No. 12 Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 6-4, 6-2.

In other matches, 13th-seeded Franco Squillari of Argentina beat countryman Gaston Gaudio 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-0; 16th-seeded Mark Philippoussis of Australia beat Arnaud Di Pasquale of France 6-4, 6-2; Sebastian Grosjean of France beat Karol Kucera of Slovakia 6-4, 6-4; and Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands beat Michael Chang 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

Also, Slava Dosedel of the Czech Republic beat Mardy Fish 7-6 (11), 6-2; Chris Woodruff upset 24th-ranked Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3; and Marcelo Rios of Chile defeated No. 23 Marc Rosset of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4.

Chang, whose fortunes seemed to be on the rise two weeks ago when he won in Los Angeles - his first title in nearly two years - lost in the second round at Masters Series-Canada last week and in the first round here.

"I try to take things in stride now, after all the problems I've had," Chang said. "The week in Los Angeles was a great week, and obviously I would have liked to carry it over into Toronto and here, but it just wasn't meant to be."

Chang was broken six times, once more than Schalken, as the two baseliners volleyed for 2 hours, 12 minutes - the longest match of the day.

"He will never give up, so you know you always have to fight him a couple of times in a match," Schalken said. "You have to know that at the start."

Kuerten wasted no time ending any thoughts Golmard might have entertained about duplicating last week's success. The Brazilian quickly overwhelmed Golmard, who upset Andre Agassi in the first round at Toronto.

"The main thing was starting well," said Kuerten, a two-time French Open winner. "I didn't want to give him any hopes. The beginning of the match changed a lot of things. I could play more relaxed.

"I think after I got up a break in the first game he got a little frustrated, and I think he was a little bit tired from last week."

Taking over the top spot in the points race was no big deal for Kuerten.

"Every day I wake up different - older," he said. "The race has been interesting. It's been so close that it can change every week. I don't think about it.

"I have enough things to think about every day. I don't think it means I'm the best player in the world. It just means that I've been playing the best so far this year."

Results from the $2.95 million Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati ATP Tour hard-court tournament:

Singles - First Round

Chris Woodruff (US) def. Dominik Hrbaty (Slovak) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Francisco Clavet (Sp) def. Roger Federer (Swit) 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4). (13) Franco Squillari (Arg) def. Gaston Gaudio (Arg) 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-0. (4)Gustavo Kuerten (Br) def. Jerome Golmard (Fr) 6-0, 6-4. Slava Dosedel (Cze) def. Mardy Fish (US) 7-6 (11), 6-2. (3) Magnus Norman (Swe) def. Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg) 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7). Marcelo Rios (Chile) def. Marc Rosset (Swit) 6-4, 6-4. Carlos Moya (Sp) def. Karim Alami (Mor) 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4. Hicham Arazi (Mor) def. (10) Nicolas Lapentti (Ecu) 6-4, 6-4. Stefan Koubek (Aut) def. Thomas Johansson (Swe) 6-2, 6-3. Arnaud Clement (Fr) def. Juan Carlos Ferrero (Sp) 6-4, 6-2. Sjeng Schalken (Neth) def. Michael Chang (US) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Sebastian Grosjean (Fr) def. Karol Kucera (Slovak) 6-4, 6-4. (16) Mark Philippoussis (Aus) def. Arnaud Di Pasquale (Fr) 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles - First Round

Jeff Tarango (US) and Peter Tramacchi (Aus) def. Peter Nyborg (Swe) and Cyril Suk (Cze) 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (4). Lleyton Hewitt and Sandon Stolle (Aus) def. Aleksandar Kitinov (Maced) and Andrei Olhovskiy (Rus) 6-2, 6-4. (6) Wayne Ferreira (SA) and Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus) def. Scott Humphries (US) and Fabrice Santoro (Fr) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.