Facebook Twitter

Hingis struggles; Agassi on the verge

SHARE Hingis struggles; Agassi on the verge

Swiping the grass with her racket in frustration, Martina Hingis hardly looked like a Wimbledon champion today in struggling past a player ranked 79th in the world.

Hingis received a surprising challenge from Russia's Elena Makarova before winning 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 to reach the third round on another day when rain proved a formidable opponent."I made it tough on myself," Hingis said. "It wasn't an outstanding performance, I must say. Maybe tomorrow's a better day."

Lisa Raymond, who lost to Hingis in a tight, first-round match, had said the Swiss teenager was "vulnerable" to an upset. And that seemed true today, with Hingis facing a player who had won only four matches all year.

When the match started after a half-hour rain delay, Hingis made uncharacteristic unforced errors and seemed to rush her shots.

"I was a little bit surprised by the way she played," Hingis said. "She served very well, played very fast. I tried to force it more and more and made more and more mistakes."

Makarova was poised to win the first set when she broke for a 5-4 lead. But the Russian double faulted to lose serve, then Hingis held at love in the next game and dominated the tiebreaker.

Play was stopped because of showers at the start of the second set. When the match resumed 30 minutes later, Hingis raced to a 4-1 lead. But she faltered again as Makarova won three straight games to tie the set at 4-4.

When Makarova broke in the eighth game, Hingis slammed the grass with her racket and grimaced. Hingis broke back in the next game and then served out the match, closing with a backhand winner.

In other early matches, No. 3 Jana Novotna was playing Tatiana Panova, and Jennifer Capriati faced fellow American wild card Lori McNeil.

Wimbledon has lost six of the 16 men's seeds in the first three days - and now Andre Agassi is in danger of going out, too.

Agassi, the 1992 champion and No. 13 seed, was trailing two sets to one against Germany's Tommy Haas when the second-round match was suspended because of darkness Wednesday night.

Agassi was furious over a line call that helped Haas win the third set. A forehand by Haas was ruled good, even though replays showed the ball clearly out.

Agassi stabbed the spot where he saw the ball land, then approached chair umpire John Frame.

"It was nearly six inches (out)," he protested. "It was out both ways. It was wide and it was long."

Frame shook his head and the call stood, giving Haas a 6-3 lead in the tiebreaker. Agassi saved one set point, but succumbed on the next to fall behind 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

Play was then suspended, and Agassi resumed his protest.

"In 12 years, I've never seen it miss that much," he said to Frame.

The Centre Court crowd jeered the umpire and linesmen as they left the court.

With the match resumes today, Agassi will have a lot of work to do to reach the third round.

In a sign of how wide open the men's field is, four seeds went out Wednesday - No. 2 Marcelo Rios, No. 4 Greg Rusedski, No. 8 Cedric Pioline and No. 15 Karol Kucera. No. 7 Yevgeny Kafelnikov and No. 10 Alex Corretja had been ousted earlier.

Rios proved what many thought: He didn't deserve to be seeded No. 2 behind Pete Sampras. The moody Chilean's distaste for grass was apparent as he lost in five sets to Spain's Francisco Clavet.