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Hingis handles perfect opponent

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NEW YORK — The perfect opponent allowed Martina Hingis to play nearly perfect tennis.

"I just liked her game," the top-seeded Hingis said of Kristi Brandi of Tampa, Fla. "She gave me enough time to really play my game and to dominate."

Hingis made only four unforced errors as she waltzed into the third round of the U.S. Open with a 6-1, 6-1 victory Wednesday night.

"It's nice to hear, only four unforced errors," Hingis said with a laugh.

For nearly all of the seeded players, Wednesday was a laughing matter. Only No. 13 Amanda Coetzer was taken to the limit as she beat Germany's Jana Kandarr 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Other seeded women advancing to the third round were No. 3 Venus Williams, No. 6 Monica Seles, No. 9 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, No. 11 Sandrine Testud and No. 15 Jennifer Capriati.

Pete Sampras, a four-time Open winner and seeded fourth this year, won his second-round match, beating fellow American Justin Gimelstob 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. His next opponent will be Argentina's Agustin Calleri, a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 winner over Czech Petr Kralert.

All the other men's matches were from the first round. And, unlike Tuesday when No. 2 Gustavo Kuerten was upset, there were no surprises. The winners included No. 3 Magnus Norman, No. 6 Marat Safin, No. 10 Cedric Pioline and No. 15 Mark Philippoussis.

While Hingis had no problems brushing past Brandi, she cautioned about reading too much into her performance.

"I think I showed that I can play real well," she said. "But this is just the second round. It's just like daily business, almost.

"You don't want to stay out here too long. It's a tough day tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it."

Hingis was scheduled to play two matches Thursday. She will team with Mary Pierce against American Clare Curran and Australian Amy Jensen in women's doubles, then join Jan-Michael Gambill for a mixed doubles match against Americans Kimberly Po and Donald Johnson.

Thursday's schedule at Arthur Ashe Stadium began with No. 9 Lleyton Hewitt meeting Julien Boutter of France, followed by No. 2 Lindsay Davenport, the 1998 women's champion, taking on Belgium's Kim Clijsters. The day's session was to be capped by top-seeded Andre Agassi playing Arnaud Clement of France.

The night session pits No. 5 Serena Williams against Russia's Nadejda Petrova, then No. 7 Thomas Enqvist against American Davis Cupp player Chris Woodruff.

Other high seeds to see action Thursday include Pierce, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Tim Henman, Conchita Martinez and Anna Kournikova.

Like Hingis, Venus Williams feels her game is rapidly rounding into shape, which is scary for someone whose last loss was in the French Open at the beginning of the summer.

"I feel very well," Williams said after her 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of Kveta Hrdlickova of the Czech Republic. "I felt my forehand down the line right now isn't where I want it to be. I feel like I'm rushing it a little bit, not enough topspin. But other than that, I feel confident, especially in the big points. I feel like it's going to go my way."

Sampras also showed off his power game, as his 44 winners included 13 aces — four of them coming in the final game. There was nothing Gimelstob could do to hurt him in the 1 1/2-hour match.

"It was one of those matches where everything kind of clicked," Sampras said. "It happens every now and again when you play like that."