Serbians Djokovic, Ivanovic and Jankovic Rule Aussie Open First Round

Defending champion Novak Djokovic recovered from a sluggish start by winning seven of his last eight games Monday to advance to the second round at the Australian Open.

With temperatures hitting 97 degrees on a bright, sunny day at Melbourne Park, the 21-year-old Serb took a while settling in before beating Andrea Stoppini of Italy 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.

Djokovic recovered a break in the second set and rallied from 4-0 down in the third.

His fellow Serbs had some minor lapses in their first-round wins.

In the match before Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, top-ranked Jelena Jankovic asked for ice because she felt like the soles of her feet were burning during her 6-1, 6-3 win over Yvonne Meusburger of Austria.

Fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic, who lost last year's final here to Maria Sharapova and won the French Open, opened with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Julia Goerges.

Ivanovic was broken once in each set but fended off five other break points before finishing with consecutive aces against Goerges, a German ranked No. 107 and playing only her fourth major.

Djokovic lost his first match of the year at Brisbane before getting a wild card for the Sydney International, where he reached the semifinals last week.

"I had a little slow start in the first two weeks, I didn't play my best tennis," he said. "Today I was very down in the second and third set, and I turned it around. Hopefully I can get going and get a good result here."

Ivanovic and Jankovic both said they needed time to find their rhythm.

"I don't expect myself to step on the court and play perfect tennis from very first moment," said Ivanovic, who was ousted in the third round at Wimbledon and in the second at the U.S. Open. "You just want to give yourself the best possible chance and give time to work yourself into the tournament."

She and Goerges finished with a combined 66 unforced errors to just 34 winners and were called for several foot faults.

Jankovic, who lost the U.S. Open final to Serena Williams and has yet to win a major title, ripped 27 winners. Her problem was more with the climate than the opponent after two months off.

"Today it was so hot, my feet were really burning," said Jankovic, who is recovering from an illness that caused her to pull out of a Hong Kong tournament. "I knew I had to deal with it."

"I played well in the first set. A little bit slowed down, lost my concentration in the second. But it's all right. It comes with playing matches, getting the routine, and just the whole rhythm out there."

Seventh-seeded Andy Roddick had no trouble finding his timing, making only 10 unforced errors in a 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 win over 31-year-old Swedish qualifier Bjorn Rehnquist.

The 2003 U.S. Open champion lost only nine points in the first set, sealing it in 28 minutes after setting up triple set point with consecutive aces.

Roddick, a semifinalist in Australia every alternate year since 2003, came into the tournament as runner-up to fourth-ranked Andy Murray at the Qatar Open and hasn't given up hope of winning a second major, despite the domination of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"I'm 26, so I'm not quite over the hill," he said. Another Grand Slam title "is what I'm shooting for."

Federer, bidding to equal Pete Sampras' record 14 major titles, had a night match against Andreas Seppi of Italy.

Roddick next plays Belgium's Xavier Malisse, who earned a 7-6 (8), 6-1, 6-1 win over Michael Llodra of France.

Roddick's friend and former housemate Mardy Fish had a 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5, 6-0 win over local wild card-entry Samuel Groth.

Four American men made first-round exits.

Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych, seeded 20th, beat Robby Ginepri 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. Veteran Dominik Hrbaty, who guided Slovakia to a surprise title at the Hopman Cup international mixed team event in Perth earlier this month, beat John Isner in four sets.

Robert Kendrick lost to No. 16 Robin Soderling of Sweden in four sets and Bobby Reynolds went down in straight sets to No. 21 Tommy Robredo of Spain.

Others advancing on the men's side were No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, No. 11 David Ferrer of Spain, No. 15 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and 16-year-old Australian Bernard Tomic in his Grand Slam debut.

Gilles Muller of Luxembourg overcame No. 27 Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-3, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 4-6, 16-14 in a marathon match.

Women's No. 7 Vera Zvonareva of Russia posted a 7-6 (2), 6-0 win over Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova and No. 15 Alize Cornet of France beat Ukraine's Mariya Koryttseva 6-3, 6-4. No. 16 Marion Bartoli advanced with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Britain's Melanie South.

Former fourth-ranked Kimiko Date Krumm, returning to the main draw of a major after a 13-year hiatus, was beaten 6-4, 4-6, 8-6 by 25th-seeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.

The 38-year-old Japanese player, who came out of retirement last year, had won three matches in qualifying.

The first seeded player out of the tournament was No. 23 Agnes Szavay of Hungary, who went down 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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