- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2002

PARIS (AP) Order was restored at the French Open yesterday:
Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati and the Williams sisters overwhelmed their opponents. Gustavo Kuerten outlasted his, then celebrated with adoring fans. Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt barked at themselves. Marat Safin threw rackets. Anna Kournikova lost.
Oh, and the rain finally let up, as the sun played peek-a-boo with the clouds and allowed for busy courts across Roland Garros after two days of delays.
Even the pair of second-round losses by highly ranked men No.5 Yevgeny Kafelnikov and No.9 Thomas Johansson wasn't all that shocking.
Kafelnikov, eliminated 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) by Mariano Zabaleta, hasn't won a tournament on clay since the 1996 French Open, and his only victory in seven tour matches before this week came when an opponent quit.
Johansson's 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-3 defeat against Arnaud Clement of France was perhaps simply a case of a one-hit wonder returning to form. Before winning the Australian Open in January, Johansson had reached only two quarterfinals in 24 Grand Slam events; he's never been past the second round in Paris.
The match with the most twists was 13th-seeded Roddick's 4-6, 7-6 (14), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 first-round loss to Wayne Arthurs, a serve-and-volleying Australian who delivered 25 aces.
In second-round action, No.1 Hewitt, inspired in part by "Rocky IV," beat Andrei Stoliarov 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-0, 7-5. No.7 Kuerten, a three-time French Open champion, came back to stop Davide Sanguinetti 6-7 (0), 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, then slapped fans' hands on a victory lap filled with the same sort of mutual admiration as when he drew a heart in the clay last year.
"Everybody loves him," Sanguinetti said. "He's the king of the French Open."
No.2 Venus Williams lost just one game against Wynne Prakusya of Indonesia and reached the women's third round, along with No.4 Kim Clijsters, No.6 Monica Seles, No.11 Daniela Hantuchova and No.13 Elena Dementieva.
Roddick, as usual, was rather animated, particularly when he wasted three set points and saved six during that 30-point tiebreaker.
He argued a call at length early, prodded himself aloud often and during some changeovers put his head down and shook it from side to side. It was all in a day's work against Arthurs, who entered with just five match wins in 2002.
"I didn't go out of my head, which is what my coach says sometimes," the 19-year-old Roddick said. "My game took me so far, but now to crack into the upper echelon a lot of it's between the ears, and I'm just going to have to bear down."
In 2001, he reached the third round but had to quit with an injury while facing Hewitt.
Hewitt was his own loudest cheerleader against Stoliarov, a Russian ranked 109th who lost in qualifying but was in the tournament because of withdrawals.
Without back-to-back victories since July, he looked primed to pull off the upset, rolling to a 6-4, 5-0 lead when Hewitt double faulted and was broken at love.
To that juncture, Hewitt was playing shakily and without emotion. At the ensuing changeover, though, he ripped off his white headband. Suddenly, it was as if he flipped a switch on his racket from "off" to "on." The transformation was amazing.
The U.S. Open champion tracked down just about every ball and ripped smooth groundstrokes. He punctuated winning shots by beating his chest with his palm, pumping his fists, and exhorting himself with yells of "Come on, Rock!" he had watched the Sly Stallone sequel in the morning and "Fight! Fight!"
Hewitt won 14 of the next 15 games, plus a tiebreaker, to wrest control. After allowing Stoliarov to briefly get back into it with a 5-3 lead in the fourth set, Hewitt reeled off the last four games of the match.
"I sort of went back to my 'B' game, the game I know, grinding it out," said Hewitt, a quarterfinalist last year, "just sort of fighting for everything out there."
In first-round matches pushed back by weather, No.2 Safin spat, swore, and flipped his racket into the stands during a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory over local wild-card entry Michael Llodra, and No.4 Agassi was at his efficient best in topping French qualifier Eric Prodon 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.
On the women's side, No.3 Serena Williams breezed into the second round with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Martina Sucha of Slovakia. Defending champion and top-seeded Capriati finished off Marissa Irvin 6-3, 6-4 in a first-round match that started a night earlier, while Kournikova had a bleeding finger bandaged after a second-set fall and was bounced 6-4, 6-3 by Christina Wheeler, who's ranked 192nd and hadn't won a tour-level match in 2002.
Kournikova, an off-the-court celebrity despite zero career titles, has lost eight of her last 11 outings. Asked if she might be entering too many tournaments, Kournikova said: "Well, it's not like I win a lot of matches."

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