Sampras, Hingis dominate openers Men's No. 1 pursues record-tying 12th Slam

September 01, 1998

NEW YORK -- Start spreading the news: Pete Sampras is feeling historic, Martina Hingis is feeling acquisitive and Goran Ivanisevic is feeling that the turbo-charged hard courts at the U.S. Open are delivering his aces almost faster than he can send them across the net.

Leave it to the U.S. Open, which cranked itself up to full speed yesterday at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, to cut through the late summer haze and cut right to the chase. The top-ranked Sampras, now just six victories from a record-tying 12th Grand Slam title, and the top-ranked Hingis both zipped through their opening-day assignments in straight sets.

And Ivanisevic was feeling invincible, at least for a New York moment, in the same city where he had been struck by first-round ineptitude in three of his last four visits.

Those who could handle the pace advanced; those who let jitters, or the invisible flu bug that has been circulating through the men's and women's locker rooms, undermine their energy level fell by the wayside early. Justin Gimelstob of New Jersey and Andrew Ilie of Australia, who are both subject to temper tantrums, were downed by tempestuous cramps and defaulted. So was German qualifier Alex Radulescu, who pointed miserably to his stomach as he went to the net to concede prematurely to 575th-ranked Taylor Dent, the 17-year-old wild card who is the youngest man in the event.

After getting through his first match unscathed, Sampras, who gained his 11th Grand Slam title by downing Ivanisevic in the Wimbledon final in July, could afford to be sympathetic to those who did not handle the Open's opening day pressure.

"Understand that this Slam, compared to all the rest, I think, is the most hectic," said Sampras, a four-time Open champion, after his untaxing 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Marc-Kevin Goellner kept him on the road to tying Roy Emerson's record of 12 Grand Slam singles titles. "You walk out at Wimbledon, you feel kind of the charm of the place. Here at Flushing, you just kind of feel a certain electricity.

"It's a lot of hoopla when you play here in New York, and this one certainly is difficult to win, but I've been playing here enough to kind of figure it out."

Hingis, whose precocity is unquestioned, figured the place out at the age of 17, when she won the third of her 1997 Grand Slam crowns by outwitting Venus Williams in the final at the brand-new Arthur Ashe Stadium. Yesterday, Hingis, who is making a title defense here a priority after stalling in the semifinals at the French Open and Wimbledon, was back inside the stadium, and back to her old supremely confident self after trampling Aleksandra Olsza of Poland, 6-2, 6-0, in just under an hour.

"I'm definitely not as confident as I was last year, but this year wasn't as bad as sometimes I hear on TV, that Martina Hingis was so beat- able," said Hingis, whose last title was at the Italian Open in May.

Ivanisevic, who won almost nothing he played this year until he rediscovered his serving prowess at Wimbledon, left that tournament a broken man after failing, for the second time in his career, to get the better of Sampras in a Wimbledon final. He said he felt like killing himself, but instead he took a boating vacation, showed up in the United States on schedule for his summer campaign and reached the final at New Haven, Conn., before his serving arm went haywire again. But the arm and the man were back in form yesterday. He beat Mark Woodforde of Australia, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Men's singles, first round

Goran Ivanisevic (14), def. Mark Woodforde, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; Thomas Muster, def. Alberto Berasategui (15), 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, 6-3; Davide Sanguinetti, def. James Sekulov, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; Gustavo Kuerten, def. Noam Behr, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; Pete Sampras (1), def. Marc-Kevin Goellner, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Martin Damm, def. Sjeng Schalken, 6-3, 6-3, 7-5; Mikael Tillstrom, def. Andrew Park, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1; Wayne Arthurs, def. Carlos Costa, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4; Bob Bryan, def. Marcos Ondruska, 3-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4; Wayne Black, def. Justin Gimelstob, 3-6, 7-5, 2-3, retired;

Adrian Voinea, def. Andrea Gaudenzi, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 2-0, retired; David Nainkin, def. Mark Merklein, 6-7 (3-7), 6-0, 6-4, 6-4; Slava Dosedel, def. Filip Dewulf, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; Bohdan Ulihrach, def. Sargis Sargsian, 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; Dominik Hrbaty, def. Marc Rosset, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5; Jonathan Stark, def. Yong-il Yoon, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4; Paul Goldstein, def. Andrew Ilie, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 3-0, retired; Taylor Dent, def. Alex Radulescu, 4-6, 7-5, 2-1, retired; Guillermo Canas, def. Galo Blanco, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2; Jan Siemerink, def. Dinu Pescariu, 6-4, 6-3, 6-0.

Guillaume Raoux, def. Nicolas Escude, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6); Todd Martin, def. Jeff Tarango, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 7-5; Karol Kucera (9), def. Steve Campbell, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.

Women singles, first round

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