¤ Second seed Daniela Hantuchova overcame a nervous start to beat Yulia Beygelzimer of Ukraine and advance into the second round of the Auckland Open yesterday. Hantuchova dropped the first five games of the opening set but eventually ran out a 2-6 6-3 6-2 victory. Hantuchova now meets Jill Craybas in the second round. Meanwhile, Jelena Dokic's return to competitive tennis ended abruptly when the Australian was bundled out in the first round. Although she has qualified for the Australian Open in Melbourne, Dokic was not as successful in her first main draw match since last August, falling 5-7 7-6 6-1 to 81st-ranked Julia Schruff of Germany.

¤ Martina Hingis continued her successful comeback with a doubles victory over Athens Olympic gold medallists Li Ting and Sun Tiantian at the Australian hardcourt championships yesterday. Hingis, who won her first round singles match on the Gold Coast on Monday, teamed up with France's Tatiana Golovin to beat the Chinese pair 6-1 6-4 on centre court.

¤ Top seed Lleyton Hewitt survived a first set scare to beat Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic 4-6 6-2 6-4 in the first round of the Australian hardcourt championships in Adelaide yesterday. Hewitt, who dropped serve twice in the first set, raced to a 5-0 lead in the second then sealed victory in the third.

¤ Goran Ivanisevic has decided to put on hold his bid to become Croatia's Davis Cup captain. The 34-year-old said he wanted to be his country's next skipper after they beat Slovakia to win the Davis Cup for the first time in December. Media reports suggested Ivanisevic would take over from Niki Pilic in time for their first round tie against Austria in Graz in February. However, Ivanisevic said: "I thought it over and over and consulted with people whose opinion I respect. Niko (Pilic) must lead the team in 2006. When he decides to leave, my time will come."

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us