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Updated: 11:39 AM EST
Roddick, Agassi roll into Australian Open third round
MELBOURNE, Australia (Ticker) - Americans Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi romped so easily into the third round of the Australian Open, they had enough left to weigh in on the tough topic of drugs in tennis.
Roddick, the top-seeded U.S. Open champion, defeated Czech Bohdan Ulihrach for the fourth time in as many meetings with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 rout.
Earlier, the fourth-seeded Agassi continued his title defense with a 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 spanking - his 23rd consecutive match win at this event - of German qualifier Tomas Berdych.
Afterward, both winners addressed the recent drug controversy, which has come to the fore since Britain's Greg Rusedski revealed earlier this month he tested for positive for the banned steroid nandrolone last July.
Last year, Ulihrach beat a positive drug result for nandrolone after it was believed it came from nutritional supplements and electrolyte drinks dispensed by ATP trainers. In the wake of Rusedki's announcement, tennis great John McEnroe revealed he played while unwittingly taking steroids.
"When you hear about the stuff that can possibly get you in trouble, it's a little scary," Roddick said. "It's probably stuff that you guys use on a daily basis. But you just have to be aware, I think that's the most important thing."
Agassi also claimed to be "drug-wary."
"All it takes is a trace of something," he said. "The reality of a professional tennis player's life is that you can't take anything, including lotion for a skin irritation.
"We have a real concern that only leaves us drinking water or certain bottled products, and yet we wake up to the integrity of our sport being questioned, and that's the shame of it."
Back on court, Roddick, who has 40 aces in his two matches, advanced to a meeting with fellow American Taylor Dent. The 27th seed outlasted Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.
"I see a great year for Taylor ahead," Roddick said. "He's got everything. He can break serve, he serves big. It's just a matter of it coming together for him. Hopefully, he'll delay it for a couple more days. It's definitely a big match for me."
"Andy and I have met twice before and we're 1-all," Dent said. "If we both play well, it's going to be an exciting match. I just hope my game improves a little bit from now to then."
Agassi, 33, extended an Australian Open record with his 23rd straight victory. He is looking to become the first five-time men's winner here in the Open Era.
"I think there are a lot of variables that come together for me here," he said. "I have the time at the end of the year to train and prepare. I like the surface. The surface allows you to play different ways. I like the conditions - hot, a little windy. It's an environment that I enjoy playing in."
Agassi meets 1993 runner-up Thomas Enqvist of Sweden in the next round. Enqvist defeated Slovakian Karol Beck, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In other men's matches, ninth seed Sebastien Grosjean of France dispatched American Jan-Michael Gambill, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2; No. 16 Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands beat Spain's David Ferrer, 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1; and No. 19 Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil topped Croatian Ivan Ljubicic, 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-3.
No. 13 Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand took a 6-3 lead against Jerome Golmard before the French qualifier called it a day due to a hamstring injury.
No. 32 Robby Ginepri of the United States brushed aside Australian wild card Chris Guccione, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, and 2000 runner-up Marat Safin of Russia continued his comeback from a hand injury with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.
After reaching the second round without losing a game, women's top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne defeated French qualifier Camille Pin, 6-1, 6-4. The 21-year-old Belgian, who won the French Open and U.S. Open last year and opened this season with a title at Sydney, disclosed she is suffering from a stomach virus.
"I'm not feeling well since two or three days and I was feeling a little bit tired and out of energy," she said. "So maybe that's one of the reasons that I lost a bit my concentration in the second set.
"I need some rest, for sure. I think that other players have been sick a little bit and don't feel really well. So I hope I'll be better in 48 hours."
Fourth seed Amelie Mauresmo cruised past Slovakian Ludmila Cervanova, 6-0, 6-2, in 44 minutes. Mauresmo, the 1999 finalist, has lost only three games in her two matches.
"I've always played some good matches here," said the Frenchwoman, who reached the final at Sydney last week. "I feel like probably there is an opportunity to take this tournament, not only because some players are not here, but also because I feel good and because I feel my game is getting better and better."
Fifth seed Lindsay Davenport of the United States survived a scare against Emilie Loit of France, pulling out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 victory despite committing 42 unforced errors.
No. 11 Vera Zvonareva beat Hungarian Melinda Czink, 7-5, 6-4; No. 19 Eleni Daniilidou of Greece recovered from a slow start to get past Zimbabwe's Cara Black, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1; No. 30 Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia defeated Antonella Serra-Zanetti of Italy, 7-6 (7-0), 6-4; and No. 32 Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia posted a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over Argentina's Mariana Diaz-Oliva.
Three seeds lost Wednesday as Australian Alicia Molik dumped No. 15 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, 6-4, 6-3; Claudine Schaul of Luxembourg eliminated No. 21 Elena Bovina of Russia, 6-4, 6-3; and Petra Mandula of Hungary ousted No. 24 Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 6-3.
01-21-04 11:36 ET
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