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The Kaz
Jan 4th, 2006, 07:25 AM
Hingis continues comeback with straight sets win in Gold Coast
Wednesday January 4, 7:04 PM




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GOLD COAST, Australia (AFP) - Five-times Grand Slam winner Martina Hingis continues her comeback with a straight sets win in the second round of the Australian women's hardcourt event, proving she could be a serious contender at the Australian Open later this month.

Former No. 1 Hingis took an hour and 10 minutes to oust world No. 35 Czech Klara Koukalova 6-3, 6-2 from the 239,000 dollar (176,350 US) Gold Coast tournament.

The Swiss champion, who retired in 2002 due to injury, looked confident on centre court at Royal Pines and pumped her fist and cried out "Yes" when Koukalova hit a return into the net to end the match.

The victory puts Hingis, 25, on course to meet World No. 50 Spaniard Nuria Llagostera Vives, who caused a major upset Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-1 trouncing of No. 2 seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy.

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And it shows she is gaining form ahead of next week's Sydney International and the Australian Open which begins on January 16.

Hingis retired in 2002 with ankle, foot and heel injuries before making an abortive comeback attempt in a WTA event in Thailand in February last year when she lost to Germany's Marlene Weingartner.

But her 6-1, 6-1 first-round victory over Venezuela's Maria Vento-Kabchi at the Gold Coast on Monday marked a more determined return to professional tennis.

Earlier Wednesday top seed and defending champion Patty Schnyder of Switzerland beat American qualifier Angela Haynes 6-3, 6-0. She will now meet the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova in the quarter final.

Hingis' doubles partner, world No. 24 Tatiana Golovin of France, plays Austria's Sybille Bammer later Wednesday.

Geisha
Jan 4th, 2006, 07:25 AM
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