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Clijsters, Venus, Davenport, Capriati roll; Seles falls in France


Paris, France (Sports Network) - Second-seeded Kim Clijsters, 2002 runner-up Venus Williams, sixth-seeded Lindsay Davenport and former champion Jennifer Capriati were opening-round winners, but three-time champion Monica Seles was not as fortunate Tuesday at the French Open.

The Belgian Clijsters, the 2001 Roland Garros runner-up to Capriati, clubbed veteran American Amy Frazier 6-2, 6-0.

If the surging Clijsters can somehow avoid an upset over her next five matches she could meet world No. 1 and reigning Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in a marquee final here.

Clijsters titled on clay at the Italian Masters in Rome just two weeks ago and finished as the runner-up to her fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne at the German Open the week before that. She has already appeared in six finals this year, going 3-3.

Up next for Clijsters will be German Marlene Weingartner, who stunned Capriati in the first round of the Australian Open back in January.

The third-seeded Venus topped lucky-loser and fellow American Samantha Reeves 6-2, 6-4 to set-up a round-of-64 match with Aussie Evie Dominikovic.

The two-time Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Venus is seeking her first Grand Slam title since the 2001 U.S. Open.

Flying under the radar at this French fortnight is the three-time Grand Slam event champion Davenport, who played her first European clay-court match of the season on Tuesday and soundly whipped Indonesian Wynne Prakusya 6-2, 6-0 to set-up a second-round encounter with dangerous Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan. The former Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Davenport played her first match at Roland Garros since suffering a first- round loss here in 2000.

The seventh-seeded Capriati easily moved on with a 6-2, 6-1 pasting of aging South African Joannette Kruger. The powerful American is still seeking her first title of any kind since nailing down a second straight Australian Open championship in January of last year.

Capriati will face French crowd favorite Marion Bartoli in the second round.

Tenth-seeded Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 decision against German Angelika Roesch.

Seles, this year's 12th seed, was unable to match up against strong Russian Nadia Petrova, who handed the aging American her first-ever opening-round loss at a Slam with a 6-4, 6-0 pasting. Seles had gone 38-0 in her previous Slam openers, dating back to 1989.

The 29-year-old Seles was woefully unprepared for this fortnight as she has spent a majority of this 2003 season battling a left foot injury. There had been concerns that she would pull out of Roland Garros, but the former world No. 1 decided to give it a go, only to lose to Petrova for the second time in three weeks. Seles hadn't played since retiring in a match against the Russian in Rome earlier this month.

Seles captured the French three years in a row from 1990-92 and was the runner-up here in 1998.

Another upset occurred when last week's Madrid runner-up, Spaniard Maria Sanchez Lorenzo, leveled 13th-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva 6-3, 6-3 on the storied red clay.

Day 2's other seeded victors were No. 15 Magdalena Maleeva, No. 20 Elena Bovina, No. 22 Vera Zvonareva, No. 24 Conchita Martinez, No. 25 Nathalie Dechy, No. 26 Silvia Farina Elia, No. 30 Paola Suarez and No. 32 Francesca Schiavone.

No. 17 Amanda Coetzer joined the upset victims with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 setback against Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik.

On Wednesday, the defending champion Serena, Henin-Hardenne and French crowd favorite Amelie Mauresmo will highlight the women's second-round action here.

The top-seeded Williams, who routed German Barbara Rittner on Monday, will be opposed by Swiss Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian. The world No. 1 star is an imposing 27-2 this season.

The fourth-seeded Henin-Hardenne, a stunning first-round loser at Roland Garros a year ago, snuck past Austrian Patricia Wartusch here on Day 1. The diminutive star will face Croatian Jelena Kostanic on Day 3.

The fifth-seeded Mauresmo will encounter Russian Lina Krasnoroutskaya, after beating fellow Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano in the opening round.
 
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