Favored Henin falls in first round
PARIS -- Justine Henin, who made the semifinals at the French Open a year ago, was ousted in a first-round upset Tuesday by a qualifier ranked 179th.
Monica Seles and Kim Clijsters, meanwhile, survived tough opening matches, rallying for victories on a second rainy, cold day at Roland Garros.
Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Serena Williams and Marat Safin were among those whose matches were moved to Wednesday, while 10 matches were stopped in progress at about 9 p.m. (the courts don't have lights), including top-seeded Jennifer Capriati's.
Her match against Marissa Irvin was moved from Center Court to much smaller Court 2, and was then suspended with Capriati serving at 4-2.
Fighting a fever, sore throat, fatigue and congestion, the fifth-seeded Henin fell 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 to Hungarian Aniko Kapros, who was making her French Open debut.
Kapros, at 18 a year younger than Henin, won the Australian Open junior title in 2000. She took over in the final two sets by using consistent groundstrokes to keep Henin on the move.
``It's beyond frustration. I just feel physically awful,'' said Henin, who admitted she made a mistake by taking the court.
``I was not ready to play this match,'' she said.
Seles, seeded sixth, lost her first five games, regrouped after a long rain delay and pulled away to beat Angeles Montolio 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0.
Seles, who has never failed to make the quarterfinals in her nine previous trips to this Grand Slam tournament, started sluggishly. But following a second-set delay of 1 hour, 40 minutes, she overwhelmed Montolio by winning the final nine games after play was resumed.
``I wasn't ready for the conditions. They really surprised me,'' said Seles, the French Open champion from 1990-92.
``I was happy the rain came. It was at the right time from my point of view. I came back and played better tennis.''
The fourth-seeded Clijsters, last year's runner-up to Jennifer Capriati, came back to beat Tatiana Poutchek 3-6, 6-3, 8-6.
Henin, who'd won a clay court tournament at Berlin and was a runner-up in Rome earlier this month, entered the French as one of the favorites. She was a finalist at Wimbledon last year.
``This morning when I woke up, I said it will be hard today. I was too tired to compete. I wanted to do it, but I was not able to,'' Henin said.
While Henin was ailing, Kapros never felt better.
``I think I had a great day,'' she said. ``I played one of the best matches I ever played.''
Three other seeded women were eliminated. Shinobu Asagoe beat No. 19 Anastasia Myskina 3-6, 6-2, 7-5; Eva Bes ousted American and 24th-seeded Lisa Raymond 6-4, 6-3; and Martina Muller beat No. 30 Amanda Coetzer 6-2, 6-2.
Seles and Clijsters were originally scheduled to play Monday, but were pushed back by rain. Six delays over two days totaled nearly six hours and created a backlog of matches.
Twenty-eight matches were postponed Tuesday, including No. 3 Serena Williams against Martina Sucha, and No. 4 Andre Agassi against French qualifier Eric Prodon.
Seles, coming off a victory in Madrid last week, has been playing down talk of retirement at age 28.
For a while Tuesday, she appeared headed for an early exit.
But after quickly falling into a 5-0 hole, she reeled off six straight games before dropping the first set in a tiebreaker.
With the second set tied at 3-3 and Montolio serving at 40-30, play was halted.
When the players returned, Seles quickly won three straight points to break serve, and she didn't lose another game against a dispirited Montolio, who returned with her left thigh wrapped.
Clijsters, using an effective drop shot on the slow, wet clay, won a long game on her own serve for a 7-6 lead in the final set and then broke to capture the match.Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories
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Monica Seles comes back from a set down to beat Angeles Montolio 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0.
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No. 5 seed Justine Henin falls in the first round to qualifier Aniko Kapros 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
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