Sports Briefs

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2001

Furyk, Henninger share lead at Buick Open

GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Jim Furyk and Brian Henninger shot 8-under-par 64s on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the Buick Open.

Phil Mickelson was one stroke behind after missing a 6-foot putt on No. 18 for his only bogey.

Jean Van de Velde, Briny Baird, John Cook, Steve Flesch, Ian Leggatt, David Peoples, Craig Perks and Kenny Perry were all at 66, and Mark O'Meara was among a group of 10 another stroke back.

Furyk, 11th in the Ryder Cup standings, is trying to move into the top 10 to secure an automatic berth.

Kuerten beats Ivanisevic in 41 minutes

MASON, Ohio -- In a match between Grand Slam champions that took just 41 minutes, top-seeded Gustavo Kuerten beat No. 14 Goran Ivanisevic 6-2, 6-1 Thursday night in the third round of the Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati.

Kuerten, the French Open champion, broke Ivanisevic in the third game of the match and then continued his dominance. Ivanisevic, the Wimbledon champion, had won nine consecutive matches but was again unable to handle Kuerten, who has won four of their five career meetings.

''I thought I'd have much more trouble than I did,'' Kuerten said. ''But he's a guy who takes a lot of risks, and he plays a lot from his serve. He didn't serve too good today and I didn't miss shots, seeing that he wasn't playing well.''

Ivanisevic, 29, said he is increasingly bothered by twilight conditions and had more than normal trouble adjusting in Thursday's match.

''Before, I had less problems but I never liked to play at night,'' he said. ''This is really bothering me because I really can't see well.

''I tried everything and didn't look very nice, you know, for a Wimbledon champion.''

Ivanisevic had been playing confidently since his return to tennis from a month-long celebration of his Wimbledon title. But he was shaken by the prospect of blowing tournaments because of night vision problems.

''Come the U.S. Open, a big match at night, I don't want to have this problem,'' he said.

Earlier, Patrick Rafter and Tim Henman advanced to the quarterfinals with straight-set wins, while fifth-seeded Lleyton Hewitt needed a third-set tiebreaker to beat Max Mirnyi 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

''For a set and a half, I really had no chance,'' said Hewitt, whose 55 wins lead the ATP Tour this year. ''He was serving huge and slapping returns left, right and center. I just put my head down and kept plugging away. The third set was a dogfight.''

Henmen, the seventh seed, was two break points from losing the first set to Nicolas Kiefer, but he took advantage of Kiefer's spotty serving for a 7-5, 6-3 win.

It will be Henman's third consecutive quarterfinal at Cincinnati.

''He was playing pretty good tennis and dominating the first set, but coming back was a big boost,'' Henman said. ''The chipping and charging, I don't always win the points, but I think it puts a big question mark in my opponent's mind, and I think it unsettles their serve a little bit.''

The eighth-seeded Rafter was inches from losing the first set to James Blake before putting together a 7-6 (7), 6-2 win.

Blake's attempt at a winning backhand drop volley hit the tape and fell back. Rafter went on to break Blake in the third and seventh games of the second set to earn a quarterfinal matchup with Greg Rusedski, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Stefan Koubek.

''Another inch on that drop volley and I win the first set, and if you win one, you can win two,'' Blake said. ''Today, I learned how different it is to play top-level tennis.''

Jan-Michael Gambill beat Guillermo Canas 6-3, 6-4 in a match that was interrupted by rain for 1 hour and 54 minutes.

On an adjacent court, sixth-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov appeared to lose concentration during the delay and blew a set after leading 6-2, 1-0 when the rain came. He regrouped in time to beat Alberto Martin, who ousted Pete Sampras on Wednesday, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Ivan Ljubicic completed the quarterfinal field by beating Hicham Arazi 6-2, 6-3.

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