Men's defending champion Pete Sampras and women's top seed Martina Hingis both progressed smoothly to the second round at the Wimbledon Championships Monday on a gloomy day in south London.
Six-time winner Sampras of the United States hurtled through on Center Court by hammering Jiri Vanek of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in just 1hr 23min.
Sampras, 28, is seeking to set an all-time record of 13 Grand Slam singles titles in London after he equaled Roy Emerson's haul of 12 here last year.
He next faces Karol Kucera of Slovakia, who beat Wayne Black of Zimbabwe 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
Hingis, looking to land her second singles crown at the All England Club after 1997, needed only 53min to see off 42nd-ranked Angeles Montolio of Spain 6-1, 6-2.
Hingis next plays Jing-Qian Yi of China, who hammered Italy's Giulia Casoni 6-2, 6-1.
"I've never played that good first round. I just couldn't finish it off. She played so well on the match points, she always came up with a winner," said Hingis, grateful nonetheless that Montolio was unable to give her anything like the runaround Aussie teen Jelena Dokic had, last year.
"I learned a nice lesson at the tournament last year. Losing in the first round as number one seed is quite enough," said Hingis, grimacing at the memory.
Venus Williams, the fifth seed, also progressed by defeating Kvetoslava Hrdlickova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-1.
Former semifinalist Natasha Zvereva of Belarus also moved into the second round after a 6-4, 6-3 win over Britain's Julie Pullin while German 11th seed Anke Huber ended the hopes of another home hope, Jo Ward, winning 7-5, 6-2.
Tina Pisnik of Slovenia made it a miserable day for British women by beating Hannah Collin 6-1, 7-5.
In other early men's action, 1996 winner and 11th seed Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands ousted Spaniard Albert Costa 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) while Romania's Andrei Pavel thrashed Alberto Berasategui of Spain 6-0, 6-4, 6-2.
French sixth seed Cedric Pioline, runner up here three years ago, showed his form in brushing aside Norway's Christian Ruud 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
Gianluca Pozzi of Italy, buoyed coming into the event with a semifinal appearance at Queen's, beat Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 while Canada's Daniel Nestor bundled out Miles Maclagan of Britain 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, 6-4 - (AFP)
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