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Federer, Jankovic find their rhythm

DEFENDING champion Novak Djokovic recovered from a third-set lapse by winning seven of his last eight games yesterday to advance to the second round at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

No. 2 seed Roger Federer defeated Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-1, 7-6 (4), 7-5 in a late match.

With temperatures hitting 36 degrees Celsius on a bright, sunny day at Melbourne Park, the 21-year-old Serb took a while settling in before beating Andrea Stoppini of Italy 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.

Djokovic recovered a break in the second set and rallied from 4-0 down in the third.

His fellow Serbs had some minor lapses in their first-round wins.

Top-ranked Jelena Jankovic asked for ice because she felt like the soles of her feet were burning during her 6-1, 6-3 win over Yvonne Meusburger of Austria.

Fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic, who lost last year's final here to Maria Sharapova, opened with a straightforward 7-5, 6-3 win over Julia Goerges.

Ivanovic, last year's French Open winner, was broken once in each set but fended off five other break points before finishing with consecutive aces against Goerges, a German ranked No. 107 and playing only her fourth major.

Djokovic lost his first match of the year at Brisbane before getting a wild card for the Sydney International, where he reached the semifinals.

"I had a little slow start in the first two weeks, I didn't play my best tennis," he said. "Today I was very down in the second and third set, and I turned it around. Hopefully I can get going and get a good result here."

Ivanovic and Jankovic both said they needed time to find their rhythm. No. 3-seeded Dinara Safina wasted little time, the Olympic silver medalist beating fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-4.

"I don't expect myself to step on the court and play perfect tennis from very first moment," said Ivanovic. "You just want to give yourself the best possible chance and give time to work yourself into the tournament."

Jankovic, who lost the US Open final to Serena Williams and has yet to win a major title, ripped 27 winners. Her problem was more with the climate than the opponent after two months off.

"Today it was so hot, my feet were really burning," said Jankovic, who is recovering from an illness that caused her to pull out of a Hong Kong tournament. "I knew I had to deal with it."

Seventh-seeded Andy Roddick had no trouble finding his timing, making only 10 unforced errors in a 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 win over 31-year-old Swedish qualifier Bjorn Rehnquist.

The 2003 US Open champion lost only nine points in the first set, sealing it in 28 minutes after setting up triple set point with two aces.

Roddick, a semifinalist in Australia every alternate year since 2003, came into the tournament as runner-up to fourth-ranked Andy Murray at the Qatar Open and hasn't given up hope of winning a second major, despite the domination of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"I'm 26, so I'm not quite over the hill," he said. Another Grand Slam title "is what I'm shooting for."

Roddick next plays Belgium's Xavier Malisse, who earned a 7-6 (8), 6-1, 6-1 win over Michael Llodra of France.

Other men advancing were No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro and No. 10 David Nalbandian of Argentina, No. 11 David Ferrer of Spain, No. 15 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, 2005 champion Marat Safin, and 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis.


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