INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Andre Agassi and No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne each won their first matches in the Pacific Life Open on Saturday, but defending women’s champion Kim Clijsters withdrew because of a wrist injury.
Agassi defeated David Sanchez 6-2, 6-2. Henin-Hardenne also won 6-2, 6-2, beating Samantha Reeves.
Clijsters, ranked No. 2, hurt her left wrist in a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Angelika Roesch on Friday night. Clijsters was not scheduled to play Saturday.
Her wrist swelled, and the injury was diagnosed as a bone bruise and tendinitis.
Clijsters couldn’t recall how she hurt herself, but said the pain began late in her match against Roesch.
“It felt like it was getting worse when I was hitting backhands,” the Belgian star said. “After the match, I put some ice on it and had (the physical therapists) look at it.
“It felt a lot worse this morning. It’s disappointing. I felt like I was playing well, especially in Paris and Antwerp. This is one of my favorite tournaments throughout the whole year.
“It’s definitely very, very disappointing.”
She doesn’t know how long the wrist may take to heal, saying it could be up to two or three weeks, even six weeks.
“Frustrating as well is the not knowing what’s going to happen in the next couple of weeks,” Clijsters said.
Last year’s win at Indian Wells was particularly special to Clijsters; her fiance, Lleyton Hewitt, won the men’s title.
Hewitt rolled to a two-set victory in his opening match Saturday night, just hours after Clijsters withdrew. Hewitt beat Thomas Johansson 6-2, 6-3.
Taylor Dent ousted Gustavo Kuerten 7-5, 6-4. Kuerten made the final last year, but was forced to play both a semifinal and the final on the same day because of a rain delay. Hewitt beat him 6-1, 6-1 in the title match.
Mikhail Youzhny eliminated 12th-seeded Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (5), 7-5 in another late match.
Agassi, the Indian Wells champion three years ago, had several long rallies with Sanchez, but eventually was just too efficient for his opponent.
“It was a good start for me. He gave me a chance to hit a lot, but I was in control most of the points, which I obviously liked,” Agassi said.
“I felt good about every part of my game.”
Agassi has been taking some time off, but didn’t feel rusty.
“I’ve been working hard, practicing well,” he said. “Obviously matches are different. You hope nothing pops up or sort of reveals itself when you’re out there.
“Today I felt like everything was right where I expected it to be.”
Henin-Hardenne wasn’t particularly pleased with her outing.
“It’s never easy, first match in a tournament. I think that probably I didn’t play my best tennis, but there were really positive things,” she said.
“I stayed very calm, served well when I had to, and was more aggressive at the end of the match.”
Sesil Karatancheva, a 14-year-old from Bulgaria making her WTA Tour debut, came back from a 5-3 deficit in the third set to take a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 victory over 25th-ranked Magui Serna, the No. 17 seed.
The tournament concludes with the men’s and women’s finals on March 21.
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