Hingis has great start


Martina Hingis made a terrific start to her New Year campaign to reclaim the world number one spot back from Lindsay Davenport at the Hopman Cup in Perth yesterday.

But the Swiss teenager could not stop her country being beaten 2-1 by defending champions Karol Kucera and Karina Habsudova of the Slovak Republic in the first round tie of the $550,000 mixed team tournament.

Hingis, the women's world number two, beat Habsudova 6-0, 6-3 in only 42 minutes before Kucera beat Heuberger 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the men's singles to square the tie.

Kucera and Habsudova beat Heuberger and Hingis 6-4, 6-0 in the crucial mixed doubles.

But Hingis was delighted with the start of her campaign to regain the top spot from America's Davenport, whom she will play later this week when the Swiss play the US duo.

"I am thrilled with my start here," Hingis said. "I felt very well and thought I played some great tennis in the first set. I took a month off before Christmas and the result has been good."

Habsudova (25), with a world ranking of 82nd, was completely outclassed by her young opponent.