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Hingis Falls In First Round

Martina Hingis couldn't cry on her mother's shoulder this time.

She told her mother to stay away from Wimbledon, give her more space, let her practice, play and grow up more on her own.

Now, after suffering the greatest upset in women's tennis history, two weeks after her tearful exit in her mother's arms at the French Open final, Hingis felt terribly alone as she moped away in stunned silence.

Â"I think I need to take some time off,Â" the 18-year-old Hingis said, her career suddenly in disarray after a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing Tuesday by 16-year-old Australian Jelena Dokic.

No top-seeded woman had ever lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament to a player ranked as low as the No. 129 Dokic, who had to win three qualifying matches to reach the main draw of her third major.

Only two other top-seeded women in the open era Steffi Graf at Wimbledon in 1994 and Virginia Ruzici at the Australian in 1979 lost in the first round and neither of their opponents was ranked as low as Dokic.

Dokic turned to her father, Damir, after the match and found him Â"out of words,Â" which is just the way tennis officials would like him.

Two weeks ago, he was ejected from a tuneup tournament for shouting abuse at officials during his daughter's match. He was later arrested for lying down in traffic and jumping on the hood of a car. Police said he had been drinking and was arrested Â"for his own safety.Â" He was not charged, and was released after three hours Â"when he sobered up.Â"

Yet as he watched his daughter beat Hingis, the 1997 Wimbledon champ and winner of five Grand Slam titles, Dokic was a model of decorum.

Â"It's still hard to believe that I've beaten Martina,Â" Jelena said. Â"But I have to keep my feet on the ground because anything can happen in the next match. Just because I've beaten Martina doesn't mean I'll win the tournament.Â"

That match was the biggest surprise in a day of surprises.

There was Boris Becker, raising his arms in weary triumph after four hours, the victor in one of the great comebacks in men's tennis history.

Becker didn't just fight back from two sets down he'd done that nine times before and three match points in the fourth set. He came back from two years away from Grand Slam tennis, beginning perhaps his last Wimbledon with a 5-7, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 victory over British wild card Miles Maclagan.

Becker's biggest worry in the match wasn't actually losing. It was the chance that his pregnant wife, Barbara, might go into labor watching him.

Â"She was getting very excited toward the end of the fourth set, and I turned to her and told her to be quiet, to calm down a little because otherwise we have a baby on the court,Â" Becker said.

Their second child is due in mid-August, Becker said, Â"but another five-setter and I don't know.Â"

The only surprise Andre Agassi came up with as a new clean-shaven look as he came back two weeks after winning the French Open to beat Andrei Pavel 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.

There was a mild surprise in seeing Jennifer Capriati continue her own comeback by completing a 5-7, 6-3, 9-7 victory over Anke Huber in a match that had been suspended at 5-5 in the third set the night before.

And there was a surprise in seeing Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, twice a Wimbledon finalist, struggle so much before beating qualifier Anna-Maria Foldenyi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

But nothing quite dazzled the crowd like Dokic's rout of Hingis.

Dokic, 5-foot-6 and quick as a sprinter, kept Hingis deep and drove her wide with angled, two-fisted backhands and huge forehands. Deft drop shots made Hingis pay for staying back. During a stretch of 11 straight games that she won, Dokic bobbed up and down at the baseline like a boxer warming up.

Five months ago in the Australian Open, it was Hingis who did the bobbing, beating the then-15-year-old Dokic 6-1, 6-2 in the third round. But that was hardly representative of the kind of tennis Dokic can play.

Though unknown to casual fans, Dokic was the 1998 world junior champion. She immigrated to Australia in 1994 from her native Serbia and turned pro late last year. She is coached by her father and, recently, former pro Wally Masur.

She made a big splash in early January when she beat Sanchez-Vicario, ranked No. 4 at the time, and Sandrine Testud, No. 15, as she combined with Mark Philippoussis to lead Australia to its first Hopman Cup title.

In Fed Cup play a few months later, she beat another tough player, No. 19 Barbara Schett.

Dokic's low ranking coming into Wimbledon didn't reflect the quality of her game as much as the limited opportunity she had to play tournaments. Age restrictions on the WTA Tour allow her to play only 10 tournaments and four Grand Slam events this year.

The victory over Hingis should put Dokic in the top 50, and she seems headed for the top 10 within the next year.

Â"She played a great match today,Â" said Hingis, who recently invited Dokic to practice with her in Switzerland. Â"She didn't really let me get back into it. I had a few chances, of course, but I didn't take them.Â"

Hingis later pulled out of the doubles competition, citing an unspecified medical problem.

Â"What went wrong?Â" Hingis was asked.

Â"I am not sure what went right, actually,Â" she said.

She needs time off Â"from everything,Â" she said, and won't play tennis for at least another month. Whether her mother, Melanie Molitor, is at courtside when she returns is uncertain.

Â"We just decided to have a little bit of distance and work more on our private lives,Â" Hingis said.

This tournament was the first time a mother and daughter have been apart at a Grand Slam event. Asked if that made a difference, Hingis responded:

Â"I guess so. A pretty big one.Â"

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