Hingis loses to 112th-ranked Razzano

Published September 1, 2006

NEW YORK - It was surprising enough that Martina Hingis exited the U.S. Open in the second round Thursday night. Even more stunning? Who beat her - and how easily.

Hingis, the five-time Grand Slam champion back on tour after a three-year retirement, lost 6-2, 6-4 to 112th-ranked Virginie Razzano in the biggest upset of the tournament so far.

Hingis came into the day with a 44-14 mark this season, with none of the losses to anyone ranked lower than 23rd. Ten of her setbacks came against women who've won major championships.

"It's not only that she played well, but I didn't play good," Hingis said. "I was a little flat and tired mentally. It just wasn't my day."

Plus, it was the earliest U.S. Open defeat of Hingis' career; she won the 1997 title, reached two other finals here and never had lost before the fourth round. Razzano of France, in contrast, never has been past the third round at this or any other major. began the week with a 9-17 record in 2006, including first-round losses at the French Open and Wimbledon.

"I played my game," said Razzano, who lost both of her previous matchups with Hingis in straight sets.

About the only intrigue involved in the matches played earlier in the day by Maria Sharapova and Lindsay Davenport was just how lopsided their victories would be. Serena Williams won in straight sets, too, although not before falling behind early. Fellow past champions Justine Henin-Hardenne and Svetlana Kuznetsova never were challenged.

Hingis aside, it was one 6-1 set after another for top women, or so it seemed. Well, not for Davenport: She beat Jelena Kostanic 6-0, 6-0, the first "double bagel" at the Open since 2002.

Hingis, meanwhile, went from a tight match - 2-2 in the first set - to a blowout, losing seven games in a row to fall behind 6-2, 3-0. She broke serve to end that run, but Razzano broke right back, thanks to strong returns of Hingis' slow second serves.

Daniela Hantuchova, serving for the first set at 5-3, simply fell apart for Williams.

"She seemed to be a little nervous. It was definitely a big game," Williams said. "At the same time, I hit some pretty big shots."