Federer Routs Henman at Wimbledon

The top women were in a big hurry at Wimbledon on Wednesday. So was Roger Federer.

The three-time defending men's champion routed Tim Henman 6-4, 6-0, 6-2, winning 11 straight games at one stretch to move into the third round and extend his record grass-court winning streak to 43 matches.

Defending women's champ Venus Williams, former winner Maria Sharapova and top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo swept their first-round matches in less than an hour — losing only three games among them.

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Williams crushed 103rd-ranked American Bethanie Mattek 6-1, 6-0, in 51 minutes on Centre Court; Sharapova took the same amount of time to dispatch Anna Smashnova, 6-2 , 6-0, and Mauresmo beat Croatian qualifier Ivana Abramovic 6-0, 6-0, in 39 minutes.

Second-seeded Kim Clijsters needed even less time to reach the third round: she advanced by walkover after her opponent, Viktoriya Kutuzova, pulled out with a viral infection.

Andy Roddick, meanwhile, had to fight for nearly three hours to overcome Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, serving 28 aces in a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2 first-round victory.

In one of the most compelling matches of the tournament, with both players diving full length onto the grass to reach shots, the turning point came when Roddick came from 5-4 down to win the third-set tiebreaker.

Roddick then broke at love for a 3-1 lead in the fourth set, thumping his fist on his heart, and cruised the rest of the way. He saved all nine break points against him in the match, converting three of the four he earned.

Federer, who took 85 minutes to dismantle Henman on Centre Court, looks untouchable as he bids to become the third man in the Open era to win four straight Wimbledon titles.

Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semifinalist who was unseeded this year because of a drop in his ranking, was no match for the top-ranked Swiss star in a big letdown for the British fans still hoping for a first homegrown men's champion since Fred Perry in 1936.

Federer took control from the start, breaking in the third game. Henman had two break points at 4-3 down in the first set, but Federer saved them with a backhand pass and a deep forehand. Henman never had another break point.

Federer won 11 straight games from the end of the first set through 4-0 in the third. He lost only five points in the second set, broke Henman six times and had 28 winners and only eight unforced errors.

The women's mismatches didn't help the push for equal prize money at Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam tournament which pays the women's singles champion less than the men. Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday he backs the call for equal pay.

Williams said the easy victories had "nothing to do" with the money issue.

"We aren't involved in arguing the points of time spent on court, sets played," she said. "That's a moot topic. What it's really about is being treated equal as a human being."

As defending champion, Williams normally would have opened play on Centre Court on Tuesday, but the match was pushed back because rain delays washed out most of Monday's action.

She wasted no time Wednesday, overwhelming the 21-year-old Mattek with power, pace and swinging volleys — 26 winners in all — and few sloppy errors.

"I felt good out there," Williams said. "It seemed like I had all the right answers when she came up with some very good shots."

Williams, Wimbledon champion in 2000, 2001 and 2005, faced only one break point — which she saved with an ace in the second game of the second set. From there, she won the last 11 points on her serve.

Mattek, making her main draw debut at Wimbledon, had only three winners.

"It was kind of hard to do anything," she said. "I wish I could have stayed out there a little longer."

The match featured some unusual fashion displays: Williams sported a stick-on tattoo below the front of her right shoulder, while Mattek wore knee-high socks, shorts and a tube top over a halter top.

The Minnesota-born Mattek said she bought the socks for 10 pounds (US$18; euro14.30) at Harrod's.

"I was going for kind of the soccer theme," she said.

"She looked really cute, very 70s inspired," Williams said.

Sharapova unleashed 27 winners against Smashnova, handing the 42nd-ranked Israeli her sixth straight first-round loss at the All England Club.

"It would be kind of stupid of me to say I don't want equal prize money," Sharapova said. "I think the public enjoy the women's play as much as the men."

Mauresmo lost only 17 points against the 192nd-ranked Abramovic, who was playing in her first Grand Slam match.

"It's one of the greatest matches that I've played here," Mauresmo said. "I don't know if also the fact that my opponent was not so good made it easy for me."

On the men's side, 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt cruised past Italy's Filippo Volandri, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. The man Hewitt beat in the 2002 final, fourth-seeded David Nalbandian, defeated France's Arnaud Clement 6-4 6-4 6-3.

No. 5 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia won a five-set marathon against Spain's Feliciano Lopez, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6 11-9.

No. 9 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia became the highest seeded player to go out when he fell 2-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (8), 6-3 to Colombia's Alejandro Falla. And No. 17 Robby Ginepri was ousted by fellow American Mardy Fish, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.