The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 26, 1998 · Page 157
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March 26, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 157

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Thursday, March 26, 1998
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!14C THE PALM BEACH POST THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1998 s c 1 " n llB S) P 0 01 S 1 o !ii y results crowd gives Rios roar of approval the tournament WHERE: Tennis Center at . Crandon Park, Key Biscayne. ; WHEN: Through Sunday. ' DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 95 ; south to Key Biscayne exit. Head east and over the Rickenbacker Causeway. Tennis center is on right. TICKETS: $20-$40. Call (305) 442-3367. TV: 1-3 p.m., ESPN. ' "" ' i L r "That will be shocking if he does get to No. 1," said Lindsay Davenport, who is ranked No. 2 on the women's tour. "I guess he's got a very good chance. It'll be kind of weird to have a No. 1 player who hasn't won a Grand Slam, but I think he can do it." "Everyone who does something wants to be the best in the world," Rios said. "If you're a soccer player or a tennis player, you want to be the best. The other quarterfinals Andre Agassi vs. Jeff Tarango and Steve Campbell vs. Alex Corretja are scheduled for today. Sanchez Vicario rolls: Eighth seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who struggled last year and didn't win a title all year for the first time since 1988, earned one of her biggest victories of the year, beating third seed Jana Novotna 6-1, 6-1 in 53 minutes. Sanchez Vicario had missed three weeks of play, including last week's tournament in Indian Wells, because she was recovering from a stress fracture in her left leg. Sampras OK, Agassi thinks: Andre Agassi was among those surprised by Pete Sampras' third-round loss to Wayne Ferreira, but he isn't worried about the No. 1 player's performance this year. "He's gotten us used to him being the best," Agassi said. "I don't count him out. He's proven too much to me for me to think for one second that he's going to let things THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Marcelo Rios may not have been pleased with this shot against Thomas Enqvist, but the crowd was rooting for him all the way. is obviously a good sign for me." "He's really tough to beat if he's playing good," Rios said. "And he's really playing good." If the third-ranked Rios wins Lipton, he'll supplant Pete Sampras as No. 1 in the world. Rios would be the first South American to be ranked No. 1 on the ATP Tour. umpe rousing Thomas Enqvist retires with an injury, leaving the pro-Rios crowd feeling cheated. By Elizabeth Clarke Palm Beach Post Staff Writer KEY BISCAYNE Tim Henman received polite, genuine applause for upsetting 10th seed Gustavo Kuerten and reaching the Lipton semifinals Wednesday. Marcelo Rios got foot-stomping, flag-waving, impassioned chanting during the first set of his quarterfinal match against Thomas Enqvist. But the third seed's fans went home a bit unsatisfied when Enqvist walked to the net down 6-3, 2-0 and stuck out his hand to Rios. Enqvist retired from the match a flare-up of tendinitis in his right wrist, which he said is a continuing problem. "I know there's a lot of people behind me," Rios said. "It's like when Chile played Bolivia in the World Cup, and everybody in Chile was going crazy to see a soccer match. "I started thinking that maybe it's the same with me everybody's meeting at someone's house to see a tennis match." Rios is the highest remaining seed in the tournament. He could move from No. 3 to No. 1 in the rankings if he wins the title. He will play Henman, who beat Kuerten 6-2, 6-4, in the semifinals Thursday. "I think consistently, this is probably one of the best tournaments of my career," Henman said. "I think to not have dropped a set against the four guys that I've played Ranking rising steadily UPTON From 1C nikova said she hasn't received any movie scripts or acting offers, although she has said she would like to be an actress if she weren't a tennis player. "I am playing tennis right now. And that takes most of my time," she said. Likewise, when asked about her relationship with fellow Russian Sergei Fedorov, who plays for the Detroit Red Wings, she revealed little. "He is just a friend of mine," she said. "I mean, you know, another athlete, and he is a very nice person." As for the new home, she moved from Bradenton a few months ago because she no longer works full-time with Nick Bollettieri. She moved from Moscow to Florida when she was 9 to work on her tennis and started training with Bollettieri a few years later. She still considers Moscow a part-time home. But since beating two top-10 players and reaching the semifi r j Men Singles ,' Quarterfinals Tim Henman def. Gustavo Kuerten ,' (10)6-2,6-4. - Marcelo Rios (3) def. Thomas Enqvist 6-3, 2-0, retired. Doubles Third Round Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor def. Mariano Hood and Sebastien Prieto 6-4, 6-1 . Quarterfinals Ellis Ferreira and Rick Leach def. Lucas Arnold and Daniel Orsanic 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. Neil Broad and Piet Norval def. Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Daniel Vacek 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. Women Singles Quarterfinals ' - Anna Kournikova def. Lindsay Davenport (2) 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (8) def. ,.Jana Novotna (3) 6-1,6-1. Doubles Quarterfinals . Julie Halard-Decugis and Rachel ' McQuillan def. Catherine Barclay and Kerry-Anne Guse 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. " 1 Anna Kournikova and Larisa ' Neiland def. Naoko Kijimuta and Nana '. Miyagi 6-4, 2-6, 6-0. today's matches Day sessions begin at 11 a.m. Night sessions begin at 7:30 ' p.m. Stadium day sessions ' Martina Hingis vs. Venus Williams Andre Agassi vs. Jeff Tarango Neil BroadPiet Norval vs. Ellis FerreiraRick Leach Grandstand day session David AdamsWayne Ferreira vs. Alex O'BrienJonathan Stark Alexandra FusaiNathalie Tauziat vs. Conchita Martinez Patricia Tarabini Sandon StolleCyril Suk vs. Mark KnowlesDaniel Nestor ; TBA day session Martina HingisJana Novotna vs. Elena LikhovtsevaAI . Sugiyama ' Anna KournikovaLarisa Neiland vs. Arantxa Sanchez VicarioNatasha Zvereva Stadium evening session Steve Campbell vs. Alex Corretja Arantxa Sanchez Vicario vs. . Anna Kourkikova 4 Isewhere FL0RID1AN LOSES , ' , Kristina Brandi of Tampa was eliminated from the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Tennis Challenger of The Woodlands (Texas) by Belgium's Els Callens. Brandi, seeded sixth and the top American in the field, followed two other high seeds, No. 5 Amelie Cocheteux of France and No. 7 Mariana Diaz- Oliva of Argentina, to get eliminated. Brandi lost to Callens ' Brandi 7-6 (7-5), 0-6, 6-2. Brandi's doubles partner, Karin Miller of Bradenton, won , her first-round singles match, defeating France's Emmanuelle Curuchet 6-3, 6-3. But the two Floridians were bounced out of the doubles by Melissa Mazzotta of Key Biscayne, and Colombia's Fabiola Zuluaga 6-2, 6-2. . . . 'French qualifier Sebastian Grosjean upset seventh-seeded ,Jordi Burillo of Spain on Wednesday in the $235,000 Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco, which ;opens the European clay-court season. The Frenchman gained his first ATP Tour quarterfinal. updates 511: Call 51 1 and enter "511 ' catesory 3861 for -r j frequent updates on The Lipton tennis tournament. 50 for up to 5 min. See page 2A for more details. . INTERNET: For coverage of The Lipton on line, go to Palm Beach Interactive: www.CoPBI.comSportsTown counting off 0 break chances Gustavo Kuerten earned against Tim - Henman. Henman had nine ; chances to break Kuerten's serve, converting three of therh, for the 6-2, 6-4 victory. Guga, the 1997 French Open champion, also , made 22 unforced errors and just 19 winners. ; 1 fan seen wearing Goran ! Ivanisevic's hairstyle the ; ponytail directly on top of the head the day after the Croatian player lost. ,' jQ world ranking Venus Williams will achieve next week after I reaching today's semifinals. It will be a career-high. Her father ; predicts her sister, Serena, to ; follow Venus into the top-1 0 within six months and both to ', reach the top five within the year. 19 times Jana Novotna and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario have played each other. Novotna leads the series 10-9 and had won the last four matches before Vicario's 6-1,6-1 victory Wednesday. ! 30 approximate ranking Serena j Williams will improve to next ! week after reaching the J quarterfinals at Lipton. Serena is ranked 40th this week and was 99 at the end of 1997. ! I 43 stands or carts on the grounds of the Tennis Center at Crandon Park where fans can buy food or drink, including everything from bagels to beer. j . i 226,000 pounds of sand hauled onto the grounds to i build a sand bar and sand ! sculpture near the food court, j court quirks j TAKE THAT, AND THAT J Tenth seed Gustavo Kuerten j battled himself, the wind, opponent Tim Henman and even his racket during his quarterfinal loss. After dropping the first set, Kuerten was serving at 2-2 in the second, down 0-30. That's ' when he missed yet another , shot to go down 0-40 and ; threw his racket down a few feet away. Still aggravated, Kuerten . pursued the racket and stomped on it. "You don't see me (do that) very often maybe," Kuerten said, smiling. "(But I do it) sometimes." ; I GOT IT! Ballboysi ballgirls and even fans had to help keep the courts clean Wednesday. Strong winds ; kept a constant string of : lightweight items such as ' napkins, hot dog wrappers and : scraps of paper swirling above ; and onto stadium court. Play was stopped several times ' during the Lindsay Davenport- i Anna Kournikova match. ; aces and faces: 111 If v ...t I'll :y .-. . - t ? life - - fff 1 if This report was supplemented by The Associated Press. Being able to make that type of mental adjustment is something else Kournikova has improved this year. Physically, she can make any shot, she said. "Right now, I'm much smarter," Kournikova said. "Every time on the court, even if I'm losing, even in the second set, I stop, think about it and started doing new stuff. continues today tournament to the Australian Open, but went on to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Two weeks ago, Hingis beat Williams 6-0, 7-6 in the semifinals at Indian Wells, Calif., and went on to win the title. The results are getting ctoser, but Hingis said she won't worry about her ranking or her play until other players are consistently beating her. "I played much better against Venus (than Serena) because I was in better shape," Hingis said. "They both are pretty good and dangerous for everybody. Venus has a better serve, hits the balls much harder. Serena is more controlled, (has a) bejter mind. But Venus is very confident." ..... THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Anna Kournikova, who upset second-seeded Lindsay Davenport 6-4, 2-6 6-4 on Wednesday, will meet No. 8 Aranxta Sanchez Vicario in today's semifinals. nals last year at Wimbledon, she has been concentrating exclusively on improving her ranking. Until this year, her age had prevented her from playing more than eight or fewer tournaments per year. "I can't change it now," Kournikova said. "So I have to start from where I am and prove one more time to everyone that I'm still a good player." Her results are doing that. She has a 14-6 match record and has reached at least the quarterfinals of all seven tournaments ' she has played. Her only losses have been to top-10 players. Her ranking has improved from 32 at the end of 1997 to 25 this week. Next week, she will move up to at least 20, a career-high. to beat." Kournikova's strategy against Davenport, like against Monica Seles, prominently featured drop shots, which changed the rhythm and put the 6-foot-2'2 Davenport on the run. "Of course (that was my plan)," she said. "I mean, they're not the fastest players on the Davenport, 21, said reducing errors has most helped Kourni-kova's game. "She's getting a lot more consistent with her balls than she used to be," said Davenport, who made 41 unforced errors to Kournikova's 28. "She hits the ball hard. She's an aggressive player. When she's not making errors, she's going to be tough Yen us inching closer to top -seeded SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS Life hasn't changed much yet for Steve Campbell, the surprise of the tournament who already has gotten the best tournament results of his career with his run to the quarterfinals. The 27-year-old Detroit resident, a qualifier, has beaten two seeds and three higher-ranked players to reach , today's round. This week, he has been named as a practice partner for the Davis Cup team and will make the biggest payday of his career. But one of , the nicest things he has gotten was an transportation upgrade. He had been ndmg to his matches each day like a lot of ' other folks who are working here in a shuttle van. After he beat Wayne Ferreira on Tuesday, though, the tournament's director of player services was waiting outside the transportation lounge with keys to a Mercedes, sponsor of the , men's tour. Until he loses. ; Campbell will have use of the car. t iour. Hingis as rivalry strokes. Through more match-play. Williams has learned to adjust to her opponents' weaknesses better and decrease her errors. A future rivalry still looked probable after the U.S. Open, despite Hingis' quick 6-0, 6-4 victory in the final. Williams, w ho was unseeded, burst onto the international tennis scene at the tournament, upsetting seeded players Anke Huber and Inna Spirlea en route to the final. Williams looked rattled throughout the match, particularly the first set, and was upse t with her performance afterward. Their next meeting was different. Williams lyst the first set in Sydney, a warmup Lipton semifinal against the world's top-ranked player by getting some rest. "I think it's important that I go out there relaxed and just ready to play, not overplanning or overpracticing," said Williams, who has beaten Hingis once in five career meetings. "I already can play. I've already practiced all these years for this." Today will be the players' sixth meeting in just over a year. Hingis sent Williams home in the third round of the Lipton last year. It was a quick 6-4, 6-2 defeat, but demonstrated what could potentially be a long rivalry. Hingis had, and still has. much better shot selection and control. But Williams had a huge srrve and powerful ground- Venus Williams has yet to beat Martinas Hingis, but her matches with the world's No. 1 player have been getting closer. By Elizabeth Clarke I'uim H"j.h W .Sf.j H rr.vr KKY P.1SCAYNE Venus Williams p-'.h.ih'v didn't sptnd Wednesday cross-f.irr,;ninc hir m-Ut a!t;t how to beat Martina H.rgis r tnm to perfect any of li r -h ts.. She mvrht nt have even played rr.; h tennis. VM-iams pr ! .!.! prepared fr her MIkHmMI 4k nil

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