Edberg sets up his finale

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The Independent Online
Tennis

Stefan Edberg put off retirement for another day and gave himself hope of a seventh Grand Slam title yesterday with a decisive straight-sets victory over Paul Haarhuis at the US Open in New York.

Edberg, playing in his 54th successive - and last - Grand Slam championship, glided past the Dutchman 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 to reach the fourth round here for the first time since 1992, the year he won the second of his back- to-back Open titles.

"I'm playing good tennis and I'm into the second week," the 30-year-old Swede said. "I've had some good matches. Anything can happen now."

Edberg has a pair of US, Australian and Wimbledon crowns in his Grand Slam collection but says not even an inspiring Open triumph this year would change his mind about the retirement. "Once I make a decision then I stand for it." he said.

Thomas Muster, the third-seeded Austrian, reached the fourth round after thrashing Sergi Bruguera 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, in a match of two French Open champions.

In reaching the final 16 for the fourth year in a row at the hardcourt major, Muster has not lost a set and he was never seriously challenged by Bruguera.

"His game suits mine perfectly," Muster said of his fellow clay-court specialist after the one hour, 41 minute win that sets up a meeting with 13th-seeded Swede, Thomas Enqvist.

In the women's draw, the fourth-seeded Conchita Martinez of Spain became the first player to reach the quarter-finals. Martinez, the 1994 Wimbledon champion, beat the unseeded Asa Carlsson 6-2, 6-1 to continue her charge through the draw.

''I played great tennis out there. I was concentrating in the whole match, trying to win all the points," said Martinez, who has lost just 16 games in four matches without losing a set.

Anna Kournikova, the 15-year-old Russian, joined some of her more recognised elders in the fourth round by upsetting the 14th seed, Barbara Paulus. Kournikova, playing in her first Grand Slam, won the last three games to beat the Austrian 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the spotlight of the National Centre stadium lights.

"I tried to stay calm and I didn't lose my concentration,' said Kournikova, the youngest player in the field.

Steffi Graf, the top seed and holder, third-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and seventh-seeded Jana Novotna had already made it safely through to earlier in the day.

Their straight-set victories lacked the drama of Kournikova's 1 hour, 45 minute victory, which earned her a meeting with Graf. "It is definitely my dream to play Steffi." Kournikova said of Graf, who beat Natasha Zvereva of Belarus 6-4 6-2.

Britain's girls were beaten 3-0 by the Slovak Republic in the final of the ITF world 14-and- under championship in Nagoya, Japan, yesterday. Sarah Gregg of Humberside lost the opening rubber 6-2 6-1 to Stanislava Hrozenska while Hannah Collin, the British No 1 from Surrey, went down 6-3 6-2 to Katarina Basternacova. Collin and Helen Reesby of Nottingham were then beaten 6-4 6-2 by Hrozenska and Suzana Kucova in the doubles.

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