Hingis far too hot for Novotna

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The Independent Online

Martina Hingis reached the quarter-finals of the Citizen Cup in Hamburg yesterday with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Jana Novotna. It was the first win over a player in the top five for the 14-year-old from Switzerland.

Hingis, ranked 60, was by far the more positive player in the first set. Her groundstrokes were solid, there was a sting in her shots and her double- handed backhand made Novotna struggle.

It was not until she had saved five break points in the second set that the girl from the Czech Republic slipped into gear, becoming more aggressive while Hingis became careless. But the final set saw Hingis regain her discipline, and her perfectly placed passing shots left Novotna helpless.

Spain's Conchita Martinez, who recently won both clay court events she played in the United States, also reached the quarter-finals, defeating Slovakia's Radka Zrubakova 6-1, 6-4.

The fourth seed, Magdalena Maleeva, exploited a few careless errors by France's Alexia Dechaume-Balleret to earn a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Meanwhile the top seed, Mary Pierce of France, has delayed her opening match until tomorrow after withdrawing from the doubles because of a kidney infection.