Tennis: Anna is in the form of her life

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The Independent Online
ANNA KOURNIKOVA, the ninth seed, defeated the top seed and world No 2, Lindsay Davenport of the United States, 6-4, 6-1 yesterday in the third round of the Bausch and Lomb Championships, a victory that extended the hot streak that began for the Russian about a month ago.

Last week Kournikova reached the final of the Family Circle Cup and now the world's 16th-ranked player has a chance to move up as many as 11 places in the rankings over a two-week span if she wins the title.

Kournikova has yet to win her first event on the WTA Tour and has not won a title on any circuit since 1996. A victory would move her to at least No 9 in the world rankings, her highest ranking ever. Kournikova's last win of this magnitude came against Switzerland's Martina Hingis last May.

"This was important for me because I haven't beaten a top, top player in some time," she said. "So, this is very good. It gives me a lot of confidence."

Her next match will be against No 6 seed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, who Kournikova beat in the semi-finals at Hilton Head last week. Schnyder defeated Argentina's Inez Gorrochategui 7-5, 6-2.

Marcelo Rios and Gustavo Kuerten, two clay-court specialists, will meet each other in the quarter-finals of the Estoril Open in Oeiras, Portugal. Both men swept aside their second-round opponents yesterday.

Rios, the No 3 seed from Chile, who is fighting back to form after a four-month injury lay-off, powered past the No 4 seed, the Spaniard Albert Costa, 6-3, 6-3. The Brazilian Kuerten, the No 5 seed, overcame Jiri Novak, of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4.

In the Salem Open in Hong Kong, Hendrik Dreekman added to the trials of the triple champion Michael Chang yesterday, the German rallying to beat the No 8 seed, who has dropped to 40 in the world, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Chang's American compatriot Andre Agassi, a wild-card entry, continued his rehabilitation as he sped to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Oliver Gross. Agassi will meet Nicolas Kiefer, of Germany, in the quarter-finals.