Tennis: Hingis ready for revenge

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MARTINA HINGIS, the World No 1, yesterday set up a revenge match with Serena Williams at the Italian Open after a 6-1, 6-4 victory in the third round over the unseeded American Corina Morariu.

The defending champion won in under an hour and now meets Williams, the No 6 seed, in the quarter-finals in a repeat of their memorable meeting at the Lipton Championships in March. On that occasion, Williams inflicted a rare defeat on Hingis and the Swiss has not forgotten. "This time it will be different. I'm more confident and I'll take her more seriously," Hingis said.

Williams reached the last eight at Rome for the second successive year with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Irina Spirlea, of Romania.

Venus Williams, the No 3 seed, maintained hopes of another showdown of the American siblings in the semi-finals when she overwhelmed Anna Kournikova, the ninth seed, 6-2, 6-2. Before thinking about a second successive confrontation with Serena, Venus, a winner on clay for the first time in Hamburg last week, must face the 11th seed, Dominique Van Roost, of Belgium, a 6-4, 7-6 winner over Nathalie Tauziat.

Amelie Mauresmo, the No 10 seed, and Patty Schnyder, of Switzerland, let their tennis do the talking in a repeat of their thrilling second round match in the Australian Open.

Schnyder took the first set 7-5 with a single break. Mauresmo then hit back in the second, taking it 6-2 before, in the 11th game of the final set, the No 5 seed's usually steady ground-strokes abandoned her. Schnyder lost her serve, allowing a grateful Mauresmo to serve out the match at 6-3.

Like in Melbourne, Mauresmo has every chance of reaching the final after the French Open champion, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, seeded to meet Mauresmo in the quarters, was a surprise loser to Sylvia Plischke, of Austria. Sanchez-Vicario, seeded second, was outplayed in just over an hour, losing 6-4, 6-1.

In a repeat of their 1997 Italian Open final, the No4 seed, Mary Pierce, saved a match-point and recovered from a set down to defeat the four-times Italian champion, Conchita Martinez, in a third-set tiebreak 4-6, 6-0, 7-6.

Pierce, aiming for her second Italian title in three years, meets either Sandrine Testud, of France, or the Israeli Anna Smashnova in the quarter- finals.