Tennis: Hungry Hingis too strong for Kruger

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MARTINA HINGIS, the def-ending champion and top seed, crushed South Africa's Joannette Kruger 6-1, 6-3 in 49 minutes on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the Toshiba Classic in Carlsbad, California.

"I played her in Key Biscayne and it was quite easy," said Hingis, who beat Kruger 6-0, 6-0 in their only previous meeting five months ago. "She doesn't miss too much but she doesn't have as fast a game as Monica [Seles] or Lindsay [Davenport]. It gives me enough time to get into a rhythm."

Hingis needed just 18 minutes to take the first set, but Kruger offered more resistance in the second. "Once you win the first set 6-1, you kind of lose your concentration and try to make some stupid shots which sometimes don't work out," she said.

While Hingis moved into the semi-finals, the Americans Davenport and Venus Williams and France's Nathalie Tauziat reached the quarter-finals.

The Second-seeded Davenport, fresh from winning the Bank of the West title last week against Williams, beat her compatriot Lisa Raymond 6-1, 6-4 while third-seeded Williams defeated Chanda Rubin 6-3, 6-2. The eighth seed and Wimbledon runner-up Tauziat dismissed the American qualifier Amy Frazier 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

Davenport did not play her best tennis against Raymond despite a straight- sets victory. "I knew going in I hadn't lost to her before but she's a very dangerous player regardless of past results," said Davenport, who now has a 6-0 record against her rival.

n Tim Henman was left frustrated as his third-round match with Spain's Albert Costa in the Du Maurier Open was washed out by rain in Toronto on Thursday. Only one match started before the downpour arived as Russia's fourth seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov won his first three games against the American, Malivai Washington.