Kournikova bounces out of Open

Seventy three tournaments and the lady still hasn't won a coconut, never mind a cup. But if Anna Kournikova is concerned about her inability to land a first title, it doesn't show. And why should it? She is already acknowledged as the biggest-earning female athlete, ever.

Seventy three tournaments and the lady still hasn't won a coconut, never mind a cup. But if Anna Kournikova is concerned about her inability to land a first title, it doesn't show. And why should it? She is already acknowledged as the biggest-earning female athlete, ever.

Her latest conqueror, in the third round of the US Open yesterday, was Justine Henin, a Belgian who, at 18, is a year younger than the Russian sexpot and, on this evidence, a better player already. Henin, wielding a backhand exquisite in construction and devastating in execution, put out the twelfth-seeded Kournikova 6-4 7-6.

Anna hit no aces, perpetrated four double-faults and in the opinion of John McEnroe from his TV commentary box, "Her serve is worse than ever." But, as ever, she wowed a crowd as near to capacity as they will ever get in the Arthur Ashe Stadiium, where the seats which offer the chance to talk to passing aircraft are never sold out. The audience included a group of blonde-wigged, hairy-chested male fans of Anna's, but there was nothing they, or anyone else, could do to lift her in a contest she failed to seize, even when the opportunity arose, as it frequently did.

As Kournikova exited for another round of photo-shoots and assorted money opportunities she was replaced by Elena Dementieva, also a leggy Russian blonde but considerably less famous, despite having beaten Venus Williams in last year's Fed Cup final between Russia and the United States. Yet Dementieva, a Moscow native and 18 years old, is emerging as a better prospect at the game of tennis than her compatriot. Another confident display yesterday eliminated the seventh seed, Conchita Martinez, 6-4 6-1.

Those matches apart, the women's seeds massed confidently for what should be a fascinating second week. There are eleven seeds remaining, with all the main contenders still swinging away.

The defending champion, Serena Williams, celebrated her third straight-sets victory, beating the Italian, Giulia Casoni, 6-4 6-2. Casoni hails from Ferrara, home of the Borgias, and the only hope she had of winning this one was to slip something evil into Serena's courtside drink. That awesome prospect, a final between the Williams sisters, remains very much on the cards.

For Venus, the streak goes on. She clocked up her 22nd consecutive win, the best on the women's tour this year, in beating Meghann Shaughnessy, a 21-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, 7-6 6-1. However, the Wimbledon champion was given such a torrid time in the first set on a sultry evening of high humidity that her bright orange dress was soon saturated.

Shaughnessy startled Venus by slamming the ball at, and past, her harder than than she herself wallops it and led 3-0. Three times the Williams serve was broken in an hour-long opening set and if the stick-thin Shaughnessy's service had been on a par with the rest of her game we might have witnessed the first sensation of the women's event.

Even in the tiebreak Venus obliged her opponent by contributing a couple of double-faults but, just in time, she remembered her pedigree, reeled off five straight points to win the first set and as the fizz went out of Shaughnessy's hitting and her resolve wavered, Williams galloped away with the second set in a brisk 22 minutes.

Asked if she regarded the match as a wake-up call, Venus offered a dismissive smile and went on to bemoan the fact that her next opponent is the sturdy Spanish journeywoman Magui Serna. "I would prefer to face a higher-ranked player," she said. That opportunity will come soon enough, with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who beat her at the French Open, waiting in the quarter-finals and top seed Martina Hingis in the semis.

Lindsay Davenport is motoring nicely, too. She put away Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-2 6-1 in not much more than the time it takes to read out her Thai opponent's name. Now, having put out one Belgian teenage prospect, Kim Clijsters, in the second round, Davenport faces another, Henin. And she will not have forgotten how close Henin came to beating her at Roland Garros last year.

Another teenager, the troubled Jelena Dokic of Australia via Serbia, struggled to put away the lowly-rated Italian, Francesca Schiavone, 7-6 7-5.

She refused to answer any questions about her dreadful Dad, Damir, banned from the tournament for abusive behaviour yet again, but offered a glimpse of the strain she is playing through with the comment, "The main thing is not to worry about what happens off court, but sometimes it's hard to do that." perhaps Anna Kournikova should take note of that remark.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn