Kuerten conquers Ivanisevic

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The Independent Online

The French Open champion, Gustavo Kuerten, embarrassed the Wimbledon champion, Goran Ivanisevic, 6-2 6-1 in their third-round meeting at the Masters Series in Cincinnati. Ohio, on Thursday night.

Kuerten, the Brazilian top seed, was too sharp for an inconsistent Ivanisevic as he proved he is more than a clay-court player. Kuerten, a semi-finalist here a year ago, has won five events this year and 20 of his last 22 matches – all on clay.

"He's a guy who takes a lot of risks," said Kuerten. "And he plays a lot from his serve. So he didn't serve too good today and I didn't miss shots."

Earlier, Patrick Rafter and his fellow Australian Lleyton Hewitt won their third-round matches. The eighth-seeded Rafter, Ivanisevic's victim in this year's Wimbledon final, overcame a fiercely contested opening set to defeat the American wild-card entrant James Blake 7-6, 6-2.

Rafter faces Greg Rusedski, the unseeded British No 2, in the last eight. Rusedski cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over the Austrian qualifier Stefan Koubek. The British No 1 and seventh seed, Tim Henman, dispatched Nicolas Kiefer, of Germany, 7-5 6-3.

Hewitt, the fifth seed, rallied to beat Max Mirnyi, of Belarus, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 for his 55th win of the year – the best record on the ATP tour. In the quarter-finals, he will face Jan-Michael Gambill, of the United States, who defeated Guillermo Cañas, of Argentina, 6-3, 6-4. Ivan Ljubicic, of Croatia, became the third unseeded player in the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Moroccan Hicham Arazi.

At the Los Angeles Classic, Monica Seles, of the United States, took more than two hours to beat the Frenchwoman Sandrine Testud 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the third round on Thursday.

"She and I always play these marathon matches," said Seles. "Both of us have similar style games and we're both huge competitors."

Seles will meet the champion here for the past two years, Serena Williams, in the last eight. It will be her second match with a Williams sister in five days, having lost to Venus in the Acura Classic final on Sunday.

Seles, the sixth seed, is playing just her third tournament since May. A stress fracture in her right foot kept her out of the French Open and Wimbledon, and she still cannot incorporate running into her work-outs.

The No 3 seed, Kim Clijsters of Belgium, defeated Alicia Molik, of Australia, 7-6, 6-3. The No 2 seed, Lindsay Davenport of the United States, beat the 18-year-old Czech Daja Bedanova 6-3, 6-3 in 62 minutes. Davenport faced just two break points on her serve against last year's WTA newcomer of the year.

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