Count Monica Seles among Anna Kournikova's many admirers.
The two top 10 players meet tonight in the fourth round at the Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, and it turns out Seles is a fan of her foe.
"Anna is very hardworking," Seles said. "She's one of the few people who is here early in the morning practicing. I've never seen her slack off in practice.
"It's really terrific how hard she's working and how much she wants to be the No 1 player in the world."
Kournikova and Seles easily reached the fourth round with victories on Sunday. Seles, seeded seventh, beat Lisa Raymond 6-3, 6-2. No 9 Kournikova swept Natasha Zvereva 6-1, 6-4.
Tonight's match will present contrasting styles and images. Seles is a sentimental favourite and Grand Slam champion; Kournikova is a glamorous starlet who makes more news off the court than on it.
The latest item for the tabloids surfaced on Sunday: An American Airlines crew says Kournikova and her mother became belligerent during a recent flight from Dallas to Miami, forcing the pilot and police to intervene.
The crew told police the dispute began when Kournikova refused to put her miniature Doberman pinscher in its carrying case, as FAA rules require. The Kournikovas denied the claim and said the flight crew treated them rudely.
Kournikova said she dislikes sharing her private life with the public.
"They know everything - more than they need to know," she said.
One well-documented fact is that the 18-year-old Russian has never won a tournament title. But if Seles is correct, Kournikova could be on the verge of a breakthrough.
"Anna has really improved her serve a lot from last year," Seles said. "She's a really attacking player, a great mover. She's very solid off both sides. She's not afraid to come to the net. I think she has an all-court game."
Another intriguing fourth-round match pits Serena Williams against Jennifer Capriati. Williams, seeded fifth, advanced by beating Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-0. No 13 Capriati beat Chanda Rubin 6-1, 6-3.
Top seed Martina Hingis and No 2 Lindsay Davenport also advanced. No 4 Nathalie Tauziat of France lost to countrywoman Nathalie Dechy 6-4, 6-2. Two-time champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, seeded 10th, was beaten by Sabine Appelmans, 6-3, 7-5.
In men's play, second-seeded Pete Sampras overcame an upset stomach and an upset bid by 19-year-old Swede Andreas Vinciguerra to win 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4.
Sampras threw up during a changeover while leading 4-3 in the third set, then closed out the victory. He blamed his stomach ailment on medication he has been taking for his back.
The gutsy performance was reminiscent of Sampras' win in the 1996 U.S. Open quarterfinals, when he vomited during a dramatic fifth-set tiebreaker against Alex Corretja.
"I'm 2-0 in those matches," Sampras said with a smile. "It's all a ploy."
Sampras advanced to a fourth-round showdown of serves Tuesday against Greg Rusedski, who beat Byron Black 6-1, 7-6 (4). Rusedski is 1-7 against Sampras.
American Jan-Michael Gambill upset another Swede, fifth-seeded Magnus Norman, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. No. 3 Yevgeny Kafelnikov beat Fernando Meligeni 6-4, 6-3.
No 15 Patrick Rafter rallied from a break down in the second set to beat last year's runnerup, Sebastien Grosjean, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Unseeded Italian Gianluca Pozzi, at 34 the oldest player in the men's draw, reached the fourth round by beating Jiri Novak 6-3, 7-5. The showing is Pozzi's best in seven appearances at Key Biscayne.
Results from the $5.76 million Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida:
Results from the $5.76 million Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida:
Men's Singles Third Round
(2) Pete Sampras (US) def. Andreas Vinciguerra (Swe) 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4. (3) Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus) def. Fernando Meligeni (Br) 6-4, 6-3 Jan-Michael Gambill (US) def. (5) Magnus Norman (Swe) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. (14) Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) def. Tommy Haas (Ger) 6-1, 6-3. (7) Thomas Enqvist (Swe) def. George Bastl (Swit) 6-0, 7-6 (3). Greg Rusedski (GB) def. Byron Black (Zim) 6-1, 7-6 (4) Gianluca Pozzi (It) def. Jiri Novak (Cz Rep) 6-3, 7-5
Women's Singles Third Round
(1) Martina Hingis (Swit) def. Anne-Gaelle Sidot (Fr) 6-0, 6-3 (2) Lindsay Davenport (US) def. Silvija Talaja (Cro) 6-2, 6-2. Nathalie Dechy (Fr) def. (4) Nathalie Tauziat (Fr) 6-4, 6-2. (5) Serena Williams (US) def. Ai Sugiyama (Japan) 6-3, 6-0. (6) Conchita Martinez (Sp) def. Patty Schnyder (Swit) 7-5, 6-4 (7) Monica Seles (US) def. Lisa Raymond (US) 6-3, 6-2. (9) Anna Kournikova (Rus) def. Natasha Zvereva (Bela) 6-1, 6-4 Sabine Appelmans (Bel) def. (10) Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (Sp) 6-3, 7-5. (12) Sandrine Testud (Fr) def. Sylvia Plischke (Aut) 6-0, 6-0. (13) Jennifer Capriati (US) def. Chanda Rubin (US) 6-1, 6-3. Amy Frazier (US) def. (14) Anke Huber (Ger) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. (15) Elena Likhovtseva (Rus) def. Ruxandra Dragomir (Rom) 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5). Amanda Coetzer (SA) def. (16) Dominique Van Roost (Bel) walkover Elena Dementieva (Rus) def. Sarah Pitkowski (Fr) 6-2, 6-2. Nadejda Petrova (Rus) def. Anastasia Myskina (Rus) 6-1, 4-6, 6-0. Kim Clijsters (Bel) def. Adriana Gersi (Cz Rep) 6-4, 7-5
Men's Doubles First Round
Goran Ivanisevic (Cro) and Daniel Vacek (Cz Rep) def. Thomas Shimada (Japan) and Myles Wakefield (SA) 6-3, 6-4 Paul Goldstein and Chris Woodruff (US) def. Jim Courier and Jonathan Stark (US) 7-6 (4), 6-3 Jaime Oncins (Br) and Daniel Orsanic (Arg) def. Marc-Kevin Goellner (Ger) and Marcos Ondruska (SA) 6-3, 7-6 (5) Massimo Bertolini and Cristian Brandi (It) def. Fredrick Bergh and Peter Nyborg, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4 Patrick Galbraith and Brian MacPhie (US) def. Francisco Montana (US) and Jairo Velasco (Sp) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Donald Johnson (US) and Cyril Suk, (Cz Rep) def. Juan Ignacio Carrasco (Sp) and Jack Waite (US) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Tomas Carbonell (Sp) and Eric Taino (US) def. Luke Jensen and Murphy Jensen (US) 6-0, 6-4. Roger Federer (Swit) and Andreas Vinciguerra (Swe) def. Jim Grabb and Richey Reneberg (US) 6-4, 6-1.
Justin Gimelstob (US) and Sebastien Lareau (US) def. Giovanni Lapentti and Nicolas Lapentti (Ecu) 6-4, 6-3. Martin Damm (Cz Rep) and Dominik Hrbaty (Slovak) def. Wayne Arthurs (Aus) and Leander Paes (Ind) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Gustavo Kuerten and Antonio Prieto (Br) def. Olivier Delaitre and Fabrice Santoro (Fr) 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (US) def. Mark Knowles (Bah) and Max Mirnyi (Bela) 6-4, 7-6 (6).
Women's Doubles First Round
Silvia Farina (It) and Karina Habsudova (Slovak) def. Eva Melicharova (Cz Rep) and Alicia Ortuno (Sp) 6-2, 6-4. Tathiana Garbin (It) and Katalin Marosi (Hun) def. Gala Leon Garcia and Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo (Sp) 6-2, 6-2. Yayuk Basuki (Indon) and Tamarine Tanasugarn (Thai) def. Meghann Shaughnessy and Linda Wild (US) 2-6, 7-5, 6-3. Holly Parkinson and Brie Rippner (US) def. Amelie Cocheteux (Fr) and Janette Husasrova (Slovak) 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. Jelena Kostanic (Cro) and Tina Pisnik (Sloven) def. Mariaan de Swardt and Joannette Kruger (SA) 7-5, 3-6, 7-5. Amy Frazier and Katie Schlukebir (US) def. Kim Clijsters (Bel) and Alicia Molik (Aus) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Jelena Dokic (Aus) and Patty Schnyder (Swit) def. Erika de Lone (US) and Nicole Pratt (Aus) 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-5. Anke Huber (Ger) and Barbara Schett, (Aut) def. Catalina Cristea and Ruxandra Dragomir (Rom) 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Surina de Beer and Nannie de Villiers (SA) def. Florencia Labat and Patricia Tarabini (Arg) 7-5, 7-6 (10).Reuse content