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Tennis briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 20, 2001


Williams sisters survive the heat

MELBOURNE, Australia -- For Venus and Serena Williams, the goal Saturday at the Australian Open was twofold: get into the fourth round, and get out of the heat.

Along with fellow Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis, the Williamses played at the same time on adjacent courts in sweltering conditions, and each won quickly.

Serena Williams, seeded sixth, beat Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1, 6-4. Eighteen minutes later, the top-seeded Hingis completed a 7-5, 6-1 victory over wild card Virginie Razzano. And 14 minutes after that, third-seeded Venus Williams finished off Denisa Chladkova 6-4, 6-1.

"It was very hot," Venus Williams said. "I didn't want to make my stay too long. I was pretty fortunate."

With a summer heat wave in its second day, temperatures were in the 90s and soared to 125 on the sunbaked hard courts. The sizzling court surface prompted chair umpire Jane Harvey to allow a brief interruption in the middle of a game during the Hingis-Razzano match.

"Ladies and gentlemen, there'll be a short break while Miss Razzano changes her shoes," Harvey said. Hingis decided to change shoes, too.

No. 7 Mary Pierce wilted in the weather, losing to Paola Suarez 6-3, 6-2. No. 10 Amanda Coetzer beat Marlene Weingartner 6-2, 6-4. No. 13 Amelie Mauresmo, the 1999 runner-up, beat former French Open champion Iva Majoli 6-4, 6-2. Unseeded Rita Grande beat Evie Dominikovic 6-3, 6-4.

Serena Williams lost her serve three times but was the much more aggressive player, belting 16 winners to four for Tanasugarn. Williams is one round from a possible quarterfinal matchup against Hingis.

"I'm pretty disappointed with the way I played," she said. "The wind was kind of chasing the ball a little. I didn't do the things I wanted to do."

Hingis fell behind 4-2 but rallied to take the opening set in 39 minutes -- about the length of her first two matches. She then pulled away, with half her points coming on errors by Razzano.

On the men's side, sixth-seeded Andre Agassi caught a break when his opponent, David Prinosil, retired because of heat exhaustion after about an hour.

Agassi overcame a 6-2 deficit in a first-set tiebreaker and led 7-6 (13-11), 5-0 when Prinosil quit.

"It would have been nice to finish," Agassi said. "But he's okay and I'm on to the next round, so that's all good."

Agassi, the defending champion, has needed only 4 hours, 5 minutes in his three matches. His next opponent is crowd-pleasing Australian Andrew Ilie.

No. 10 Wayne Ferreira lost to 19-year-old Andreas Vinciguerra 6-0, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Unseeded Greg Rusedski, who eliminated No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten in the second round, beat qualifier Lars Burgsmuller 6-1, 6-2, 6-1. Rusedski lost only four points on his first serve.

No. 15 Arnaud Clement beat Roger Federer 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4, and No. 16 Sebastien Grosjean beat Thomas Johansson 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.

Other matches in the round of 16 pit No. 2-seeded Marat Safin against No. 14 Dominik Hrbaty, and No. 8 Tim Henman against No. 12 Patrick Rafter.

"I don't think there's anything tougher than playing Rafter in Melbourne," Henman said. "The support he'll have will be reminiscent of the support I have at Wimbledon. You can't expect it will be tranquil."

Women's round of 16 matchups include No. 2 Lindsay Davenport against No. 15 Kim Clijsters, No. 8 Anna Kournikova against Barbara Rittner and No. 12 Jennifer Capriati against Marta Marrero.

EX-PLAYER SENTENCED: Former pro Milan Srejber was convicted and sentenced to 51/2 years in prison for insider trading in Prague, Czech Republic.

Srejber used the information to profit nearly $350,000 for Srejber Tennis Investing, Prague's municipal court ruled.

He immediately appealed.

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