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U.S. Open briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 3, 2000


Serena keeps the sister act on track

NEW YORK -- Three weeks before her 19th birthday, defending champion Serena Williams stayed on course at the U.S. Open on Saturday, drilling 12 aces in a 6-4, 6-2 win over Giulia Casoni.

The victory advanced her to the round of 16 and kept alive the possibility that Serena could meet older sister Venus in an all-Williams final Saturday.

After Serena finished off Casoni, a reporter suggested that Venus was the favorite as the Open turns into its second week.

"Is she?" Serena said cooly.

The message was clear. Don't forget about the defending champion.

"Right now, my game can compete with anyone," she said. "It doesn't matter who I play. I'm definitely a better player. Last year, I don't see how I won to be honest, compared with where I am now."

Next up for Serena in the round of 16 is Jelena Dokic, whose father was barred from the tournament for disruptive behavior in the players lounge.

WET WINNER: Magui Serna found a way to get on the CBS highlight show. The Spanish player made a bet with her coach, Stefan Ortega, that if she upset Amanda Coetzer in their third-round meeting, she would run through the fountain at the Unisphere, a symbol of the 1964 World's Fair that is located near Arthur Ashe Stadium. Serna won 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).

PLACE TO BE: Three U.S. Open attendance records were set Friday. The day session drew 31,179, the first time the event surpassed 30,000. The night session crowd of 23,128 also was a record, making Friday's 54,307 the largest single-day Open attendance.

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