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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Graf, Teens Romp as Agassi Struggles


FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York -- Steffi Graf is separated from Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova by 12 years and 20 Grand Slam titles.

At age 27, Graf is at the top of the women's game, one of the best players in the history of tennis. Hingis and Kournikova, both 15, have yet to make history, though along with Graf they made their way into the third round of the U.S. Open on Thursday.

Graf met little resistance in Karin Kschwendt of Austria. Kschwendt, looked as if she had been swept up in Graf's security detail as she was on her way to a corporate hospitality doubles match and upon arrival at the stadium said: "OK, I'll play here.'' Graf swept her away, 6-2, 6-1.

A World No.1's burdens do not lay upon the shoulders of Hingis and Kournikova. Hingis, of Switzerland, is in her third season of professional tennis. She is the tournament's 16th seed and owns a victory over Graf in the Italian Open quarterfinals this year. She won a satellite tournament in the Czech Republic earlier this season.

Thursday, Hingis beat Miriam Oremans of The Netherlands, 6-4, 6-4.

Kournikova, who just turned 15, has more variety in her game even if her strokes have not yet matured. She defeated Natalie Baudone of Italy, 6-3, 6-3.

Kournikova is part of Nick Bollettieri's legion of tennis stars, and the ubiquitous coach and entrepreneur has predictably predicted great things for her. The international sports monolith IMG spotted her when she was 9 years old in Moscow, and brought her, her mother and her suitcases to the Bollettieri boot camp in Bradenton, Florida.

If Graf beats Natasha Zvereva, once a bit of a teenage wonder herself, in the next round, and if Kournikova can beat the 14th seed, Barbara Paulus, then Kournikova will get her shot at Graf in the quarterfinals.

In the men's tournament, U.S. Open darling Andre Agassi had a brief scare when Leander Paes set the stadium abuzz by bursting to a 6-3, 4-0 lead in their second-round match.

Agassi, who can sometimes look like a deer caught in headlights, looked to be in a fix.

"What I was really thinking was, 'What am I going to do?' He was playing out-of-this-world tennis,'' Agassi said after his 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 victory.

But Agassi began to rally.

"This was probably as extreme as it gets, when you're down 6-3, 4-love, then to win the next 18 of 19 games,'' Agassi said. "Never would have thought at 6-3, 4-love that was it, that he was only going to get one more game.''

But that's all Paes got.

"After the game that put me up 4-love, I lost the rhythm on my serve,'' Paes said. "I think I lost my concentration there ... give Andre one chance, he's going to come back and that's exactly what he did.'' ()

(For other results, see Scorecard)