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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kournikova to Face Hingis in Quarters

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VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania — Sixth-seeded Anna Kournikova, still seeking the first singles title of her career, beat Australian Nicole Prat 6-0, 6-2 Thursday in the Advanta Championships.

The Russian needed only 48 minutes to win her second-round match at the Villanova, Pennsylvania, tournament.

Kournikova breezed through the first two games of the first set in just three minutes en route to sweeping all six games. The Russian ran her streak to eight straight games before Pratt rallied to level the second set 2-2.

Pratt, however, never won another game as Kournikova recorded her third victory in as many meetings with the Australian.

"She didn’t come back," Kournikova said of losing two games in the second set. "I just needed to take a rest and get back. It is very difficult to maintain the level of play when you win 6-0 and then take the first two games of the next set."

Kournikova, who defeated qualifier Mashona Washington 6-2, 6-0 in the opening round, was to meet Hingis in Friday’s quarterfinals. Hingis has defeated Kournikova in nine of their 10 meetings, the last time 6-3, 6-1 in Moscow last month.

"The more I play, the more confident I have become this season," Kournikova said. "I felt that I could go out there and enjoy myself today. As far as playing against Martina, we’ll see what happens."

Julie Halard-Decugis of France had a surprisingly easy time with Jennifer Capriati, winning 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Halard-Decugis, ranked 18th in the world, used the entire court and seemed to tire her American foe.

"I don’t think I played as well as I would have liked to play," Capriati said. "It’s hard to play someone when they’re really on."

Capriati, ranked 13th in the world and seeded eighth, had words with the chair umpire numerous times throughout the match and refused to shake hands with her afterward. She became the first seeded player to lose in the tournament.

In another match, fourth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France held off Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 7-5, 6-4 in a match that lasted 88 minutes.

"It was a solid match, but it really wasn’t very good," said Tauziat. "I want to stay in the top 10. It’s difficult."

Tauziat will play Halard-Decugis in the quarters. There is no love lost between the two French players.

"We are not the best of friends," Halard-Decugis said. "I think everyone knows that."

Ninth-seeded Chanda Rubin of the United States was forced to retire against Holly Parkinson due to tendinitis in her left knee.

The injury was not expected to keep Rubin out of the Chase Championships in New York next week.

Parkinson advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals at the Pavilion at Villanova University against third seed Conchita Martinez of Spain.

Top seed Hingis and second seed Lindsay Davenport on Thursday each drew opponents they have never lost to for the first round of the season-ending Chase Championships, beginning Monday.

Davenport begins her title defense against 19-year-old Russian rising star Yelena Dementieva, who is making her Chase Championships debut after reaching the U.S. Open semifinals and capturing an Olympic silver medal this year.

The 1999 Chase champion and twice runner-up, Davenport owns a 5-0 record against the talented young Russian.

Hingis, the 1998 champion, opens against Julie Halard-Decugis of France, against whom the Swiss world No. 1 owns a 4-0 record.

The road to a third consecutive Hingis-Davenport final became a whole lot less dangerous Thursday when Venus Williams became the latest player to pull out of the season-ending tournament. Citing anemia, the reigning Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Olympic champion pulled out of the for the second time in three years.

One of the beneficiaries of the withdrawals, which also included Serena Williams, 1997 runner-up Mary Pierce and 1995 runner-up Anke Huber, is 17-year-old Belgian star Kim Clijsters.

The talented teen will make her Chase Championships debut against fifth-seeded Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, who will make her 12th consecutive appearance in the season finale.

Third seed Monica Seles, who won the event in 1990, 1991 and 1992, opens against Sandrine Testud of France, another player who moved into the field with the quartet of late withdrawals.

Seles and Davenport, both of whom have struggled with foot injuries this year, could meet up in the semifinals.

Fourth seed Conchita Martinez, who like compatriot Sanchez-Vicario has qualified for the elite field for the 12th consecutive year, opens against Amelie Mauresmo of France.

Possibly the most compelling first-round matchup pits the enormously popular Kournikova, the seventh seed, against the resurgent Jennifer Capriati.

The 24-year-old Capriati returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time since 1992 when she was the tour’s teen sensation.

"I just played her in Zurich and I won, so that gives me a little bit of confidence going into the match," Capriati said of Kournikova via telephone following Thursday’s draw.

The other first-round matchups pit sixth seed Nathalie Tauziat of France against American Amy Frazier, who was added to the field when Venus Williams pulled out; and eighth-seeded American Chanda Rubin against Amanda Coetzer of South Africa.

(AP, Reuters)