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Upsets: Centre Court of Attention

By Jennifer Frey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 30, 1997; Page D 13

WIMBLEDON, England, June 29 — Anna Kournikova was prepared for the catcalls and marriage proposals, the whistlers and autograph hounds. The 16-year-old's mother had warned her about what it might be like when she played on Centre Court on People's Sunday at Wimbledon. Apparently, mom had prepared her even better for the woman she was about to play.

Kournikova shocked seventh-seeded Anke Huber this evening, recovering from a rocky start to win, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Kournikova's victory was the sixth upset in the women's draw on a shockingly unpredictable day.

The top half of the women's draw is wide open for No. 1-seeded Martina Hingis after all of its remaining seeded players except No. 12 Irina Spirlea were eliminated today. No. 5 Lindsay Davenport lost to Denisa Chladkova of the Czech Republic. No. 10 Conchita Martinez — the only former champion in the field — fell, 6-4, 6-2, to 32-year-old Helena Sukova. No. 14 Brenda Schultz-McCarthy lost a third-round match to Belgium's Sabine Appelmans, and No. 16 Barbara Paulus lost a second-round meeting to Japan's Naoko Kijimuta.

"Martina's job became a lot easier," second-seeded Monica Seles said even before Huber lost. "There are quite a few openings in a couple of parts of the draw. In my draw, that's not the case right now."

Sixth-seeded Amanda Coetzer was the one seeded player in Seles' half of the bracket to lose. Coetzer fell to Canada's Patricia Hy-Boulais. But No. 3 Jana Novotna, No. 8 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, No. 9 Mary Pierce and No. 11 Mary Joe Fernandez won.

Hingis Unawed by Graf
If Steffi Graf needs any more incentive to work her way back to the top of women's tennis after her recent knee surgery, perhaps she should read what Hingis had to say about her.

Hingis rose to the No. 1 ranking while Graf was nursing her sore knee earlier this year, and has not played Graf since taking the top spot. Yet when asked today if she regretted that, and if she hoped she would get a chance to prove herself against Graf, Hingis essentially dismissed the best women's player of this decade, describing Graf, 28, as being at, or near, the end of her career.

"I don't care about what's on the other side, because if she's going to come back again, for sure it's not going to be the same Steffi as before," said Hingis, 16. "You could see it already now, that she didn't play as well as before, but she's not the youngest player on the tour."

Continued Hingis, who frequently referred to Graf and her career in the past tense: "I can't really talk about it, because her career is almost over and I'm at the beginning, so I don't really care."

Heart Check for Norman
Less than 24 hours after playing a five-set match against Goran Ivanisevic, Sweden's Magnus Norman was back on the court today, with the blessings of a Wimbledon physician.

Norman had to seek medical attention in the fifth set of his upset over Ivanisevic, the No. 2 seed, when an accelerated heartbeat caused him so much concern that he stopped play. A condition he's dealt with previously in his tennis career, the irregular heartbeat had been diagnosed as not life-threatening by his doctor in Sweden, but Norman saw a local doctor for reassurance before he played his third-round match today.

"I didn't feel very good about it, but I took the decision that I'm going to play because the doctor said before that it's not dangerous for life. But, of course, you think about it," said Norman, who lost to Brett Steven, 6-7 (7-5), 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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