Serena Williams just laughed Saturday night when she heard that Martina Hingis called her "quite heavy," saying she preferred instead to reply with her play the next time the two meet on the court.

Hingis, who also complimented Williams by saying she liked her new red and black tennis dress, was trying to explain why she thought Williams's older sister, Venus, was missing this tournament because of a wrist injury when she said: "It's not that easy not to be injured. You have to maintain your rhythm and once you start being a professional and playing on tour, you don't have that much time to practice and recover your body.

"So I especially guess Serena is quite heavy, although she lost a lot of weight, I think, since I saw her last time, and Venus is tall, a big girl."

Hingis and both Williams sisters had of a war of words at the 1999 U.S. Open, with the Williams family criticizing Hingis's lack of a "formal education," but on Saturday night, Serena Williams stopped herself before responding to Hingis.

"I'm not going to say anything--I will not say anything," she said, laughing. "Whew, that was close. Wow. Let's go on to the next question."


Moroccan Karim Alami was checking airline schedules even before his match against No. 4 seed Nicolas Kiefer on Saturday, so it was no surprise that he appeared rushed en route to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 loss. After all, he had more important places to be.

Alami's wife, Nathalie, gave birth Monday to the couple's first child, a son they named Rayene. Alami, 26, was thrilled. The only problem was that he was here, and his wife and son were in her native Brazil. He has been desperate to get to them ever since.

"I try to concentrate, but it's not the main, important thing," said Alami, who saved three match points before Kiefer served out the match. "Anything else is secondary. I haven't been sleeping much, and I've been calling every three or four hours. It's very difficult to play, especially if you're so far away."

Athletics run in Alami's blood; his father was a professional basketball player in Switzerland. But Alami has no intention of forcing his son to play tennis.

"Whatever he wants to do, he'll do it," he said. "If he wants to play another sport, that's his choice."

Kafelnikov Concerned

Defending champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov rolled through his third-round match with Stefan Koubek, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, but his mind already was on next month's Davis Cup matches between Russia and Belgium.

Kafelnikov will be playing with Marat Safin, the temperamental prodigy who was fined $2,000 by the Grand Slam committee this week for breaking the "best effort" rule, and Kafelnikov is worried about Safin's state of mind. The best effort rule mandates that each player compete throughout his or her match. Safin was warned by the chair umpire in his first-round, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-1 loss to Grant Stafford for not giving his best effort.