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Graf To Face Davenport at Adidas

January 14, 1999

Now that Steffi Graf has gotten past the Williams sisters, it’s time for an Australian Open tuneup against top-ranked Lindsay Davenport.

Graf, bothered by a stomach ailment, moved to a semifinal matchup in the Adidas International after Thursday’s 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Venus Williams.

``I didn’t feel nervous at all,″ Graf, who was ranked No. 1 for a record 377 weeks, said. ``I just wanted to keep putting pressure on her. I felt she was getting a little tense.″

Graf fought off Williams’ strong serves as both players played agressively, but it was Graf’s mental toughness down the stretch that allowed her to win the final four games of the match.

``It was a tight situation,″ Graf said, ``and I guess I had a better attitude towards it.″

Graf repeatedly clutched her stomach and took a pill for her distress during the second set. She withdrew from an exhibition final in Hong Kong last week because of the illness but said she was feeling good enough to play.

On Wednesday, Graf defeated Serena Williams in three sets.

Davenport advanced to the semis with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Patty Schnyder.

``I was always going for my shots and it worked today,″ Davenport said.

In the other quarterfinals, it was Austrian Barbara Schett upsetting French Open champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 1-6, 6-1, 6-0 and second-ranked Martina Hingis beating Dominique Van Roost 6-2, 6-0.

In the mens’ quarters, Todd Martin beat Australian Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4; Austrian Thomas Muster beat Australian Jason Stoltenberg 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 Alex Corretja won 6-3, 4-6, 2-0 (retired) over fellow Spaniard Albert Costa, who retired with a leg injury; and defending champion Karol Kucera beat Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

At Hobart, Australia, top-seeded Julie Halard-Decugis reached the semifinals of the Tasmanian International with a 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over Zimbabwe’s Cara Black.

Halard-Decugis will meet Chanda Rubin, who beat Sarah Pitkowski of France 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. The other semifinal will be between two unseeded players, Rita Grande of Italy and American Amy Frazier.

At Melbourne, Australian Open champion Petr Korda lodged a legal challenge to the International Tennis Federation’s planned appeal against the leniency of his penalty for testing positive to steroids.

Korda’s lawyers have begun proceedings in the High Court in England in a bid to stop the ITF appealing its independent panel’s decision not to impose a one-year ban on him in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

At Auckland, New Zealand’s Brett Steven moved into the semifinals of the Auckland Open with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Argentinian Mariano Zabaleta.

Steven will play Dutchman Sjeng Schalken, who beat Romania’s Andrei Pavel 6-3, 6-2.

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