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Sanchez Advances At du Maurier Open

August 19, 1998

MONTREAL (AP) _ Old favorite Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and the spicy teen-ager Anna Kournikova both survived tough second-round matches Wednesday at the $1.3 million du Maurier Canadian Open tennis tournament.

Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic, riding a three-tournament winning streak, downed Russia’s Elena Likhovtseva 7-5, 6-2 to run her consecutive match victory streak to 17.

Top-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland was scheduled to play Austria’s Silvia Plischke later Wednesday.

Sanchez, 26, of Spain, struggled with her serve on a windy center court in a 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Karina Habsudova of Slovakia.

Kournikova, 17, of Russia, emerged a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 winner over Romania’s Ruxandra Dragomir.

``For the first 20 or 25 minutes, I didn’t see the ball _ I just saw her winners,″ the third-seeded Sanchez said of Habsudova, who is ranked 61st in the world. ``I just tried to stay in the match, keep the ball in the court and try to move her around. Obviously, it worked.″

The three-time French Open champion caught a break when, leading 6-5 in the second set, a missed line call on set point helped her avoid a tiebreaker.

Video replays showed Habsudova’s shot landed squarely on the line, but it was ruled to be out.

Sanchez won the du Maurier in 1992 and 1994 in Montreal and reached the final the last time the women were at Jarry Stadium in 1996, losing to Monica Seles.

Autograph seekers lined up 10 deep to catch the attractive Kournikova, the 15th seed, on her way to and from the court for what turned out to be a spirited first meeting with the 38th-ranked Dragomir.

``I knew she was a good, whole-court player,″ said Kournikova, who shot frequent glances at her ``good friend″ Sergei Fedorov, the Detroit Red Wings center who watched from courtside. ``It was windy and it was difficult to adjust. I think she handled the wind well.″

Novotna, 29, who had a first-round bye, advanced to a third-round meeting with Italy’s Silvia Farina, who upset Mary Joe Fernandez of the United States 7-5, 6-3.

Sanchez Vicario next plays France’s Nathalie Tauziat, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Kimberly Po, while Kournikova advanced to a meeting with sixth-seeded Conchita Martinez of Spain.

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