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U.S. Open Notebook

September 10, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Call it the Sister Slam. Mixed doubles at this year’s Grand Slam tournaments turned into a sweep for Serena and Venus Williams.

Serena and Max Mirnyi of Belarus completed set Thursday at the U.S. Open, beating 1996 champions Lisa Raymond and Patrick Galbraith 6-2, 6-2.

Williams and Mirnyi, who also won the Wimbledon final this year, split the first prize of $120,000.

``I’m taking the check and he gets the trophy,″ Serena Williams said.

Venus Williams and Justin Gimelstob won the Australian and French Opens, but lost in the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open.

Martina Hingis, meanwhile, remained on target for a Grand Slam sweep in women’s doubles.

She and Jana Novotna beat Raymond and Rennae Stubbs to advance to Sunday’s final against Natasha Zvereva and Lindsay Davenport.

Hingis and Novotna _ who will meet in the women’s semifinals Friday _ won the French Open and Wimbledon titles this year after Hingis teamed with Mirjana Lucic to win the Australian Open crown.

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OVERSHADOWED OPEN: While the U.S. Open remains in the spotlight of worldwide sports, it’s been overshadowed by other events in its home country and home town.

Most prominent has been Mark McGwire’s pursuit of the home-run record, culminating in his 62nd homer Wednesday night. That was the eighth home run the St. Louis slugger hit since the Open started Aug. 31, and explosion of baseball power helped to reduce newspaper space and broadcast airtime for tennis. Virtually every top player, baseball fan or not, has been asked about McGwire’s feats.

Closer to the National Tennis Center, sports fans have focused on the city’s two baseball teams, with the Yankees getting 100 wins and clinching the AL East, and the Mets chasing the NL wild-card spot with Shea Stadium only a couple hundred yards away.

And the NFL opened on the middle Sunday of the tournament with the two local teams involved in tight contests _ the Giants rallying to beat Washington, the Jets losing to San Francisco in overtime on a 96-yard run by Garrison Hearst.

The tennis has been high quality, with stars such as Pete Sampras, Venus Williams and Martina Hingis through to the semifinals. But fans who braved a blustery day Thursday or tuned in at home saw two decidedly non-marquee men’s quarterfinals _ Carlos Moya beating Magnus Larsson 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in the afternoon, unseeded Thomas Johansson and Mark Philippoussis meeting at night.

The glamour returns Friday with the women’s semifinals, Hingis playing Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna and Williams playing Olympic champion Lindsay Davenport.

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WHAT A DIFFERENCE 30 YEARS MAKE: Thirty years of Open play makes a big difference in the money prizes.

At the first U.S. Open in 1968, the total prize money was $100,000, with the men’s champion scheduled to receive $14,000.

Although Arthur Ashe won the first title, he was still an amateur. Tom Okker, the losing finalist, received the money.

Ashe collected $280 _ 14 days of per diems.

The women’s champion, Virginia Wade, received $6,000.

This year, the singles winners get $700,000 each out of the total prize money of $14 million. Losing quarterfinalists even get $100,000.

In 1970, Margaret Smith Court won the women’s singles and also was part of the winning doubles and mixed doubles teams. She received $9,500 in all.

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