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Graf, Davenport Advance At Lipton

March 26, 1996

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) _ Lindsay Davenport, who nearly beat Steffi Graf earlier this month, will get another chance Thursday.

Davenport and Graf set up their rematch with quarterfinal-round victories in the Lipton Championships on Tuesday.

Graf, a four-time Lipton champion and the top seed, beat No. 5 Kimiko Date 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. Davenport eliminated No. 3 Anke Huber with stunning ease, 6-0, 6-1.

In the semifinals at Indian Wells, Calif., less than two weeks ago, Graf rallied to beat the 19-year-old Davenport 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.

``We played a great match,″ said Davenport, Lipton’s No. 8 seed. ``It gave me confidence that I could win.″

Date erased seven set points in the first set before Graf took charge in a match that lasted an hour and 47 minutes. That’s exactly one hour longer than Graf’s rout of Mary Joe Fernandez the previous night.

``I was more hesitant and wasn’t really stepping into it,″ Graf said. ``I was playing so defensively instead of going for it at times.″

Davenport looked sharp in beating Huber for the fourth consecutive time. A finalist at the Australian Open in January, Huber won just 12 points in the first set, and Davenport closed out the match in 48 minutes.

``She gives me the kind of ball I like to hit,″ Davenport said.

Davenport will play in her third semifinal this year. She’s seeking her first title since last May.

Advancing to the men’s quarterfinals were Americans Vince Spadea and Michael Joyce, both unseeded.

The 90th-ranked Spadea, who lives in nearby Boca Raton, surprised Richard Krajicek 7-6 (7-1), 6-2. Joyce beat No. 11 Marc Rosset 6-4, 6-1.

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