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 Wednesday, August 2
Kournikova holds on at end for upset
 Associated Press

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Anna Kournikova overcame an early deficit and then held off No. 2-ranked Lindsay Davenport 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 Wednesday night in the $535,000 Acura Classic.

Kournikova, who had lost all three meetings with Davenport this season, looked like she might score a shutout in the final set, but Davenport rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie the second-round match 4-4.

Anna Kournikova
Anna Kournikova nearly blew a big third-set lead before posting her first victory over Lindsay Davenport this season.

But Davenport could never gain the lead as each player held serve until Kournikova scored her third service break of the set at 6-5. When Davenport hit a backhand wide to end the match, Kournikova let out a yell as she pumped her fist.

"I didn't pay attention to the score," Kournikova said. "After I was up 4-0, she started playing very well. But that's what the better players do, they play better."

Kournikova, ranked 18th, has yet to win a tournament in her five seasons on the WTA Tour.

"It showed me that I can do it and that I can win with my game," Kournikova said. "It brings a lot of confidence to me."

Davenport rolled through the first set with ease, but Kournikova began hitting the ball better in the second set and started moving Davenport around the court.

Kournikova, 19, took a 4-1 lead in the set and closed it out on an error by Davenport.

"I had some chances early in the second set that I didn't take," Davenport said. "Once you let a player like that back into the match, she starts to feel more comfortable and hits better and better."

Kournikova dominated the first four games of the third set, but Davenport rebounded as she became more aggressive and began to gain momentum.

"When she got up, she started to choke a bit," Davenport said. "But I couldn't do enough to quite get on top of her."

Third-ranked Venus Williams had a much easier time than Davenport as she defeated Amanda Coetzer 6-0, 6-4.

Williams, fresh off her victory over Davenport last week at the Bank of the West Classic, extended her winning streak to 12 matches.

In another second-round match, Monica Seles, hampered by a blister on her left hand, struggled past Meilen Tu for a 7-5, 7-5 victory.

Seles had trouble finding her rhythm against the hard-hitting Tu. Seles blew four set points before winning the first set, then rebounded after losing a 5-3 lead in the final set.

"I knew that she would play well," Seles said. "She had a lot of matches, but it was tighter than I thought."

Seles' blister first appeared last week at the Bank of the West Classic. Although seemingly harmless, it prevented her from practicing the last two days.

"It bothers me on certain strokes," Seles admitted. "Once the match starts, you try to block it out and just worry about the ball."

Tu, a qualifier who won three matches to get into the main draw, gave Seles fits as she consistently hit hard winners.

"I think at the right times I did lift my game," Seles said. "It was an up and down match. Meilen played a couple of unbelievable games, but then she dropped a little and let me back in the match."

In another match, Conchita Martinez endured two rain delays totaling 35 minutes to defeat qualifier Nicole Pratt 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.


Hingis struggles, wins first match since Wimbledon

Wednesday's results