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Mauresmo looks sharp in rout

9/3/2004

NEW YORK -- Amelie Mauresmo played much more like someone
serious about winning her first Grand Slam title and reaching No.
1.

Showing little of the rust or fatigue displayed in her previous
match, the second-seeded Mauresmo easily beat No. 31 Maria
Vento-Kabchi of Venezuela 6-2, 6-0 Friday to reach the U.S. Open's
fourth round.

"It was much better than the match I had to play two days
ago," Mauresmo said. "I felt much more comfortable on the court.
My serves, my groundstrokes -- everything was coming together."

She has been at least a quarterfinalist in her past three Opens
-- and her past seven majors overall. But her only Grand Slam final
came at the 1999 Australian Open.

The Frenchwoman lost the first set against someone ranked
outside the top 100 in the second round. But she was never
challenged by Vento-Kabchi, swatting eight aces, building a 19-7
edge in winners, and making only 15 unforced errors.

In the second set, Mauresmo held a 25-9 edge in points. She's
one of three players -- along with current No. 1 Justine
Henin-Hardenne and Lindsay Davenport -- who could lead the WTA Tour
rankings after the Open.

"A couple of years ago, I said that was my goal, to achieve
that," Mauresmo said. "I just hope it's going to come. We'll see.
If it's after this one, it's great."

Serena Williams beat 30th-seeded Tatiana Golovin 7-5, 6-4.

It was not Williams' best performance. Indeed, it brought to
mind last month's loss in the Wimbledon final to Maria Sharapova,
who's 17 -- just one year older than Golovin.

"I was playing two opponents: her and myself,'' Williams said.

Williams, the 1999 and 2002 Open champion, lost four straight
games to trail 4-1 in the first set. She made a dozen unforced
errors to that point and finished with 42. But she turned things
around by winning eight of nine games.

"It was pretty tough out there," Williams said. "I kept
making errors. I couldn't get the balls in."

No. 12 Ai Sugiyama routed Jelena Kostanic of Croatia 6-1, 6-3. Kostanic upset
No. 18 Karolina Sprem in the first round.

Sugiyama reached the fourth round at the Open for the first time
last year, in her 10th appearance. Her next opponent will be
Jennifer Capriati, who defeated Vera Douchevina 6-0, 6-7 (4), 6-3.

Angela Haynes, a 19-year-old who grew up in Compton, Calif.,
lost to No. 16
Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-3, 7-6 (3). Schiavone will now play Mauresmo. The loss ended a surprising run for Haynes, who won two matches at the Open.

"I gained a lot of confidence here," she said. "(Schiavone) was a tough player, very good. But you know, I have to move on to the next tournament, keep winning and hope I'll be back next year."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.