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VENUS WILLIAMS advances at Wimbledon

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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport have won the last two Wimbledon championships and are heading toward a semifinal showdown this year.

Williams, the defending champ, beat Elena Likhovtseva 6-2, 6-2 in Saturday's third round, while 1999 winner Davenport eliminated Patty Schnyder 6-2, 6-3.

Both Americans have been dominant in three straight-set victories, Williams losing just 14 games and Davenport 17.

Andre Agassi, seeded second behind seven-time champion Pete Sampras, hasn't lost a set either and advanced to the fourth round with a swift 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 win over Nicholas Massu of Chile.

The players have Sunday off, the only day in the fortnight with no action before the 16 men and 16 women still in contention all play Monday.

``With the level of players that are still left in the event, I think it's safe to say that a number of guys can win it,'' Agassi said.

As can a number of women.

Still around are Williams (seeded second), Davenport (third), Jennifer Capriati (fourth) and Serena Williams (fifth). Top-seeded Martina Hingis lost in the first round.

Venus, who beat Davenport in last year's final here, served five double faults and was not at her peak but easily defeated her 29th-seeded opponent from Russia.

``I feel I can get the job done even though I'm not playing my best,'' Venus said. ``I don't feel any pressure (to repeat). I'm happy that I don't. I know a lot of players do.''

Among the women, Kim Clijsters (7), Nathalie Tauziat (9), and Jelena Dokic (14) won, while Silvia Farina Elia (16) lost. In two minor surprises, 17th-seeded Meghann Shaughnessy beat 11th-seeded Amanda Coetzer and 31st-seeded Tamarine Tanasugarn ousted sixth-seeded Amelie Mauresmo.

Among the men advancing were No. 3 Patrick Rafter, who beat No. 27 Hicham Arazi in straight sets, and No. 5 Lleyton Hewitt, who won his second consecutive tough outing for his 13th straight match victory.

Tenth-seeded Thomas Enqvist and 19th-seeded Nicholas Kiefer won, but No. 7 Yevgeny Kafelnikov lost 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (2) to Guillermo Canas, the first Argentine to reach the fourth round since Jose Luis Clerc in 1979. And No. 24 Nicolas Escude beat fellow Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean, seeded ninth.

Davenport, who at 6-foot-2 1/2 is about 8 inches taller than Schnyder, next meets Dokic in a rematch from last year's Wimbledon semifinals.

``This is the round of 16,'' Davenport said. ``You're going to get a tough match no matter who you play.''

Dokic beat Barbara Schett 6-3, 7-5, then complained that she had to call a taxi when a tournament car didn't pick her up, and she arrived just before the match.

``I was very disappointed,'' Dokic said. ``If you can't organize something like that, you can't run a tournament.''

Christopher Gorringe, chief executive of the All England Club, said he was checking into the complaint.

Davenport advanced by capitalizing on Schnyder's poor serving. She broke Schnyder in the first game of the second set when Schnyder faulted on seven of her 10 serves.

Schnyder got in only 47 percent of her first serves, compared with 62 percent for Davenport.

Schnyder, in the third round for the first time in her six Wimbledon appearances, improved in the third game of the second set with an ace and a service winner on the last two points to make it 2-1. But Davenport held her serve the entire match.

Davenport, the 1999 Wimbledon champion and winner of last year's Australian Open, missed three months this year with a knee injury.

``I'm moving fine,'' she said. ``I don't feel like the months off have hampered me too bad.''

After sitting out the French Open, she won a tuneup at Eastbourne and has rolled at Wimbledon.

But Williams, who won last year's Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles, stands in her way.

``If someone can have a year like Venus did last year, you almost have to just shrug your shoulders and say, 'That's too good,''' Davenport said.

Agassi, who won his only Wimbledon championship in 1992, has been outstanding this time around.

``To go out there and get in control of the match and stay in control of it and not make it any more complicated than it has to be speaks well to how I'm hitting the ball and how I'm playing on the bigger points,'' Agassi said.
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