Top seeds, Kournikova win at Acura Classic

Friday, August 2nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CARLSBAD, California (AP) _ Top-seeded American Venus Williams and No. 2 countrywoman Jennifer Capriati scored one-sided victories Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Acura Classic.

Also advancing with third-round victories were Belgian No. 5 Kim Clijsters, Russia's Anna Kournikova _ seeking her first WTA tournament victory _ Ai Sugiyama of japan and Lindsay Davenport of the United States.

Williams beat No. 15 Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 6-3, 6-2, and Capriati rolled to a 6-4, 6-1 victory over U.S. No. 13 Meghann Shaughnessy.

Clijsters beat Bulgarian No. 10 Magdalena Maleeva 6-3, 6-3; Kournikova rallied for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Spain's Conchita Martinez, and Sugiyama downed Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Third-seeded Davenport defeated countrywoman No. 14 Chanda Rubin 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.

Davenport, playing in her second tournament since undergoing knee surgery last January, faced a tough challenge from Rubin for much of the match before easily winning the third set on the strength of her powerful serve and well placed ground strokes.

In Friday's quarterfinals, Williams will play Clijsters, Capriati meets Yugoslav No. 6 Jelena Dokic, Kournikova faces No. 12 Anna Smashnova of Israel and Davenport meets Sugiyama.

Williams, the two-time defending champion, said her serve was better against Kremer than in her first match at the tournament _ a 6-4, 6-1 win over Janette Husarova.

``She put a lot of balls back in play, so I had to be consistent today,'' Williams said.

Capriati struggled in the first set before breezing in the second.

``Meghann is sort of a feisty competitor,'' Capriati said. ``I played pretty well today, especially in the second set. I was focused and ready for anything today.''

Clijsters said by mixing up her game, she got Maleeva out of her rhythm.

``When she is on, she can be very dangerous,'' Clijsters said.

After being routed in the first set, Kournikova rallied to easily win the second and kept the momentum going in the third.

``After I was down 4-1 in the first set, I started to find my rhythm,'' Kournikova said. ``I was ready to go by the second set. I served really well today. I mixed it up more than usual.''

Fan-favorite Kournikova, who has played in 112 previous tournaments, didn't want to discuss the possibility of winning her first.

``I'm just starting to feel good winning matches,'' she said.