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Smooth progress

Kournikova avoids fashion wars, makes smooth progress

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Posted: Wednesday January 17, 2001 7:57 AM

  Anna Kournikova Anna Kournikova: "I was still confident, I knew if I continued to play the way I did in the first set I would win." Clive Brunskill/Allsport

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -- For once Anna Kournikova has been upstaged in the fashion stakes, but the "upsets" did not follow her onto the court at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The glamour girl of women's tennis eased into the third round of the season-opening grand slam with a 6-3 6-4 win over Hungarian Rita Kuti Kis.

The eighth seed, wearing black shorts and matching gold t-shirt and shoes, came back from a break down in each set.

She collected the last five games after trailing 4-1 in the second set and now faces doubles partner Barbara Schett after the Austrian beat Maria Alejandro Vento of Venezuela.

Against Kuti Kis, a tour battler ranked 56 in the world, Kournikova was troubled by the number of mistakes that flowed from her racket early in the second set.

"I started to make too many mistakes and got frustrated a bit in the first game," she said.

"I was still confident, I knew if I continued to play the way I did in the first set I would win."

Kournikova's standing as the fashion queen of the tennis circuit is as well known as her failure to win a professional singles title.

Though her ability is unquestioned, Kournikova's poster-girl standing has swelled her bank account and earned her more headlines than her tennis triumphs.

But at this Australian Open she has had to play second fiddle to Wimbledon and U.S Open champion Venus Williams, who has created headlines with a revealing new outfit, a blue-and-black, combination bra and low-cut top.

Kournikova preferred to keep her mind on tennis and became tetchy when questioned on what she needed to do to beat the big guns consistently and break through for her first title.

"Well, I don't necessarily understand what that means," she said of the question. "I think I'm playing really well right now.

"I think I'm continuing to play well from last year, the end of last year."

Kournikova and Schett are scheduled to play a doubles match Thursday against American Dawn Beth and Tina Hergold of Slovakia before doing battle the following day.

"It's normal," said the Russian. "We're used to that."

Related information
Sampras, Davenport, Henman reach third round
Daring Venus center of attention in Melbourne
Australian Open results
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