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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (TICKER) -- When it comes to breaking the most famous tournament jinx, Anna Kournikova is not taking anything for granted.

Kournikova removed the last remaining seed from the top half of the ASB Bank Classic on Wednesday and advanced to the quarterfinals of the $140,000 hardcourt tennis event with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 7 Amy Frazier of the United States.

The Russian star has almost become as well known for her failure to win a tournament during her six-year career as for her beautiful, blond looks and big endorsement deals.

Sidelined by a foot injury for most of 2001 and ranked No. 71, Kournikova next takes on Emmanuelle Gagliardi of Switzerland.

"Well, I'm not seeded and I'm playing well, so you can't ignore anybody's chance. If I say I'm going to win this tournament, my whole concentration would be gone," Kournikova said. "Everybody is playing well. ... I'm really happy that I won, that I was playing so good."

The 20-year-old Russian played just nine tournaments last year after suffering a left foot stress fracture in March. She underwent surgery in April, but tried to come back too soon in August. After losing her only match, Kournikova was out until the last two months of the season. She snapped a five-match losing streak at the Seat Open in late October and reached the quarterfinals.

"Of course, I have some goals right now -- staying healthy, getting into shape and (getting) to the ranking where I was before my injury and go from there," Kournikova said.

The bottom half of the draw is lighter one seed, as well, after Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus ousted No. 2 Henrietta Nagyova of Slovakia, 7-5, 6-3. In the quarterfinals, Poutchek will play Croatian qualifier Silvija Talaja, a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 winner over Slovakian Maja Matevzic.

Third seed Anne Kremer and 2000 champion Anne Kremer of Luxembourg dispatched qualifier Barbara Schwartz of Austria, 6-2, 6-3, in the second round and next faces fifth-seeded Tatiana Panova of Russia. Panova defeated American Jennifer Hopkins, 6-4, 6-2.

In addition, Gagliardi rallied past American Kristina Brandi, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3; Israel's Anna Smashnova beat Russia's Alina Jidkova, 7-5, 6-1; and Annabel Medina Garrigues of Spain topped Selmina Sfar of Tunisia, 6-3, 7-5.

[ January 02, 2002: Message edited by: Josh ]</p>
 
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