Sister act: 1 Maleeva down, 2 left U.S. OPEN

September 07, 1993|By Don Markus

NEW YORK -- This stuff about the Maleeva sisters at the U.S. Open is getting confusing. Was it Katerina, the middle child of Bulgaria's most famous tennis family, whipping up on the baby, Magdalena? Or was it their married sister, Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere?

To sort things out, there are now just two Maleevas left in the quarterfinals of the Open: unseeded Katerina, who ran her record to 4-0 against No. 10 seed Magdalena with a 6-2, 6-3 victory yesterday. Manuela, the 11th seed, will meet Kimiko Date of Japan today.

"Obviously it was very difficult for both of us," Katerina, 34 and 8 years older than Magdalena, said after advancing to the Open quarterfinals for the first time in five years.

"I guess it is difficult for the people to understand because they think of the money involved and they just cannot understand what we mean to each other."

Said Magdalena: "We just try to be enemies on the court, but otherwise it's the same."

Asked if it is tiresome answering questions about this friendly rivalry, the Maleevas answered with a simultaneous "yes."

The joke about the Maleevas is that Martina Navratilova once said she had a nightmare that there was a fourth sister. Someone joked that her name is Helena Sukova, who beat Navratilova yesterday and will play Katerina in the quarterfinals.

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