For Williamses at French, finally a shot at final

May 23, 1998|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

PARIS -- At first, Venus Williams did not want to know the identity of her first-round opponent at the French Open after yesterday's draw.

"No, I don't want to know who I'm playing," Williams said.

Her main concern was the placement of herself and her younger sister, Serena. For once, the sisters were placed in opposite halves of the draw, a relief after playing each other early at the Australian Open and Italian Open.

The only way they could meet at the French Open is in the final.

For the record, Venus Williams, seeded eighth, will open against Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand.

One intriguing women's first-round match is No. 13 Anna Kournikova, 16, of Russia and Amelie Mauresmo, 18, of France. Kournikova, 16, beat No. 1 Martina Hingis for the first time earlier this month in Berlin; Mauresmo, the 1996 world junior champion, reached the German Open final as a qualifier before losing, 6-4, 6-4, to Conchita Martinez.

On the men's side, No. 1-ranked Pete Sampras has a potentially difficult opening match against American Todd Martin, and Andre Agassi will meet a qualifier in the first round.

Pub Date: 5/23/98

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