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ALL IS NOT SERENE AS WILLIAMS ERUPTS AT AUSTRALIAN OPEN

One moment, Serena Williams jogged to the net, a winner's smile on her face and the Australian Open crowd cheering. The next moment, the smile vanished, victory snatched away by an umpire's overrule on match point.

And a few minutes later, the beaten Williams furiously flung her racket across the court amid boos from the fans for her petulance and lack of sportsmanship.

It was an ugly and dramatic exit in the third round today for the 17-year-old Williams as she fell, 6-2, 2-6, 9-7, to No. 14 Sandrine Testud of France.

Williams, who lost one match point at 5-4 in the third set on what she thought was a bad call, had another when she was up, 7-6 and 30-40, on Testud's serve. Williams thought she won it right there when she drilled a backhand down the line that was signaled good by the linesman.

But as Williams was running to the net in triumph, Testud was pointing to the spot on the court and gesturing frantically to umpire Laura Ceccarelli of Italy.

"The ball was out. I could see the mark," Testud said.

Ceccarelli reversed the call, indicating it was wide, and the game went on at deuce. Clearly infuriated, Williams dropped the next two points as Testud held service.

Testud sympathized with Williams.

"She was a little upset. I would have been upset, too," she said.

Williams then virtually capitulated when she was broken at 15-40 with a double fault on break point, the second serve feebly bouncing in front of the net.

When Testud held once more to close out the match, with Williams slapping a final backhand into the net, the young American hurled her racket about 25 feet toward the net in disgust and left it there as she sulked in her chair and the crowd booed her lustily.

"I don't think the bad calls got the best of me. It was just a downfall," Williams said. "She had some pretty good shots and I didn't attack like I should have. If I lost a match over a bad call, that would be out of control."

Testud next faces four-time champion and No. 6 seed Monica Seles, who ran her unbeaten mark in the Australian to 31-0 as she beat Belgium's Sabine Appelmans, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Eschewing power for powder-puff serves, Anna Kournikova won again despite double-digit double faults.

Two days after spraying 31 double faults, Kournikova tamed her wild serve a bit and registered a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Germany's Andrea Glass.

Kournikova tapped her first serve in at an average speed of 77 mph, and her second serve at 69 mph, yet still couldn't avoid 14 double faults. She did manage, however, to drop her double faults set by set, going from 10 in the first to three in the second and just one in the third.

"My serve was much, much better," said the 17-year-old Russian, who is seeded 12th. "So I'm very happy with my performance today. I've improved with each match. I'm playing better and better."

Kournikova, who next plays No. 7 Mary Pierce, claimed she isn't worried about stronger, steadier players taking advantage of her weak serves.

"I'm going to take advantage of their weaknesses," Kournikova said.

Pierce, the 1997 Australian Open champion, had little trouble disposing of Italy's Rita Grande, 6-2, 6-2.

Two-time defending champion Martina Hingis, the No. 2 seed, romped past promising Australian 15-year-old Jelena Dokic, 6-1, 6-2.

Meanwhile, American upstart Vince Spadea barreled ahead in the shredded men's draw of the tournament.

Two-time champion Jim Courier suffered a groin injury and had to quit while trailing, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 3-0, against No. 10 Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, one of only five seeded men left.

"All of a sudden he couldn't move, not even a step," Kafelnikov said.

"It was a pull in the groin of my left leg," Courier said. "I did it early in the third set, stretching to get out to a forehand. It got worse, to the point that I couldn't continue. It's not my nature to stop."

Kafelnikov next plays in the round-of-16 against Romanian Andrei Pavel, who struggled to knock off American newcomer Paul Goldstein, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3. The 187th-ranked Goldstein, who beat eighth-seeded Greg Rusedski in the second round, came within a game of winning at 5-4 in the fourth set before the No. 53 Pavel clawed back.

Kafelnikov, the 1996 French Open champion who sank to No. 11 at the end of last year after recovering from a knee injury, sees this tournament as a huge opportunity to grab his second grand slam title.

"I was missing motivation in 1998," Kafelnikov said. "I was kind of lost in space. . . . I'm ready to win again, winning the big tournament, big matches, and under these circumstances I have to use my chance. This is the best opportunity I've ever had to win this event."

Kafelnikov went through various changes last year. His wife gave birth to a girl three months ago, he switched coaches and he took off a month without picking up his racket.

Spadea scored a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Czech Martin Damm and next meets No. 5 Andre Agassi, a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 winner over another Czech, Jiri Novak. Spadea is hardly threatened by that prospect after beating Agassi in Cincinnati last August.

"Last year I was a pit bull. I've got more controlled aggression this year," Spadea said. "Last year I had some success against top 10 guys. I'm hoping that continues. . . . This tournament is definitely an opportunity to make a stand as a top athlete."

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