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FLYING ACE HELPS RUSEDSKI ADVANCE

Men's No. 9 seed Greg Rusedski hit an ace at 143 mph in the third set of his U.S. Open match Friday, helping to seal his 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 win over David Prinosil.

"The crowd got into it, and it gave me another chance to break the next game," Rusedski said. "It's a nice edge to have. It makes your opponent think twice sometimes if you can hit those sort of aces with a mixing up of the serve, which I've also been doing."

Being 6-foot-4 helps Rusedski hit so many booming serves, although Friday he joked that he also gets an edge from his clothing. Rusedski recently switched sponsors, and his new tennis shorts are, well, short, especially compared to the long and baggy style most players choose to wear.

"They let me have a choice of what I want to wear," he said. "These make me a little quicker around the court. . . ."

Serena Williams is giving fellow American Mary Jo Fernandez fashion advice.

Fernandez, who defeated No. 13 seed Dominique Van Roost, 7-5, 6-0, is engaged to Tony Godsick, the agent for Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles.

Williams, who would like to become a fashion designer after finishing her tennis career, wanted to know if Fernandez needed any help designing her dress.

"I'm into wedding dresses as well as a lot of other things," Williams said. "I'm trying to add color to wedding dresses still pure white, but with some trims, maybe lavender, even a black, red and burgundy trim around it."

Fernandez politely declined, saying she already has a wedding dress picked out. She and Godsick are getting married in April. "We talked about the dress at Fed Cup" in July, Fernandez said. "Actually she has some very good ideas."

Women's No. 8 seed Jana Novotna tried taping her right ankle in her third-round match against Anke Huber, but no amount of adhesive could fix the sprain that has plagued her all summer. The injury, suffered while playing a doubles match at the French Open, did her in again in a 6-3, 6-2, loss that was so disheartening the 1998 Wimbledon champion has started to think about retiring.

"Even after the very long time off I had right after Wimbledon, the ankle is not getting better and I am not feeling 100 percent," Novotna, 30, said. "For right now I don't know what my future is."

On paper, the Australian Davis Cup team looks to be loaded with talent for its semifinal tie against Russia. But with Patrick Rafter nursing a slight rotator cuff tear and Mark Philippoussis recovering from knee surgery, the top singles mantle may well fall on 18-year-old Lleyton Hewitt.

"It's unbelievable, isn't it?" asked Hewitt, who took a month off before the U.S. Open to recover from a hurting ankle. "Obviously there is a cloud over Rafter and Philippoussis, and possibly still a little bit of a cloud over myself as well with the ankle . . . The good thing is we've got a lot of depth on our team."

Wayne Arthurs, Jason Stoltenberg and Mark Woodforde are also available for singles or doubles duty. The tie will be held on grass in Brisbane on Sept. 24-26.

In other women's matches held Friday, No. 10 Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario beat Patty Schnyder, 6-2, 6-2; and No. 12 Barbara Schett downed Virginia Ruano Pascual, 6-1, 6-0.

In men's matches, No. 7 Todd Martin beat Richey Reneberg, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; No. 14 Tommy Haas beat Mariano Puerta, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-1; and Fredrik Jonsson upset No. 16 Nicolas Lapentti, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.

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