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PRODIGY EARNS PRAISE AFTER FALLING TO HEWITT

Second-seeded Lleyton Hewitt defeated French teenager Gael Monfils, 6-3, 7-6 (3), at the Paris Masters, then heaped praise on the former junior champion.

A day earlier, the 18-year-old Monfils ousted Thomas Enqvist at the $3.1 million tournament in Paris. He traded shots for most of the match with Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam winner, to the delight of a packed crowd at the Bercy indoor arena.

"He had nothing to lose and he is a great player. I knew it would be tough and he could handle the pressure," Hewitt said. "He is going to become a very big player in the future."

Monfils was playing only his fifth match on the main ATP tour, following a junior career that included three Grand Slam titles and a No. 1 ranking. He said he was surprised his match against Hewitt had not been more difficult.

"I thought the score would be bad for me," he said. "I still have a lot of work to do but, in fact, the gap between him and me is not that large."

At the Advanta Championships in Philadelphia, Venus Williams handily beat Lisa Raymond in the first round, 6-2, 6-1. In their last meeting, Raymond beat Williams in the third round in the Australian Open.

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