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Anna Sergeyevna Kournikova

Anna Sergeyevna Kournikova

At age 15, she made her grand slam debut, when she reached the fourth round of the 1996 U.S. Open, only to be stopped by then-top ranked player, Steffi Graf, eventual champion. After this tournament, her ranking jumped from No. 144 to debut in Top 100 at No. 69. Kournikova was a member of the Russian delegation to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1996, she was named WTA Newcomer of the Year, and she was ranked No. 57 in the end of the season.
Kournikova entered the 1997 Australian Open as World No. 67, where she lost in the first round to World No. 12 Amanda Coetzer. At the Italian Open, Kournikova lost to Amanda Coetzer in the second round. However, she reached the semifinals in the doubles partnering with Elena Likhovtseva, before losing to the sixth seeds Mary Joe Fernández and Patricia Tarabini.
At the 1997 French Open, Kournikova made it to the third round before losing to World No. 1 Martina Hingis. She also reached the third round in doubles with Likhovtseva. At the 1997 Wimbledon Championships, Kournikova became only the second woman in the open era to reach the semifinals in her Wimbledon debut, the first being Chris Evert in 1972. There she lost to eventual champion Martina Hingis.
At the 1997 US Open, she lost in the second round to the eleventh seed Irina Spîrlea. Partnering with Likhovtseva, she reached the third round of the women's doubles event. Kournikova played her last WTA Tour event in 1997 at Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, losing to Amanda Coetzer in the second round of singles, and in the first round of doubles to Lindsay Davenport and Jana Novotná partnering with Likhovtseva. She broke into the top 50 on 19 May, and was ranked No. 32 in singles and No. 41 in doubles at the end of the season.

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