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Anna Sergeyevna Kournikova

Anna Sergeyevna Kournikova

1998–2000: Success and stardom
In 1998, Kournikova broke into the WTA's top 20 rankings for the first time, when she was ranked No. 16. At the 1998 Australian Open, Kournikova lost in the third round to World No. 1 player Martina Hingis. She also partnered with Larisa Neiland in women's doubles, and they lost to eventual champions Hingis and Mirjana Lučić in the second round. Although she lost in the second round of the Paris Open to Anke Huber in singles, Kournikova reached her second doubles WTA Tour final, partnering with Larisa Neiland. They lost to Sabine Appelmans and Miriam Oremans. Kournikova and Neiland reached their second consecutive final at the Linz Open, losing to Alexandra Fusai and Nathalie Tauziat. At the Miami Open, Kournikova reached her first WTA Tour singles final, before losing to Venus Williams in the final.
Kournikova then reached two consecutive quarterfinals, at Amelia Island and the Italian Open, losing respectively to Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis. At the German Open, she reached the semifinals in both singles and doubles, partnering with Larisa Neiland. At the 1998 French Open Kournikova had her best result at this tournament, making it to the fourth round before losing to Jana Novotná. She also reached her first Grand Slam doubles semifinals, losing with Neiland to Lindsay Davenport and Natasha Zvereva. During her quarterfinals match at the grass-court Eastbourne Open versus Steffi Graf, Kournikova injured her thumb, which would eventually force her to withdraw from the 1998 Wimbledon Championships. However, she won that match, but then withdraw from her semifinals match against Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. Kournikova returned for the Du Maurier Open and made it to the third round, before losing to Conchita Martínez. At the 1998 US Open Kournikova reached the fourth round before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. Her strong year qualified her for the year-end 1998 WTA Tour Championships, but she lost to Monica Seles in the first round. However, with Seles, she won her first WTA doubles title, in Tokyo, beating Mary Joe Fernández and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the final. At the end of the season, she was ranked No. 10 in doubles.

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