The American men may have bombed out at this year's French Open, but the women are doing just fine, thank you.
With Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles all advancing Sunday, more U.S. women have reached the quarterfinals than in any French Open since 1986.They were almost joined by the other Williams sister, Serena. But she folded in the second set of a contentious match against Aranxta Sanchez Vicario after coming with-in two points of victory.
"I'm only 16, my first Roland Garros," Serena said after the match. "Everything is a learning experience for me."
That may be the one thing Sanchez Vicario agreed with.
"I taught her a lesson," the fourth-seeded Spaniard said angrily after the match.
It was a lesson that featured glares across the net, an unusual dress change by the Spaniard, and a slam by Williams that nearly beheaded her opponent.
Williams accused Sanchez Vicario of changing from a black outfit to a white one midway through the second set as a strategic move. Sanchez Vicario, for her part, was upset at Williams' attitude after a controversial point in the first set.
"I just think she doesn't have respect. She cannot go in with that attitude," said Sanchez Vicario. "You know, I'm glad I beat her."
So Serena will have to watch her sister in the quarters, and it should be one of the most intriguing matches of the tournament.
Venus Williams will play top-seeded Martina Hingis, another match in a rivalry quickly becoming one of the best in women's sports.
The elder Williams advanced Sunday with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Henrieta Nagyova of Slovakia in which she slammed seven aces - two at 116 mph.
Hingis was a 6-1, 6-2 winner over Anna Smashnova of Israel in a match between former French Open junior champions.
Venus Williams, the No. 8 seed, has lost just 13 games in her four matches at the French Open. Hingis has lost 14 games.
Hingis holds a 5-2 record against Williams, but they are 2-2 this year.
Sanchez Vicario will face Patty Schnyder in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Davenport and No. 6 Seles also advanced to the quarters.
Davenport will face defending champion Iva Majoli, the 10th seed, who ousted No. 7 Conchita Martinez 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 in a match completed today.
Seles will face No. 3 Jana Novotna or No. 13 Anna Kournikova. Novotna led 7-6 (7-2) 3-6, 4-2 when play was halted Sunday night at Novotna's request. That left Kournikova in tears because she had made the same request a game earlier but was denied.
Seles, a three-time champion who never has lost before the quarterfinals in Paris, won 6-1, 6-4 over Chanda Rubin.
As the second week of the tournament gets started, the women's side appears to have a bit of everything.
There's star quality in Kournikova, power and attitude in Venus Williams, the world's No. 1 player in Hingis, and a touching story in Seles, who is playing only two weeks after losing her coach and father.