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Teen winner laments age rule

Fifteen-year-old Anna Kournikova, who says she's rusty because of WTA limitations on her tournament schedule, nonetheless was a first-round winner Thursday at the Lipton Championships.

Kournikova beat Nana Miyagi 6-2, 6-0. The tournament is one of only 10 Kournikova can enter between her 15th and 16th birthday because of a WTA rule restricting young players.

"For me it's not that good," Kournikova. "I don't know what better teenage life you could get than traveling the world, looking around, meeting different people, doing what I love to do."

The rule doesn't affect 16-year-old Martina Hingis, because she turned pro before it took effect in January 1995.

Kournikova, who reached the fourth round of last year's U.S. Open, said her development has been slowed. She is limited to 13 tournaments in the year after her 16th birthday, June 7.

"You have to play more, you have to get experience," she said. "How are you going to learn to play if you are not playing, if you are just practicing?"

Kournikova's second-round opponent at Lipton is 12th seed Amanda Coetzer.

Patricia Hy-Bolais scored an easy first-round victory, and her reward will be a match with Hingis today.

Andrian Voinea plays top-ranked Pete Sampras in the second round. Voinea trailed Mariano Zabaleta 2-1 in a final-set tiebreaker when Zabaleta was defaulted for slamming a ball in anger that hit a linesman in the stomach. Zabaleta apologized to the linesman and umpire, and both players asked that the match continue. Tournament referee Alan Mills was summoned and supported the decision.

Zabaleta had been looking forward to playing Sampras. "The possibility of playing Sampras is a like a dream," Zabaleta said.

Jason Stoltenberg, slowed by a wrist injury, earned his first victory of the year, beating American Jim Grabb 6-3, 6-2. Andrei Medvedev beat Christian Ruud 6-4, 6-4.

No seeds were in action on the first day of the 11-day, $4.45-million event.

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