Swiss top seed Martina Hingis and Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario will be looking to bring an end to US supremacy at Wimbledon this week as Uncle Sam threatens total domination in the women's singles at the All England Club.
The pair will have their work cut out with no less than eight Americans making it through to the last 16.
The stars and stripes are flying high in honor of defending champion Lindsay Davenport, who is on course to retain her title after ousting Paola Suarez of Argentina 6-4, 6-2 in round three on Saturday.
"My form has not been as great as last year and I have been fighting it for the first days but everything is starting to click now," said Davenport, who needed three sets to get past Russia's Elena Likhovtseva in her previous match.
On that occasion she was 3-0 down in the decider.
She now meets former teenage prodigy and compatriot Jennifer Capriati, who triumphed over Yayuk Basuki of Indonesia 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 - despite being annoyed that her match was interrupted by noise from the Scots Guards band playing at the Champions Parade on Center Court.
"They could choose another time to do that thing," said the angry 24-year-old who reached the fourth round here at the age of 14 and who was a semi-finalist a year later.
The star-spangled banner was also held aloft by the Williams sisters Venus and Serena as the US barrage continued.
Fifth seed Venus Williams joined her eighth-seeded sister Serena in the fourth round after a 6-0, 7-6 (7/4) win over Nathalie Dechy of France.
Venus could face top seed Hingis in the quarters if she can first oust Belgium's Sabine Appelmans.
Sixth seed Monica Seles, looking for the only Grand Slam singles crown to elude her grasp, was too strong for French redhead Sarah Pitkowski, winning 6-0, 6-3 to book her passage.
"Winning Wimbledon would be unbelievable," said a hopeful Seles. "You can't really put that into words.
"But I'm in the fourth round, and I have such a long way to go that all I'm doing right now is focusing on my next match."
Naturalized American Seles, beaten finalist here in 1992, now takes on Spain's battling Sanchez-Vicario, twice a finalist at the All England Club.
The Spaniard saw off Sandra Nacuk of Yugoslavia 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.
Sanchez-Vicario is undaunted by the task ahead.
"I look forward to playing Monica," said the confident 28-year-old, who lost finals here in 1995 and 1996.
"I have nothing to lose. I have confidence.
"But I have to start well, you know, since the beginning with her, otherwise she doesn't give you many chances.
"With Monica I will also need to be more aggressive. It could go either way."
Their long rivalry goes back 11 years, yet the pair have never met on grass.
Seles, with nine Grand Slam titles under her belt, leads Sanchez-Vicario 18-3 in career meetings.
But Sanchez-Vicario, who last beat Seles in the 1998 French Open final is ready to do battle.
"It's going to be a tough match," she said. "It's probably going to be back-court tennis. It's going to be close."
The fourth round will see a second US-Spanish match-up as Lilia Osterloh takes on Magui Serna.
Osterloh beat Austria's Patricia Wartusch 4-6, 6-2, 8-6 while Serna came past Miriam Oremans of the Netherlands 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
The Ohio-born 22-year-old, ranked 77th in the world, failed to get beyond the first round in her two previous outings at SW19 – (AFP)
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