They're ranked No. 2 and No. 4, and their rivalry may be No. 1 in women's tennis.
Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini will tangle for the 28th time, and the third time this year, in Thursday's semifinals of the International Players Championships. Both advanced with straight-set wins Tuesday."I hope to play the tennis I've played the last few days," Graf said. "If I do, I think I will enjoy it a lot."
Sabatini is 7-20 against Graf, but has won three in a row, including the final of the Virginia Slims of Florida on March 10.
"I like to play against Steffi," Sabatini said. "I always play my best tennis against her."
Graf advanced to the semifinals Tuesday by beating Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere of Switzerland for the 16th consecutive time, 6-1, 6-3. Sabatini eliminated No. 5 Zina Garrison 6-3, 6-2.
Sabatini, ranked fourth, is off to a strong start this year. Going into the semifinals, she has won 14 consecutive matches.
In men's play, Stefan Edberg and Andre Agassi stayed on course for a semifinals collision - barely. Both were extended to three sets.
The top-ranked Edberg advanced to the quarterfinals by outlasting Michael Stich of Germany 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Agassi, ranked fourth, moved into the round of 16 by outlasting Sweden's Magnus Gustafsson 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 7-5.
Patrick McEnroe, who eliminated second-ranked Boris Becker on Monday, lost to Marc Rosset of Switzerland 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.
Jim Courier, selected Tuesday to play for the U.S. Davis Cup team against Mexico later this month, reached the quarterfinals by beating fourth-seeded Guy Forget of France 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Courier, at No. 13, is now the highest-seeded player left in his half of the bracket.