News from 1999

December 28, 1999:
Alexandra Stevenson Replaces Monica Seles at Hopman Cup

Alexandra Stevenson, the first woman qualifier ever to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon, will replace Monica Seles who has been forced to withdraw from the USA team in the Hyundai Hopman Cup.

USA is no longer the No 1 seeded team however, due to the lateness of the change, with players already in Perth, and in the interests of ticket holders, there will be no change to the draw or schedule.

Tournament Director, Paul McNamee, learnt over Christmas of Seles's withdrawal. "I was advised by IMG, Monica's management, that she had not recovered from a fracture in her foot sustained some months ago. It's disappointing when these things happen, especially so close to the tournament. However I have to say that Stevenson is an exciting replacement and a real talent with a big future and it is a great chance to see another young star in Perth".

It is now very unlikely that Monica will accept the wildcard inivation for Sydney. She is still keeping hope for the Australian Open.

November 12, 1999:
Seles withdraws from Chase Championships with foot injury

STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT -- A nagging foot injury has forced former world No. 1 Monica Seles to pull out of next week's season-ending Chase Championships, the WTA Tour announced today.

Seles has been sidelined since late September with a stress fracture in her right foot. She was scheduled to compete at this week's Advanta Championships in Philadelphia, but pulled out, fueling speculation she would not compete next week in New York.

Seles, 25, also missed a good part of the summer hardcourt season with a left forearm injury. Her only tournament win of the year came at Amelia Island, Florida in April. She reached the Australian Open and French Open semifinals and lost to eventual champion Serena Williams in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Seles has 44 career titles, including nine Grand Slam championships. She won the season-ending tournament three straight years beginning in 1990 and lost to Steffi Graf in last year's quarterfinals.

September 26,1999:
Davenport beats Seles to take Princess Cup title

Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport captured the Princess Cup tournament championship with a straight-set victory over second-seeded Monica Seles on Sunday. Davenport earned her fifth title of 1999 with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-1) victory, ending Seles' run of three straight titles at the event.

Davenport, who won at Wimbledon in July, broke Seles' serve in the 11th game of the first set, then held serve to win it. The two traded breaks of serve in the second set and Davenport raced out to a 4-0 lead in the tie-breaker.

Davenport earned her 24th career title. She also beat Seles for the fourth straight time.

Seles, who has won just once in 1999, was gunning for her sixth win in this event.

September 19,1999:
U.S. wins Fedcup!

The United States won its first Fed Cup title since 1996 on Sunday, beating Russia 4-1 after Lindsay Davenport clinched victory by defeating Russian Elena Likhovtseva 6-4, 6-4.

Davenport's reverse singles win gave the United States an unbeatable 3-0 lead and its record 16th Fed Cup overall.

"To win for your country and to have a really great team to play just means a lot," said Davenport of the U.S.

"Dream Team" captained by Billie Jean King. "It's a shame that it doesn't get as much coverage as other sports, but it's still a great honor to have this title for ourselves and for Billie."

The U.S. team of No. 2-ranked Davenport, the 3-4 combination of sisters Venus and Serena Williams, and No. 5 Monica Seles was just too much for the Russians, especially without star Anna Kournikova.

Russia's troika of Elenas -- Likhovtseva, Elena Dementieva and Elena Makarova -- didn't present much of an obstacle for the Americans, who comprise four out of the top five women in the world. Russia, a three-time finalist seeking its first Fed Cup title in 22 years of competition, had advanced to the final via a pair of 3-2 wins over France in the quarterfinals and the Slovak Republic in the semifinals.

The U.S. lineup was so tough, in fact, that Seles's services were not needed and the nine-time Grand Slam champion was relegated to cheerleading duties.

Likhovtseva even wondered aloud about how the Russians might be able to acquire some of the American-bred talent. "They are very good," she said. "They can beat anyone, any team 5-zip. We can't borrow players from them, right?"

The United States eased some painful memories of the team's 3-2 semifinal loss in Spain one year ago.

"Well, it's never erased, but it certainly softens the blow," said King. "It's good to remember that one because it keeps us hungry and striving forward. It's great that we brought the Fed Cup back to the Untied States of America, where it belongs."

Davenport and Likhovtseva, two tall, powerful baseliners, exchanged breaks in the first set until Davenport was able to establish some rhythm and take a 3-1 lead.

The 24-year-old Likhovtseva managed to pull within 5-3 in the first by moving the defending Wimbledon champ around the court, but the native of southern California proved to be too strong.

Davenport broke Likhovtseva at 4-3 in the second set and never looked back. Likhovtseva's game plan was to keep Davenport on her toes, but she admitted that moving her 6-foot-2 opponent was trickier than she had anticipated.

"It's very hard to get her moving, because she's playing very deep, so it's hard to bring it (the ball) back and put it wherever you want," she said. Following the decisive match, Davenport and her teammates took a victory lap around the court carrying a U.S. flag while speakers blared the tune "God Bless the U.S.A."

Playing in only her second Fed Cup tie, Venus Williams appeared to be in control early against Dementieva in Sunday's dead rubber singles match. But Williams, who has been experimenting with more of a serve-and-volley approach and admits she has struggled with her serve, landed just 55 percent of her first serves and committed 40 errors in a one-hour 46-minute, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) loss to the 68th-ranked Dementieva.

Williams squandered a match point and her ponytailed 17-year-old opponent, making her Fed Cup singles debut, capitalized in the third-set tiebreak.

"It wasn't like I was going to aim to lose the match," Williams said. "I definitely felt good with my volleys today. I missed a couple, but that's what it takes to learn. I'll get there. If I don't keep coming in, I won't get there."

In her first appearance since sweeping the U.S. Open singles and doubles titles one week earlier, 17-year-old Serena Williams joined her sister for a 6-2, 6-1 dismissal of Makarova/Dementieva in doubles.

"I just hope that we'll basically have a dynasty from this group and some of the other players," said King. "As long as everybody stays healthy, I think we can have a dynasty."

The United States had jumped out to a 2-0 advantage on Saturday as Venus Williams defeated Likhovtseva 6-3, 6-4 and Davenport defeated Dementieva 6-4, 6-0.

September 8,1999:
Serena ousts Monica
Youth prevailed over experience in the tournament's first non-stop grunt-fest tonight, with 17-year-old Serena Williams sweeping aside 24-year-old Monica Seles to advance to her first ever Grand Slam semi final.

On a night when the squealing on Arthur Ashe Stadium soared to deafening new levels, Serena kept her father Richard's prediction of a Williams-Williams singles final alive, dismissing the two-time US Open champion in three sets 4/6, 6/3, 6/2.

Competing here for only the second time, the sixth-seeded Williams made up for her comparative lack of Grand Slam experience (this was Seles' ninth appearance), with an impressive mix of stamina and aggressive power.

Watched by a capacity crowd that included crooner Harry Connick Jr, the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards (donning his very own beaded hairdo), New York Jets football star Keyshawn Johnson and six-time US Open singles winner Chris Evert, Williams pounded down 49 winners and 15 aces enroute to the stunning victory.

"I've been waiting a long time for this. I've played for two years on the tour, and done nothing in the Slams until now," said Williams, who has now played three consecutive three setters - against Kim Clijsters in the third round (where she recovered from a 3/5 deficit in the final set) and Conchita Martinez in the fourth round. Until tonight, the furthest she had progressed in a Grand Slam was the fourth round at Roland Garros last year.

In typical fashion, Williams took a while to begin firing on all cylinders this evening - allowing Seles took break the her sometimes erratic serve in the third and seventh games, and close out the first set in 36 minutes.

Williams harnessed the power that had been her downfall early on, racing away to 4/0 lead in the second set, before Seles staged a mini comeback, breaking twice to scrape back to 3/4. Williams conceded just two games to the nine-time Grand Slam singles champion, who in the end ran out of steam.

"I was a little nervous to start out. Being my first Grand Slam quarterfinal, I put too much pressure on myself. But in the second set I completely calmed down, and I hit 15! This was a great crowd. I had a lot of support. I though that most of the crowd would be for her but it was pretty even," said Williams, who was just seven years old when the then 15-year-old Seles competed in her first US Open in 1989.

"It was always a goal, but now it's really coming true I've been working hard for so long, practicing for years, since I was four years old, and I'm very excited that my work is finally paying off," said Williams with all the maturity of a player twice her age.

"I'm wiser and overall a better player today I have the attitude that I'm not going to lose. I was convinced that I was going to do well here, I was very mentally prepared."

"There are no excuses, she was just a better player today," was Seles simple analysis. "She's definitely playing some great tennis, and she's had a fantastic Summer. She's physically a lot stronger than I am, she gets more balls back and her reach is much better. There are some players who when you play them, you can sense that one day they'll be great players," said Seles, the winner here in 1991 and 1992 and a finalist in 1995 and 1996. A semi finalist at this year's Australian and French Open's, Seles says she still doesn't think about whether her career is at the crossroads: "Being number four in the world, I'm pretty happy, and the world is pretty big, so I don't think about it at all!" said Seles.

Said Williams about her impending semi final against defending champion Lindsay Davenport: "I personally believe I have one of the best forehands, right up there with Steffi (Graf). Even on a bad day, I'm tough to beat. Lindsay hits the ball really hard and so do I, so it will be great. It's exciting for women's tennis. Once again, we're carrying the men's tennis," joked a cheeky Williams.

"My dad has been right about a lot of things, you have to admit it."
September 6,1999:
Seles defeats Capriati
Peaking at just the right time, Monica Seles bore down, blew the cover off the ball and sent Jennifer Capriati reeling out of the US Open with a 6-4, 6-3 fourth-round victory on Monday and moved into the quarterfinals..

Two hours after the match, Capriati left the interview room in tears. After reading a deeply reflective prepared statement in which she attempted to sort out her controversial past , Capriati asked the media never to ask her about her past again. However, after being asked a series of questions relating to why she felt the need to write the statement, Capriati broke down.

Unlike in '91 when she and Capriati were giggling girls engaged in classic three set barnburner in the semis, Seles said that now the two of them are mature women who have been through the ringer.

"After we played that great match,, if someone would have come up to me and said [we would play again here], I'd have said, 'Oh yeah, right,' Seles said. "If some one would have said that in April [of '93] that I'm going to be stabbed at a tournament, not to have a chance to win a lot of Grand Slams, I would have said, 'No way.' That's what happened. Jennifer had a layoff for different reasons. Things happen in your life....we're here trying to change the future."

In playing her best match of the event, Seles outgunned Capriati from both wings, planting herself well inside the baseline, anticipating most of her opponent's baseline blasts and creaming every short ball.

"I came out a little slow, " Capriati said. "I was really ready and eager to come out on court but I couldn't get my rhythm. I felt behind the whole match. But it was still a good match and I was in there with her. I'll go for it the next time."

Seles added, "I played well in key points. Obviously I let Jennifer back in a little bit in both sets. Thank goodness I woke up in time and started playing better tennis."

The 25-year-old Seles was particularly lethal from her forehand side, ripping 11 winners and taking over numerous crosscourt rallies. Capriati did dig herself into the contest, competing ferociously and laying waste to the Yugoslav-American's second serve. But as she has numerous times throughout her storied career, Seles bit her lip, turned on the volume on her grunt-o-meter, and punched thorough Capriati at key moments.

"I was pretty frustrated because I had my chances and didn't do anything with them" Capriati said. "I kept letting her back in top."

Seles, who hasn't win a Slam title since she grabbed the '96 Australian Open, isn't sure whether her slightly out-of-shape frame can take her to the singles crown -- an achievement that has eluded her the past seven years.

"It's hard. I mean, I believe that [I can win the title]," said Seles, who won U.S. Open titles in 1991 and '92. "I wouldn't be playing if I didn't. It's hard because physically you have to come back for three very difficult matches...I really feel game-wise I'm there."
September 4,1999:
Seles to meet Capriati
Two-time US Open winner Monica Seles will lock horns with Jennifer Capriati in a showdown that promises to rock Arthur Ashe Stadium to its foundations Monday, following a breezy third round victory Saturday night over Ai Sugiyami.

"I was lucky that I broke her straight back tonight and I'm happy that I won in two," said Seles, the tournament's fourth seed, who utilized her unique-brand of baseline firepower to easily dispose of Sugiyami to the tune of 6-2, 6-3. The Yugoslavian-born Floridian has yet to lose to a set to Sugiyama in five meetings.

Seles' 61-minute trouncing of her Japanese opponent in the first match of the evening session set up a ninth career meeting with Capriati, and the first in over three years.

Seles and Capriati, two of the Open's most popular players, are also the sentimental favorites, and the very thought of a Seles-Capriati showdown has fans licking their lips in anticipation at the feast of slugfest-style tennis that might very well transcend Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

And if their last gripping encounter here eight years ago was anything to go by, spectators would be well advised to fasten their seatbelts and enjoy the Stadium ride.

The then 17-year-old Seles won that match, the 1991 semifinal -- hailed as one of the best women's singles matches of all time -- in a gut-wrenching third set tiebreak. Never before had tennis fans seen two women hit the ball as hard. Seles went on to win her first US title, defeating 34-year-old Martina Navratilova in the final.

Even defending women's champion Lindsay Davenport, still in tennis booties at the time, remembers the semifinal spectacle.

"I was there playing in the juniors. I remember watching it from my hotel in the city. It was great. I've seen replays of it, they show it on the Classic Sports Network. Everyone's hoping to see that again," said Davenport.

Says Capriati: "It stuck with me for a while, that match. That was one of my best."

"It will be fantastic that we get a chance to play after so many years. It's great to see her come back, not just in tennis but in life. When I finish my career, it's probably a match that I'll watch again on video," said Seles.

Seles' and Capriati's careers have since traveled uncanningly similar paths.

Seles had won eight Grand Slams by the age of 19, before a deranged fan stabbed her in the back during a tournament in Hamburg, short-circuiting what pundits can only assume would have been an unprecedented string of Grand Slam titles.

She recovered from the two-year emotional rollercoaster ride to return to the game in 1995, reaching the final of the US Open, her first Grand Slam since the incident. Seles was to win one more Grand Slam, the Australian Open in 1996, and reach three more finals (including here in 95 and 96), but has since failed in her attempts to scale the dizzy heights of years past.

Capriati's pro tennis career, which began at the tender age of 13, and saw her ranking rise to inside the top 10 by the age of 14, has also been sadly smudged by a series of failed comebacks, and a stream of well-documented parent problems and brushes with the law.

Now all grown up, giggle-free, reflective, and even mellow, Seles and Capriati, at the ripe old ages of 25 and 23 respectively, will cross paths again. Seles leads the battle 5-3. It will be Seles' ninth US Open appearance and Capriati's eighth.

Thankfully, it won't be their last.
September 2,1999:
Seles Into 3rd Round

Gaining a good measure of revenge for her loss to Italy's Silvia Farina in Fed Cup six weeks ago, No. 4 Monica Seles blew past her foe 6-2, 6-3 to gain the third round of the U.S. Open on Thursday.

Ripping winners off both wings on her beloved cement, Seles completely controlled the center of the court, not allowing Farina to grind into the match with her usual bag of spins, loopers and sharply angled blasts.

"I didn't want to have a repeat of the Fed Cup match. I'm just happy I toughed it out," Seles said.

Seles ripped 21 winners in the match compared to only 10 from Farina and committed only 15 unforced errors. A two-time U.S. Open titlist, Seles is hoping to regain the form that brought her to the final here in 1995 and '96. At one time considered to be one of the tour's most dominant players, Seles' last Slam title came three-and-a-half years ago, at the '96 Australian Open.

The Yugoslav-American has been nursing a series of injuries this summer, including a stress fracture in her right foot and tendinitis in her wrist. Seles is the only player over 25 years or older who is considered to have a serious shot at the title.

"I feel fine," Seles said. "I have no injuries right now."

August 31,1999:
Seles Slams Rittner

Monica Seles barely raised a sweat on her way to a solid first round drubbing of Germany's Barbara Rittner 6/1, 6/1 at the USTA National Tennis Center Tuesday. Seles did nothing short of annihilate the 26year-old German in a swift 51 minutes, grunting her way through to the second round in a match that would sadly fail to rate a mention in the 'spectator friendly' stakes.

The two-time US Open champion was never extended in the primarily baseline dual, pounding down 25 winners during the encounter and exposing Rittner's lack of speed and meek groundstrokes. Rittner, a women's tour stalwart, who has hovered in the top 100 for the last eight years, was overwhelmed by the 9-time Grand Slam champion, appearing sluggish and disheartened by the 'fast-motion-like' Seles onslaught. Unable to press the 'pause' button, the German's first serve fell to pieces and she hit 20 unforced errors in what became a very lackluster performance.

"Today was kind of nice out there. It wasn't very hard-hitting, the court was playing so fast, and it just seems very different from previous years," said the former No. 1, who comes into this year's Open slightly short on match practice.

The 25-year-old American has entered only five events since the French Open in early June, where she bowed out in the semi final to eventual champion Steffi Graf. She played just two lead-up events before the US Open - New Haven (last week where she lost to Venus Williams) and the Canadian Open, where she was a finalist, relinquishing her 4-year stranglehold on the singles trophy to Martina Hingis.

"I'm really happy with my preparation for the Open. I've lost to two players who are probably the best on the circuit."

Seles' magnificent career has spanned 44 singles titles, albeit only one of those coming this year. American tennis fans' love affair with the personable left-hander began 10 years ago, when the then 15-year-old reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

Since then, Seles has appeared nine times here, reaching four finals and proving a popular winner in 1991 and 1992.

"This year I didn't prepare especially for the Open. I'm just thankful to have been able to get in a few good matches. Right now I'm loving my tennis, the practising and everything else that comes with it," said the fourth seed.

Seles meets either qualifier Maria Alejandra Vento or Italian Silvia Farina in the next round and is on track for a semi final showdown with No7 seed Venus Williams.

August 22,1999:
Hingis defeats Seles

There was one winner on Sunday, but two champions remained. Monica Seles took Canadian tennis fans on a remarkable five-year ride, but it was inevitable that someday she would surrender the title. Change was in the air early in Sunday's final between the top two seeds. In her media conferences all week, Monica insisted that she felt no pressure to capture a fifth straight title. Her play has certainly been relaxed all week, but has lacked the precision execution that landed her four du Maurier Open trophies and 9 Grand Slam Titles. Hingis, on the other hand, has been on top of her game all week and did not drop a set.

Hingis won the coin-toss and elected to receive. Seles tried to set the pace early in the match and missed while going for a couple of big winners.

Hingis caught a fortunate net chord, and was suddenly up a break after the first game. Her strategy of receiving early was validated. Seles appeared to be back on track midway through the first set. She hammered a couple of her trademark two-handed backhands for winners to break the Swiss No. 1, only to have Hingis break right back to go back on top 4-3. The pair traded service holds before Hingis served out the 27-minute set at love.

The pair both easily held serve throughout a hard-hitting and entertaining second set, until Hingis missed a simple put-away volley that afforded Seles a break point. The top seed was able to recover with a pair of big serves to hang onto the service hold, and pull even at 4-4.Hingis served out her next game at love and then broke the defending champion and served out the match.

Fans were treated to top-notch tennis as Hingis had 22 winners to just nine unforced errors, while Seles had an impressive 26 winners to go with 16 unforced errors.

On her opponent, Hingis commented, "I think she played one hell of a match. I was able to attck second serves all week, but there was no way I could attack Monica's second (serve) it was just too good." Seles was content with her effort and clearly aware that she had been beaten by the best. "Martina just played unbelievably," she told the media after the match.

August 21,1999:
Monica in final again!

With a 6-3, 6-4 victory over France's Anne-Gaelle Sidot on Saturday night, Monica Seles put her self in position to shoot for a fifth straight du Maurier Open title. Monica can not seem to lose north of the 49th parallel, as she ran her win streak to 24 matches without a loss in Canada. The left-handed Sidot, ranked No. 49 in the world, plays a similar game to Seles.

The pair traded fierce baseline groundstrokes, but Seles was able to get the twenty-year-old off her game enough to capture a break in each set. Each player was forced to play a tough three-set match earlier on in the day, and perhaps Seles' experience was the difference. Seles will meet Martina Hingis in Sunday's final at 2 p.m. ET.

August 21,1999:
Monica defeats Schett

In a match that lasted one hour and thirty-eight minutes, was spread over two days and played on two different courts. Monica Seles remained on track for her fifth consecutive du Maurier Open title. After rain interrupted play on Friday night with the score deadlocked at 1-1 in the first set, the pair resumed play on Saturday morning on Centre Court.

The two split the first two sets, before Monica turned up the heat on her ground strokes in the third. The defending champion cut back on her unforced errors in the final set, committing just four to the Austrian's eleven. The sentimental crowd favourite, Seles has now won 23 straight matches in Canada.

August 19,1999:
Monica, Arantxa, Martina and Mary Make Quarters

Four of the biggest names in women's tennis reached the quarter-finals Thursday afternoon. Four-time defending champion Monica Seles survived a slight scare to defeat Elena Likhovtseva 7-6 (7), 6-3. Top seed Martina Hingis followed Seles onto Centre Court and later into the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over American Chanda Rubin. Sanchez-Vicario posted a straight-sets win over fellow Spaniard Conchita Martinez to reach the du Maurier Open quarters for the seventh time in nine appearances. Mary Pierce finished the afternoon session on Centre Court with a 6-2, 7-5 sweep of Anke Huber.

August 16,1999:
Seles Prepares Her Defense

Four-Time champion Monica Seles hit the practice courts on Sunday. The 25 - year-old American captured a title earlier this year in Amelia Island to bring her career total to 44 WTA Tour Titles.

Seles will appear at Monday's Opening Ceremonies which features the Parade of Players and a performance by the Circue de Soleil. The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.

July 24,1999:
Fed Cup: Seles loses to Farina

ANCONA, Italy -- Venus Williams made a winning debut in Fed Cup. Monica Seles faltered.

As a result, the heavily favored United States team tied with Italy going into Sunday's reverse singles and doubles play.

Venus Williams pounded out a 6-2, 6-3 victory Rita Grande in just over an hour Saturday.

But Seles fell to Silvia Farina, Italy's top player, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

Blisters on her left -- serving -- hand raised questions about whether Seles will play the reverse singles.

"I've never had six blisters on my hand before," said Seles. "I have to see if it's hurting when I hit."

Coach Billie Jean King will hold a team meeting before the decision is made Sunday, but Seles could be replaced by Serena Williams or Mary Jo Fernandez.

The Americans have won the Fed Cup, the women's version of the Davis Cup, 15 times, hold a 7-0 record against Italy and were viewed as such dominating players that the Italian media dubbed them the Dream Team.

"We have nothing to lose," Farina said after turning in the upset. She raced out to a 4-0 lead against Seles and kept the American, ranked No. 5 in the world, off balance with drop shots and backhands hit deep to the line all afternoon.

Even when Seles won the second set it was a struggle. She squandered three set points on her serve.

Venus Williams had an easy time winning her Fed Cup debut.(AP) "Farina played better, she deserved to win," said Seles.

Venus Williams, who joined the team for the first time, controlled her match from the start.

"It was my first Fed Cup match, I was pretty excited," she said.

The No. 4-ranked player said neither the slow red clay courts nor the mainly defensive play of her opponent bothered her.

"I play on anything, I was happy out there," Williams said.

IN THE FIRST SET, she took a 5-1 lead, winning three of the games at love.

When Grande's game picked up slightly in the second set, helped by some errors at net by Williams, the crowd began to get behind her. But the Italian, ranked No. 60, then faded.

King said several other players have had problems with blisters during the week, possibly due to the red clay.

Serena Williams has already been picked to play doubles with her sister.

July 16,1999:
Seles dazzles KC crowd in debut with Explorers

Monica Seles put on a show Friday in Hale Arena in her Kansas City Explorers debut. Resplendent with her brown hair pulled back into a small ponytail and sporting an oversized Kansas City Explorers T-shirt, Monica Seles easily commanded the attention of nearly everyone before the start of the Explorers' match against the Idaho Sneakers on Friday night at Hale Arena.

And when the event began, nothing changed. The crowd of 3,375 roared when Seles defeated Idaho's Mirjana Lucic in singles. They loved watching Seles team with Mariaan de Swardt for a win in women's doubles. And they were thrilled when Seles came in as a substitute in the deciding game of mixed doubles.

It didn't seem to matter that the Explorers snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating Idaho 22-16. All anyone cared about was Seles' every serve, every winner and every grunt. For 2 hours, 20 minutes, it was all Monica.

"The fans were just great....They were so nice," Seles said. "They were really supporting me actively, and it's nice to see that."

Friday night was the only time Seles, the fifth-ranked player in the world and winner of nine Grand Slam singles titles, will play at home for the Explorers this season. Tonight Seles and the Explorers travel to St. Louis -- Seles' last match with the team this year.

Seles' journey to Kansas City took longer than anticipated. She was supposed to arrive in the area about 12:30 p.m. Friday. However, her connecting flight from St. Louis was delayed, forcing Seles to miss a scheduled afternoon news conference. After Explorers coach Paul Smith picked her up at the airport at 4:15 p.m., Seles had little time to warm up for her first match since Wimbledon, when she fell to Lucic in straight sets in the third round.

But the effects never showed. In her first match, Seles and de Swardt dispatched Lucic and Katie Schlukebir 5-0. Seles also handled Lucic in singles, 5-3.

"It was nice to play her again -- especially after Wimbledon," Seles said. "It was a very tough loss there, and it was good to play well today against her."

Although Seles is playing just two matches for the Explorers, her teammates think her brief appearance will only generate more enthusiasm for World TeamTennis.

"It's great that she creates all the attention," de Swardt said. "Hopefully this will attract even more....If they come the first time to see her, then hopefully they'll come again."

The Explorers added Oliver Freelove, a former standout at Illinois, to their roster on Friday. Freelove replaces John-Laffnie de Jager, who is out because of back spasms....Liezel Horn, normally de Swardt's partner in women's doubles and a participant in mixed doubles, had the night off to make room for Seles.

June 25,1999:
Seles Ousted by Lucic

This match was always going to have great pedigree. Mirjana Lucic was once regarded as part of 'the spice girls of tennis' - a group that was going to dominate the ladies circuit for at least the next decade - but even at the tender age of 17 she had apparently missed the boat. The raw ability that gave her a title at the age of 15 years 1 month and 25 days did not materialize into the likes of Hingis, the Williams sisters, or Kournikova. Instead, she became better known for being a victim of another 'tennis dad', and so today she had much to prove to both herself and the public. The story of Seles is as well known as any in tennis, and while she was world No 1 for an amazing 178 weeks, Wimbledon is the one Grand Slam she has yet to win. Moreover, the political overtones of Seles being originally from Serbia and Lucic's Croatian nationality, made this battle even more intriguing.

Consequently, the tension was high amid the atmosphere of Centre Court, as a noisy crowd (having just seen the local hero Henman win a difficult match) witnessed some fantastic tennis, probably surpassing any of the other Ladies Singles matches this week. Some of the groundstrokes were of the highest calibre, both girls finding angles that looked near impossible to achieve. In fact, Lucic's double-handed backhand in the second set was reminiscent of Seles at her best.

However, surprisingly there was no break of serve until the 20th game of the match. Seles, the No 4 seed this year, was serving especially well, as she dropped only one point on her service in the first set. Ultimately, this encounter was so tight that both sets went down to a tie-break, and it was Lucic who showed the greater nerve, winning 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4). To gain her second match point, Lucic had the audacity to play a delicate drop shot from the baseline, after a typically ferocious back court rally. It paid off and the Croat, who like Seles, has also moved to the United States with her family (except father, who she has not seen in about a year), was justified in her new found confidence.

"I was feeling that I played really well," said Lucic. "Not for one second did I think I was not going to win that match. I came in confident and just wanted to play my game, and not worry about her (Seles). I did that today, so I'm very happy."

On being asked whether this was the best win of her career, Lucic responded, "Yes definitely, and especially because the past year was so difficult for me. I had a lot of personal problems and then I was injured for a very long time. After the US Open, I didn't see a tennis ball or racquet for three months. Then injury after injury, and it became hard to come back on a tennis court and play well. So I came here and decided to change a lot of things, and I have to say that I'm a lucky girl because of the amazing support from my family."

One has to feel sorry for Seles, who did not do much wrong in the first set. It was only on the crucial points that she fell short. Seles, the winner of nine Grand Slams, said afterwards, "Throughout the match I never felt that I had really gotten into it."

Lucic will now play Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand for a place in the Quarter-Finals.

June 21,1999:
Seles Advances at Wimbledon

Looking for a first Wimbledon title, former world No. 1 Monica Seles of the U.S. moved into the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Cristina Torrens Valero of Spain. Seles has reached the final at Wimbledon once, losing to Graf in 1992, and has her least impressive singles record of 20-6 at this Grand Slam.

June 3,1999:
Graf wins over Seles

In an extremely emotional victory in another vintage match between two legends, Steffi Graf took her game high above the Eiffel Tower and soared past Monica Seles 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 to move into the final of Roland Garros.

The nail biting contest in gusty winds was a test of two of the game's strongest wills, with the 21-time Grand Slam champion ripping two lethal forehand winners to give herself two match points. Graf converted on the first one with a big service winner down the tee. The often-injured 29-year-old let out a yell that shook Stade Roland Garros and she left the court shedding tears of joy.

"It was a very tough, close match," Graf said. "I was able to take the risks when I needed to, especially at the end of the third set. I was very happy the way I closed out the match. It was a great atmosphere out there again. It was amazing to be out there.....It was extreme joy."

Seles added, "I had my chances. It obviously comes down to one or two points. Those times Steffi played better and I played way too defensively. That's why she came out the winner."

As has been the case in most of their previous 14 matches, the outcome was determined by which woman served better and who would win the majority of rallies between Graf's wicked slice backhand and Seles' rolling topspin forehand. Graf prevailed, but barely, as Seles often dug her left heel in the dirt and whacked Graf's slice down the line. But in many of the rallies, Seles failed to pick up Graf's slice and dumped it into the net, or Graf was able to position Seles far enough into the corner so she could run around her backhand and paste a forehand winner.

"My forehand wasn't working today, not just my attacking one, but my defensive one was nowhere," said Seles, who still managed to hit 11 winners off her forehand side. "Because of the wind, my footwork wasn't so good. That didn't help my forehand."

Graf said her backhand slice grew more effective as the match wore on. "In the beginning, I was trying to vary it too much," Graf said. "I was trying to play down the line, down the middle. Toward the end, I wanted to go for it a little more. I realized that I needed to put a lot more depth on my slice and be aggressive with it. It worked, especially in the third set, very well....It's very flat, it doesn't stay up, there's almost no chance for her to play down the line with a two-handed shot. She can only play my backhand. So she doesn't have a lot of possibilities."

The nearly two-hour match saw Seles race out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first set, when Graf double-faulted on break point. The German would break back to 3-3 when Seles erred on her favorite shot, her backhand-down-the-line. The two served brilliantly into the tiebreaker, where Graf immediately got herself into a 1-4 hole behind three unforced errors. Seles was brilliant in closing out the breaker, crushing a forehand down-the-line winner, rolling a one-handed forehand crosscourt in front of the service line that Graf couldn't touch, and smoking a service winner. Graf appeared to be in trouble to open the second set, when the

Yugoslavian-American held a break point, but Graf crunched a forehand down the line winner and held with an inside-out forehand. Graf broke Seles to go up 3-1 and fought off two break points to go ahead 5-2. Running with an abandon that the tennis world hasn't seen in three years, Graf raced through the set's final game, closing it out with a service winner.

Graf, a five-time Roland Garros champion, kept the pressure on at the beginning of the third set, when Seles lost control of her forehand and was broken to 0-1. But in perhaps the match's most memorable game, Seles broke back to 2-2. After Graf held Seles off on two break points with a gorgeous drop shot and a service winner, Seles gained her third break point after a 21-ball, end-to-end rally that saw Graf blow an easy forehand pass. Graf then committed a backhand unforced error to hand Seles the game.

The match turned with the three-time Roland Garros champ Seles serving at 4-4, when she appeared exhausted shoveling out Graf's slice, that was barely skidding off the clay. On her first break point, Graf belted a forehand crosscourt winner to gain a 5-4 edge. She then held to win the match. Graf, who will face Martina Hingis in the final, finished the match with 23 forehand winners, 11 service winners and three aces.

"I never felt comfortable in the wind," Seles said. "I had a hard time getting my racket head speed. Even when I was playing well, I don't think I played my groundstrokes as well as I should have."

Graf, who hasn't won a Grand Slam title since the '96 U.S. Open, didn't expect to be in the final. In fact, she said that she was only using Roland Garros as a warm-up to Wimbledon, a tournament she has won seven times and an event she still feels she owns. But on Thursday, when asked what her best chance to win a Grand Slam was, she answered, "Paris."

June 1,1999:
Seles Stomps Martinez; To Meet Graf

Women's tennis's best long-term rivalry will add another chapter on Thursday when legends Monica Seles and Steffi Graf hook it up in the semifinals of Roland Garros. The meeting was secured when Seles pounded Conchita Martinez 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals late Tuesday.

As she had done in the 15 prior times she had whacked Martinez, Seles dictated play most of the match. Playing on a slow Suzanne Lenglen court, Martinez was unable to run No. 3 Seles ragged, as the Yugoslav-American ran well and had little trouble with Martinez's variety of spins. Frustrated with Seles' steady play, Martinez committed 35 unforced errors to only 21 for her opponent.

Seles will now face Graf, who she is 5-9 against but whom she beat the last time the two matched up, in the '99 Australian quarters. Graf beat Lindsay Davenport in the other quarter on Thursday. Graf, who has beaten Seles three out of the four times they have played since Seles returned to the tour after taking two-and-a-half years off to recover form her stabbing, said she needs to bring a different attitude to the court than the one she carried Down Under.

"I played a good match there until a certain point, then it was the worst," Graf said. "I don't know what happened. , but I could not put a ball in the court anymore. I completely , how do you say, fluked or flanked, something like that. Obviously, I need to get myself together and go for my shots, concentrate on serving and playing the game. ...I was extremely nervous [in Australia]. I rarely had anything like that before. I didn't have an explanation for it....I don't feel like I want to get nervous [on Thursday]."

Seles and Graf have never been friends and have had a cool relationship, but the two recently talked after Australia and could be patching things up. Graf and Seles and have met three times at Roland Garros, the last in what is widely considered to be one of the greatest women's matches ever: the '92 final, which Seles won 10-8 in the third set. "I've talked to Steffi once about it," Seles said. "I think both of us, when we decided to come back, we came back because of the matches you play in the semis and finals when you have to be 100 percent physically, mentally and game-wise. The crowd is in it, you're playing on center court. Those are the times you really love to play."

Seles, who reached the final here last year, said she has to be at the top of her game on Thursday. "Both of us are really strong mentally and want to win and we both play at a really high level," Seles said. "So whoever is making the shots will come out the winner."

May 30,1999:
Seles into Quarter-finals

Seles overcame French veteran and No. 16 Julie Halard-Decugis and a heavily partisan crowd 6-1, 7-5 in an hour and a half. Halard managed to fight off two match points, but a questionable line call gave Seles her third opportunity and the Yugoslavian-American connected with a service winner. An anguished Halard left the court in tears.

May 29,1999:
Seles Moves Ahead at the French Open

Playing on her beloved Court Centrale in heat similar to that of her adopted home state of Florida, three-time Roland Garros champion Monica Seles out-punched Spanish blonde bomber Maria Antonia Sanchez-Lorenzo 6-1, 6-4 to gain the fourth round of Roland Garros on Friday.

Seles, who reached the final here last year, was the more powerful and determined player, adeptly smoking nine forehand and nine backhand winners while adding seven service winners. The No. 3-seeded Seles broke Sanchez-Lorenzo to go ahead 5-4 in he second set, when she ran down a drop shot and pasted a backhand down-the-line winner. Grunting louder than an old metro train, she won the match with a thumping overhead smash. Seles will face the winner of the Julie Halard-Decugis-Cristina Torrens-Valero match.

However, she is not incredibly pleased with their play the first week. "I'd give myself about a five," Seles said.

May 27,1999:
Seles Cruises at Roland Garros

Three-time Roland Garros champion Monica Seles had a bit of a struggle on a hot and sticky morning, unable to find much range on her forehand but finally downing Bulgarian Lubomira Bacheva 6-3, 6-4.

Seles, who reached the final here last year, was the far more consistent player, committing only 20 unforced errors, while the 24-year-old aggressive Bulgarian committed 38. The 25-year-old American, who recently won her first clay court title in seven years at Amelia Island, was her normal devastating self from her favored backhand side, cracking 10 winners.

Seles will play the winner of the Raluca Sandu-Maria Antonio Sanchez-Lorenzo match.

May 25,1999:
SELES Advances at Roland Garros

Hoping to regain the form that brought her to the Roland Garros final in 1998, No. 3 seed Monica Seles blasted her way into the second round with a one-hour, four-minute 6-2, 6-4 demolition of China's Fang Li.

Seles, who reached the final here last year and is a three-time Roland Garros champion, put on a devastating display of power tennis, playing well inside the baseline and crushing winners off both wings. The 25-year-old American recently won her first clay court title in seven years at Amelia Island, but has played sparingly this year, recently suffering bronchitis and an ear infection that had her ingesting anti-biotics for a month.

"I was really anxious to go out and play the match because it's my first on red clay," said Seles, who rang up 22 winners. "I was little nervous coming into the French not having played anything. I'm pretty pleased with the way I played."

Seles, who lost a tight three-set final to Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario last year, remains a perfectionist, saying that she hasn't been satisfied with her play in a Grand Slam in six years.

"Almost never,' said Seles. "I felt like I was playing the best at the '92 French Open and '93 Australian Open. I was at a very good place that time."

But the nine-time Grand Slam champion, who has won only one major since her 1995 comeback to the tour after taking two-and-a-half years off to recover from her stabbing, isn't particularly pleased with her play the last four years.

"Not really," she said. "I had a couple chances to do well at the U.S. Open in '95 and '96, but mentally I couldn't overcome a couple things."

May 25,1999:
Davenport, Seles, Graf advance in Paris

Paris, France (TSN) - Second-seeded American Lindsay Davenport, three-time champion Monica Seles of the United States and five-time titlist Steffi Graf of Germany were among Tuesday's first-round winners at the French Open Tennis Championships.

Davenport, the 1998 U.S. Open champion in search of her second career grand slam title, made easy 6-3, 6-1 work of Jane Chi.

Seles, seeded third this year, dispatched Fang Li 6-2, 6-4. Seles was last year's runner-up to Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, who claimed her third title at this event.

The sixth-seeded Graf pasted Maggie Maleeva 6-2, 6-0.

Also, eighth-seeded Mary Pierce defeated Joannette Kruger 6-4, 6-3; number-nine Nathalie Tauziat knocked off Amelie Cocheteux 6-4, 6-3; 11th-seeded Patty Schnyder outlasted Corina Morariu 3-6, 6-3, 8- 6; while number-16 Julie Halard-Decugis beat Karina Habsudova 1-6, 6- 4, 6-1.

The day's lone upset saw Ai Sugiyama bounce 14th-seeded Amanda Coetzer 7-5, 6-1.

In addition, Jennifer Capriati moved on to the second round with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Virginia Ruano Pascual; Conchita Martinez got past Cara Black 2-6, 6-3, 6-3; and Anna Kournikova pounded Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-3, 6-3.

Other unseeded winners in Tuesday's play included: Elena Likhovtseva, Gala Leon Garcia, Lilia Osterloh, Amy Frazier, Anna Smashnova, Asa Carlsson, Adriana Serra-Zanetti, Els Callens, Paola Suarez, Elena Wagner, Andrea Glass, Cristina Torrens-Valero and Raluca Sandu.

Meanwhile, Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo, Nicole Arendt, Fabiola Zuluaga Ines Gorrochategui, Jana Nejedly, Lubomira Bacheva, Silvia Farina and Justine Henin all posted victories in first-round action.

April 18, 1999:
Seles seals U.S. Fed Cup win over Croatia

RALEIGH, North Carolina, April 18 - Monica Seles continued her dominant ways in Fed Cup play, sealing the U.S. victory over Croatia with a 6-0 6-3 defeat of Iva Majoli in Sunday's first match.

The victory by Seles gave the United States an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five series and a date in Italy July 24-25, and lifted her Fed Cup singles record to 10-0. The Americans went on to a 5-0 sweep after winning the second reverse singles and doubles matches.

Seles, ranked third in the world, wasted little time in both of her singles wins over the weekend. Sunday's win took only 42 minutes -- the first set took just 16 minutes -- and on Saturday, she defeated Silvija Talaja in just 63.

"I was on," said Seles. "Everything was going my way."

U.S. captain Billie Jean King had nothing but praise for Seles. "She played unbelievably well," King said. "I was looking at her this weekend and this last week, and she's getting physically stronger, and I just think it will be interesting to see her the rest of the year."

While Seles was clearly on top of her game, Majoli made many of the same mistakes which led to her defeat on Saturday by Chanda Rubin.

"It was more like her playing perfect, and I couldn't do anything," Majoli said. "She played a really, really solid match, no mistakes, very good."

Majoli did jump out to a 2-0 lead in the second set. Seles, who rarely found herself behind this weekend, said she began to think about the last time she played Majoli.

"Here we go again like in Tokyo when I lost to her," said Seles, who lost there after taking the first set.

But Seles, cheered on by the American crowd chanting "USA, USA," would not fold.

A pair of double faults led to Seles tying the score at 2-2. From there, Seles scored four of the last five points for the win.

For the match, Majoli committed 35 unforced errors, including 14 in the first set. Seles totaled only 12 for the match.

In the meaningless second singles match, Chanda Rubin defeated Talaja 6-3 6-4. In doubles play, Seles and Rubin defeated Majoli/Talaja 6-3 6-2.

April 17, 1999:
Rubin, Seles give U.S. Fed Cup lead over Croatia

RALEIGH, North Carolina, April 17

Chanda Rubin and Monica Seles gave the United States a 2-0 lead over Croatia in their Fed Cup tie by winning singles matches on Saturday.

Seles needed only 63 minutes to defeat Silvija Talaja 6-3 6-1 after Rubin prevailed over Iva Majoli 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 10-8 in a windy marathon match lasting two hours and 45 minutes.

"I've played longer, unfortunately," joked Rubin, who replaced an injured Lindsay Davenport on the U.S. team. Rubin and Majoli had to contend with strong winds gusting more than 25 miles per hour (40 kph).

"It (the wind) was real strong, but it was the same for both of us," Majoli said.

Said Rubin: "It's difficult to get a rhythm in the wind. Iva is a very solid player, she attacks the ball, so you have to have an in-between, where you're keeping balls in, and you're playing it a little safer than you normally would."

Although Majoli was disappointed with the loss, she was pleased with her performance.

"For me, it was probably one of the best matches I've played lately," said Majoli, who won the French Open in 1997.

The match did, however, have some controversy. In the third set, Rubin served a blast down the middle that Majoli believed was long. Two serves later, Rubin had won.

"I still think that serve was long," Majoli said. "There were two balls, two marks, and I'm sure her serve didn't hit the line, but I don't know why the chair lady didn't even check the mark, probably because she didn't know where the ball was."

But Majoli did not use that as an excuse for her loss. The Croatian led 8-7 in the final set with a chance to win, but faltered. With the score 8-8, Majoli had a pair of double faults that led to another point for Rubin.

On Sunday, Seles will play Majoli and Rubin will face Talaja in singles, and Lisa Raymond and Seles are scheduled to team up against Majoli and Talaja in doubles.

April 16, 1999:
Davenport Pulls Out of Fed Cup

Lindsay Davenport, the highest-ranked player on the United States Fed Cup team facing Croatia this weekend, withdrew from singles duty with a nagging wrist injury Thursday.

According to a report in Friday's New York Times, Davenport, who sustained the injury last month at the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, said she would consider playing doubles for the U.S. in the event of a deadlock after Saturday's singles matches.

"I tried hitting again (Thursday) and it still hurts," Davenport told the Times. The injury is to Davenport's left wrist, which affects her most when she hits her two-handed backhand. She was forced to default her quarterfinal match at Lipton against Steffi Graf.

Davenport's absence means Chanda Rubin will play singles in addition to Monica Seles for the U.S. Lisa Raymond is the other U.S. team member and is scheduled to play doubles.

Even without Davenport, the Americans shouldn't have too much trouble with Croatia, which is without teenage star Mirjana Lucic, who isn't on the team despite that fact the tie was shifted from Zagreb to Raleigh, N.C., for safety reasons.

The Croatians are led by Iva Majoli, the 1997 French Open champion but a player who has dropped out of the Top 10 and is currently ranked No. 32.

Play begins Friday and continues Saturday with two singles matches each day, with the doubles scheduled for Sunday.

April 13, 1999:
Seles Relieved at Fed Cup Site Switch

It would be absolutely correct to believe professional tennis players lead sheltered, sometimes pampered lives.

The inspiring pros are the ones who make a point of experiencing the world they are gifted enough to travel. Too many shut themselves in their hotel rooms when not at a tournament venue, sticking to room service. In the process, they render Paris as bland as Oklahoma City.

There are times, though, in which world events play a role in tennis no matter how insulated a player likes to be. Such was the case late last summer, when Switzerland's Marc Rosset chose to take a later Swiss Air flight and missed being on the ill-fated jet that crashed off the Canadian coast, killing all its passengers. Rosset quickly came to gain a new perspective on winning and losing tennis matches.

Another tragic event is responsible for shifting this weekend's Fed Cup -- the women's tennis equivalent to the Davis Cup -- from its initial destination, Croatia, to U.S. soil in Raleigh, N.C.

Initially scheduled for the city of Zagreb, the Fed Cup tie was moved to Raleigh because of the safety risk posed by the war surrounding Kosovo. Out of such an awful real-life morass comes the play-world benefit to the Americans.

Monica Seles, who was born in Croatia, will play for the Americans. Seles would have refused to compete had the tie been played in Zagreb because the entire Yugoslavian situation is too sensitive to her.

Billie Jean King, the captain for the U.S. squad, said the Raleigh Racquet Club offers what is "definitely a homecourt advantage, there is no question. As Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer mentioned, it is so too bad that we have to be here, but it definitely gives us an advantage to have us playing in the United States.

"We expect people to be very boisterous and we expect people to be for us. And not too polite, please. This is a team competition and we welcome excitement."

King pushed for the switch to U.S. soil, with backing from the International Tennis Federation and USTA. That eased the pressure on Seles, who recently began to play World Team Tennis and has embraced the team concept.

"I kind of made the decision for her so she didn't have to get uptight about it, because she would have. I know deep down she always wants to play Fed Cup when she can," King said. "Monica has really enjoyed the family feeling we have with Fed Cup. But I told her if it was in Croatia or moved to Germany, don't even think about it."

Seles joins a U.S. squad with Chanda Rubin, Lisa Raymond and Lindsay Davenport. And she's doing it at the right time, fresh off her first WTA Tour title in seven months after winning the Bausch & Lomb Championships last weekend on Amelia Island, Fla., near Jacksonville.

Seles' defeat of Romania's Ruxandra Dragomir was her first singles title on clay since she beat Steffi Graf in 1992 at Roland Garros. The Bausch & Lomb might not compare to winning a French Open, but Seles' dominance was impressive. During the run of the tournament, she dropped only 14 games and did not lose a single set.

"I was really consistent and that's why I got better results," Seles said. "I'm happy with my form going into Federation Cup next week."

The U.S. won't have either Venus or Serena Williams on this squad -- the Williams sisters have chosen to keep the Fed Cup off their schedule for now. With Seles, the Americans have a classy, capable veteran who is not only playing good tennis but understands all aspects of the international drama, from real-life realities to the relatively innocent world of tennis.

Seles' hometown -- Novi Sad, Yugoslavia -- has sustained heavy bombing.

"I have talked about it (with Seles) in generalizations," King said. "She has been very upset. It is just very difficult for her and I am sure for the players ­­ the Croatians as well. At least getting to play tennis will be a little bit lighter for everyone.

"I think this is the first time in my lifetime this has ever happened and it is it very sad," King said of the switch from Croatia to Raleigh. "As you look and you watch CNN and you watch what is going on and (see) people without homes and without food, without clothes, just the basics of life, it is really sad. Also being separated and having family members killed like that is just ­­ it is horrific. I do not think Americans probably have any idea what that probably even feels like. I cannot imagine."

On a weekend in Raleigh, players and fans will be spared having to contemplate it.

Apr. 11, 1999:
Seles Completes Dominating Run at Bausch & Lomb

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- Monica Seles came to Amelia Island for the tuneup she dearly needed. She ended up with a title she didn't expect.

Seles, the No. 2 seed, won her first tournament in seven months Sunday, closing out a dominating run at the Bausch & Lomb Championships with a 6-2, 6-3 victory against unseeded Ruxandra Dragomir.

The five games were the most Seles lost in any of her five matches, in which she dropped only a total of 14 games and never was in jeopardy of losing a set. Only Chris Evert Lloyd has a better run at this tournament, in 1981, when she dropped 12 games.

It was a better-than-expected result for a tournament that Seles had planned to simply use as a tuneup for the United States' Federation Cup meeting next week against Croatia.

"I wanted to take this a day at a time, a point at a time," Seles said.

"I wanted to keep working hard and in some ways that was good. I took pressure off myself. I just enjoyed every ball, every match, no matter if you win a big match, small match. I think that helped me."

The title, which earned the world's third-ranked player $80,000, was even more of a surprise considering Seles' recent early exits at Indian Wells, Lipton and Hilton Head.

In the past two weeks, she traded time on the court for a more stringent training routine off it, in order to stay fresh for the Fed Cup, the women's equivalent of the Davis Cup.

"I ran a little more," she said. "I did that last week, too, and I lost. Tennis-wise, I haven't hit that much this week. I think it was a good thing for me to take a break from tennis. The last four or five weeks, there had just been so much tennis."

She got her share against Dragomir, who kept her on the court for 1 hour, 17 minutes, on a windy day on the slow, green clay of Amelia Island Plantation. Dragomir squandered game points in six games she went on to lose. She forced Seles to deuce in nine of the 17 games. Over the course of the match, however, she learned that staying on the court with Seles and beating her are very different.

"It hurt because I had some chances," she said. "There were some (4) break points I couldn't win. I lost my serve a few times. She was very good today. Just too good."

Dragomir used an assortment of drop shots, most of which Seles reached without trouble, if they got over the net at all. Dragomir's efforts to run Seles from side to side worked sporadically, but Seles combined her trademark power with the accuracy she seemed to have lost in recent weeks to overcome the challenge.

Despite the loss, Dragomir won $38,000 and moved from 38th to 33rd in the world rankings. She failed in her first attempt to win in the United States, but said she still considered the tournament a success.

"I'm very happy," she said. "I'm happy I had a chance to play against Monica in finals instead of the second round. If you look at the score, it might have looked easy, but I think the match was a little tighter."

This was Seles' first victory since the Princess Cup in Tokyo last September. It was the longest drought since she went 11 months between titles in 1997-98, although Seles says she didn't panic.

"I'm not a player who's going to go out confident for a match," she said. "I didn't go out like that when I was No. 1 and only lost one or two matches a year, and I didn't go out like that when I did terribly."

04/09 21:14:20 ET:
Seles, Martinez Advance to Semis at Amelia Island

Amelia Island, FL (TSN) - Second-seeded Monica Seles and seventh-seeded Conchita Martinez both advanced Friday to the semifinals of the $520,000 Bausch & Lomb tennis championships.

Seles only needed 55 minutes to pull off a 6-3, 6-0 pasting of number-five Amanda Coetzer.

Martinez, who won here in 1995, outlasted fourth-seeded Mary Pierce 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 in a rematch of last year's final. Today's match lasted two hours and 43 minutes.

Pierce, the defending champion, had also been a finalist at this clay-court event in 1996 and 1997. The 24-year-old Frenchwoman fell to 18-4 at Amelia Island.

Also, ninth-seeded Russian Anna Kournikova demolished sixth- seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6-0, 6-2. Schnyder felt her ongoing feud with Kournikova played a part in her lackluster effort today. The 20-year-old Schnyder accused Kournikova of stalling tactics in last year's battle between the two women at Amelia Island, a match which Kournikova won 6-1, 6-3.

The 17-year-old Kournikova, a finalist at the Family Circle Cup last week, will face unseeded Ruxandra Dragomir in the other semifinal match. Dragomir, who defeated Fabiola Zuluaga 6-3, 6-1, has lost a total of just 16 games in four matches. She is seeking her fifth tournament victory and her first in the United States.

April 6, 1999:
Seles, Davenport named to U.S. Fed Cup Team

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport head the U.S. Fed Cup team selected Tuesday to play Croatia on April 17-18.

Captain Billie Jean King also picked Chanda Rubin and Lisa Raymond.

The two teams were to have played in Zagreb, Croatia, but the International Tennis Federation moved the site to the Raleigh Racquet Club because of the NATO air strikes against Serbia.

"We have assembled a first-class Fed Cup team," King said by telephone at a news conference. "All of our players are Fed Cup veterans.

"I am sorry that the political situation in Eastern Europe prevents the event from being held in Croatia, but by playing here in the United States, we can ensure the safety of all concerned."

The United States has won the Cup 15 times since its inception in 1963, more than any other nation. The United States and Croatia have never played each other in the event.

International sponsors of Fed Cup are Kamereni Banka and Vossen.

03/21 23:57:17 ET:
Hingis, Davenport, Seles Advance at Lipton

Key Biscayne, FL (TSN) - Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles, the top three seeds, all advanced to the fourth round of the Lipton Championships with straight-set wins on Sunday.

Seventh- seeded Steffi Graf, a five-time champion at this event, also moved on with a victory.

Hingis, the top-ranked player in the world, destroyed Amy Frazier, 6-1, 6-1, while Davenport cruised past Silvia Farina, 6-4, 7-5. Seles was also an easy winner, besting Conchita Martinez, 6-2, 6-1.

Graf, who took the crown here in 1987, '88, '94, '95 and '96, dispatched Henrieta Nagyova, 6-1, 6-3, to earn a fourth-round berth. 12th seed Patty Schnyder also posted a win, defeating Mirjana Lucic, 6-3, 6-4.

10th-seeded Nathalie Tauziat and number-14 Amelie Mauresmo were not as fortunate, as both were sent packing. Tauziat fell to Natasha Zvereva, 6-3, 6-2, while Mauresmo fell victim to Elena Likhovtseva, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.

In the only match of the day featuring two unseeded players, Marlene Weingartner rallied past Chanda Rubin, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Third-round action continues Monday, as fourth seed Jana Novotna, sixth-seeded and defending champion Venus Williams, number-eight Mary Pierce, ninth seed Amanda Coetzer, 13th-seeded Anna Kournikova and number-16 Serena Williams all take to the court.

03/20 01:38:38 ET:
$1,950,000 Lipton Championships Women's Tennis Update

Tennis Center at Crandon Park Key Biscayne, Florida


Andrea Glass def. Samantha Smith, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Miriam Ramon def. Larisa Neiland, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3

Miraim Oremans def. Anne-Gaelle Sidot, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Lilia Osterloh def. Mashona Washington, 6-3, 6-2

Meghann Shaughnessy def. Nicole Pratt, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2

Mary Joe Fernandez def. Adriana Serra-Zanetti, 6-0, 6-2

Tatiana Panova def. Paola Suarez, 6-4, 6-3

Sabine Appelmans def. Els Callens, 6-3, 6-4


Martina Hingis (1) def. Karina Habsudova, 6-1, 6-4

Monica Seles (3) def. Brie Rippner, 6-3, 7-5

Steffi Graf (7) def. Jennifer Capriati, 6-0, 6-1

Marlene Weingartner def. Sandrine Testud (11), 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)

Patty Schnyder (12) def. Mariaan De Swardt, 6-3, 6-3

Amelie Mauresmo (14) def. Fang Li, 6-2, 3-0 (retired)

Chanda Rubin def. Elena Wagner, 6-4, 6-1

Henrieta Nagyova def. Sylvia Plischke, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2)

Mirjana Lucic def. Dominique Van Roost, 6-4, 6-3

Elena Likhovtseva def. Catalina Christea, 6-2, 6-4

Conchita Martinez def. Tina Pisnik, 6-2, 6-1

Julie Halard-Decugis def. Melissa Middleton, 6-3, 6-0


Lindsay Davenport (2) vs. Sabine Appelmans

Jana Novotna (4) vs. Anna Smashnova

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (5) vs. Anne Kremer

Venus Williams (6) vs. Tara Snyder

Mary Pierce (8) vs. Lilia Osterloh

Amanda Coetzer (9) vs. Elena Tatarkova

Nathalie Tauziat (10) vs. Barbara Rittner

Anna Kournikova (13) vs. Kristina Brandi

Irina Spirlea (15) vs. Ruxandra Dragomir

Serena Williams (16) vs. Alicia Molik

Amy Frazier vs. Mary Joe Fernandez

Iva Majoli vs. Fabiola Zuluaga

Natasha Zvereva vs. Andrea Glass

Anke Huber vs. Tatiana Panova

Barbara Schett vs. Miho Saeki

Virginia Ruano Pascual vs. Rita Grande

Nathalie Dechy vs. Meghann Shaughnessy

Maureen Drake vs. Cara Black

Silvia Farina vs. Miriam Oremans

Magui Serna vs. Miriam Ramon


Venus Williams is the defending champion, topping Kournikova in the 1998 final, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1...Hingis was the '97 champion...Graf won the Lipton five times (1987, '88, '94-96), and has been a runner-up twice...Monica Seles is a two-time winner (1990-91).

03/08 23:47:00 ET:
Seles Upset In Indian Wells

Seles was upset 6-2, 6-4 by Henrieta Nagyova of Slovakia in the third round of the $1.3 million Evert Cup women's tennis tournament.

In her match with Seles, Nagyova captured the opening five games and took just 65 minutes to eliminate the No. 3 seed.

"My head wasn't there. I think my game wasn't there. She didn't give me a chance to get into it,'' said Seles, who is playing at Indian Wells for the first time since winning the event in 1992.

"It was the first win ... against a top 10 player,'' Nagyova said. "I played ... the best match of my career.''

03/08 16:40:30 ET:
$1,300,000 Evert Cup Women's Tennis Update

Indian Wells, California


Henrieta Nagyova def. Monica Seles (3), 6-2, 6-4

Sandrine Testud (12) def. Nathalie Tauziat (8), 7-6 (7-2), 6-2

Martina Hingis (1) vs. Patty Schnyder (10)

Amanda Coetzer (7) vs. Chanda Rubin


Hingis is the defending champion...Seles won here in 1992.

03/06 22:34:39 ET:
Hingis, Seles Advance in Evert Cup

Indian Wells, CA (TSN) - Martina Hingis, the top-ranked player in the world, and Monica Seles, a former world number-one, each recorded straight-set victories Saturday to advance to the third round of the $1.3 million Evert Cup.

Hingis, the top seed and defending champion, defeated American Alexandra Stevenson 6-3, 6-4, while Seles, who won here in 1992, upended Russian Elena Likhovtseva 7-6 (7-2), 6-2.

Eighth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat also moved on to the third round with a 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 win over Miho Saeki.

Three seeded players fell in Saturday's action, including number-nine Anna Kournikova. Italy's Silvia Farina ousted the Russian teenager in a tough match, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 7-5, while Barbara Rittner sent 11th-seeded Dominique Van Roost packing with a 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory. Also, Lisa Raymond upset number-15 Natasha Zvereva in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

12th-seeded Sandrine Testud avoided the upset bug by easily dispatching Maria Alejandro Venta 6-1, 6-1. Mary Joe Fernandez, who won here in 1993 and '95, earned a second-round encounter with number-four Jana Novotna by defeating Elena Tatarkova 6-4, 6-3, while Julie Halard-Decugis downed Fang Li 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).

First prize for this event is $800,000.


Monica Seles, former No. 1 in the world and winner of nine Grand Slam titles, has become the first to officially enter the 27th annual Family Circle Cup. The tournament will be played March 27 - April 4, 1999 at the Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Seles has yet to add the Family Circle Cup to her list of 43 career singles titles, but her previous performances over the past two years have already placed her in the tournament's record books. Her 1997 debut was a memorable one in many ways. She advanced to the final with straight set wins over Anke Huber and Conchita Martinez to meet the newly crowned No. 1 player in the world Martina Hingis. By reaching the final, she became one of only nine players in the tournament's 26-year history to reach the final in her first appearance. That final, televised on a national network to millions of fans, was one of the most exciting matches played on the WTA TOUR in 1998. To the delight of over 8,000 people attending the final, Seles pushed Hingis to a third set. To add even more excitement to the match, she forced the third set to a tiebreak, the first time a Family Circle Cup Championship had been decided in that manner. That fateful match with Hingis, who captured her first Cup title, went 31 games, breaking an existing record of most games (27) in a singles final recorded in 1988.

The following year Seles came so close to repeating that performance but lost in the semifinals to Irina Spirlea in three sets. However, true to form, she did manage to set another Family Circle Cup record on the way to the semifinals. She is the first player in the 26-year history of the event to play three consecutive matches with at least one tiebreak in each match.

A definite crowd favorite, Seles has enjoyed playing in Hilton Head over the past two years. "The fans stayed in my memory after last year (1997). I just wanted to come back," stated Seles during a post-match press conference at this year's event. "I love this place. I just wish I had come here earlier in my career. The people here have been so supportive."

The 1998 season proved to the tennis world that Seles was on track in gaining back her top form. She won two WTA TOUR events and reached the finals of two more including Roland Garros. It was her first Grand Slam final since the 1996 U.S. Open. She also reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, which was her best showing at that prestigious event in six years. By the end of the year, she had reached a number of career milestones, winning over 400 career matches and earning over $10 million in career prize money.

"I can't think of a better way to start off our player announcements than to welcome Monica back to the Family Circle Cup," said Lisa Thomas, Family Circle Cup Tournament Director. "She is a crowd favorite here at Sea Pines, and we always know that we can expect the best from her."

02/06 09:55:31 ET:
$1.05 million Toray Pan Pacific Open Women's Tennis Update

Tokyo, Japan


Martina Hingis (2) def. Jana Novotna (3), 6-3, 6-4

Amanda Coetzer (7) def. Monica Seles (4), 6-4, 6-2


Martina Hingis (2) vs. Amanda Coetzer (7)


Hingis regained the world number-one ranking with the victory over Novotna.

02/05 10:56:47 ET
Hingis & Seles Advance in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan (TSN) - Australian Open champion Martina Hingis advanced to the semifinals, while top-ranked Lindsay Davenport was upset in the quarters of the $1.05 million Pan Pacific Open on Friday.

The second-seeded Hingis bounced back from a mistake-filled first-set loss to defeat number-five Steffi Graf, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Hingis, currently ranked second in the world, will face third- seeded Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic in Saturday's semifinals. Due to Davenport's exit on Friday, Hingis can reclaim the top spot in the rankings with a victory over the weekend. Davenport, the defending champion, was shocked by South Africa's Amanda Coetzer 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Novotna, the third seed, advanced when Natasha Zvereva retired with eye problems after dropping the first set 5-7.

Meanwhile, the seventh-seeded Coetzer will battle Monica Seles in the semifinals. Seles, the four seed, knocked off sixth-seeded Anna Kournikova of Russia, 7-5, 6-3.

02/05 09:10:30 ET:
$1.05 million Toray Pan Pacific Open Women's Tennis Update

Tokyo, Japan


Amanda Coetzer def. Lindsay Davenport (1), 2-6, 6-4, 6-3

Martina Hingis (2) def. Steffi Graf (5), 3-6, 6-2, 6-4

Jana Novotna (3) def. Natasha Zvereva, 7-5 (retired)

Monica Seles (4) def. Anna Kornikova (6), 7-5, 6-3


Zvereva was forced to retire with eye problems...Hingis can regain the number-one ranking with a win over Novotna on Saturday.

02/03 10:55:05 ET
Seles, Hingis and Graf Advance in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan (TSN) - Top-five seeds Martina Hingis, Monica Seles and Steffi Graf were among Wednesday's winners at the $1.05 million Pan Pacific Open.

The second-seeded Hingis, fresh off her third straight Australian Open title, needed all three sets to get past Japan's Ai Sugiyama, 3- 6, 6-1, 6-2. The second-round win placed Hingis, the 1998 Pan Pacific runner-up to Lindsay Davenport, in this year's quarterfinals.

Fourth-seeded Monica Seles, who lost to Hingis in last week's Aussie Open semifinals, also landed in the quarters with a 6-1, 6-3 pasting of Sarah Pitkowski.

Graf, the fifth seed in Tokyo, played a first-round match and moved on with a 6-0, 6-1 dismantling of American Samantha Reeves.

Wednesday's other first-round winners were Mariaan de Swardt, Elena Likhovtseva and American Mary Joe Fernandez, who easily handled 1997 French Open champion Iva Majoli, 6-1, 6-2.

02/02 11:52:27 ET:
$1.05 Million Toray Pan Pacific Open Women's Tennis Update

Tokyo, Japan


Anna Kournikova (6) def. Anke Huber, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0

Amanda Coetzer (7) def. Magui Serna, 6-2, 6-1

Natasha Zvereva (8) def. Tara Snyder, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 6-4

Sarah Pitkowski def. Larisa Neiland, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1

Cara Black def. Julie Halard-Decugis, 6-2, 6-1

Lisa Raymond def. Sylvia Plischke, 6-1, 6-2

Ai Sugiyama def. Thi-Ting Wang, 6-2, 6-3

Els Callens def. Kimberly Po, 6-3, 6-1


Steffi Graf (5) vs. Samantha Reeves

Mariaan de Swardt vs. Miho Saeki

Iva Majoli vs. Mary Joe Fernandez

Elena Tatarkova vs. Elena Likhovtseva


Martina Hingis (2) vs. Ai Sugiyama

Monica Seles (4) vs. Sarah Pitkowski


The top four seeds -- Lindsay Davenport, Martina Hingis, Jana Novotna and Monica Seles -- all received first-round byes.

Jan 27, 1999 11:54 p.m. ET
Seles Loses in Semifinal & Hingis on Her Way to Final

MELBOURNE — Defending champion Martina Hingis swept into the Australian Open final Thursday with a resounding 6-2 6-4 defeat of sixth seed Monica Seles.

Swiss teenager Hingis was far too strong for four-time Open champion Seles and served out the match in 59 minutes on center court at Melbourne Park, slamming a forehand winner past Seles on her second match point.

The world number two will meet unseeded Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo in Saturday's final after Mauresmo earlier stunned top seed Lindsay Davenport 4-6 7-5 7-5.

Hingis is bidding for her third successive Open title. She ended a remarkable unbeaten run for Seles of 33 matches after the former number one won the title in her only four previous appearances in Melbourne from 1991-93 and again in 1996.

Hingis dominated the first set but lapsed slightly when she and Seles swapped services breaks at the beginning of the second set.

The 18-year-old then used her superior court coverage to gain another important break in the seventh game and ruthlessly shut former number one Seles out of the match.

Seles Finally Beats Steffi, Hingis Pounds Pierce
Wednesday,January 27, 1999

It took six years and an infinite amount of emotional turmoil, but Monica Seles returned to the scene of her last triumph over Steffi Graf and used her beloved Rebound Ace to her advantage, whipping the German 7-5, 6-1 to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

No. 2 and two-time defending champion Martina Hingis also rolled, punching out No. 7 Mary Pierce for the third year in a row, this time with a quick 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Seles, the one-time dominant No. 1, hadn't beaten Graf before Wednesday since her return to the Tour in 1995, after she took off 27 months to recover from stab wounds inflicted on her by a crazed German fan who was allegedly obsessed with Graf. The two legends, who won 30 Grand Slam singles titles between them, have a cool relationship and both have said that they could never be friends. The last time Seles had bested Graf was in a three-set '93 Australian Open final, considered by many observers to be one of the best women's matches of the decade.

As she has done during the past few years, Seles downplayed any discussion of experiencing emotional fervor when she plays Graf. "I hate to talk about it," said Seles, a four-time Australian Open champion who has never lost at Melbourne Park. "I just play the ball. Steffi is no longer the best player in the world, Martina and Lindsay [Davenport] are."

In their three post-stabbing matches, Graf managed to exhaust Seles in long rallies, but her failure to keep the aggressive Yugoslav-American guessing on her service games on Wednesday put her in a vulnerable position most of the day.

Graf held a 4-3 lead in the first set, but double-faulted to hand her rival the game. After that, Seles dominated the affair, reeling off eight straight games with deep, consistent crosscourt backhands that negated Graf's slice backhand, and ripping backhand winners from all angles of the court.

"I got tight," said Graf, who added that she had never experienced so long a lapse at any time in her long career. "I couldn't get a first serve in. I lost my mental game totally. I couldn't put a ball in the court, I couldn't focus on the next point ... I'm usually able to turn it around and I tried to tell myself to loosen up, but I couldn't shake it off."

Once a giggling, delightful personality off-court, Seles has become dour and serious since the death of her father last year and the recent passing of her grandmother. She cracked nary a smile after the win.

"To me, happiness is not based on tennis," Seles said. "But I am glad I did what I wanted to do on court ... It was good for me to be there in my head all day because I haven't always been."

Graf, who has been riddled with injures the past two years and hasn't won a Grand Slam title since the '96 US Open, wasn't pleased with her progress during the event. "I'm a little disappointed," she said. "I didn't go into this tournament with enough confidence and I don't know why."

Seles brought out two fairly new features in her game - a running one-handed forehand and an occasional serve-and-volley. She said she may get rid of her two-handed forehand soon. "My dad used to tell me I would eventually use the one-hander in matches and I think that one day is kind of now."

Of her forays to the net, the one-time planted-to-the-baseline competitor said, "It's getting there. Guys who have watched me practice have said 'I didn't realize you have such a great volley', and guys don't give girls complements easily. I hit volleys great in practice so there's no reason I shouldn't be coming in during matches. I hope before my career is over I've given it a good try."

The so-called "Big Babe" of tennis, Pierce was left wailing after her loss to Hingis. Nursing an abdominal stain and a sore throat, she moved poorly most of the day. Hingis, who returned brilliantly and had Pierce on a string, said she is looking forward to facing Seles on Thursday. Seles knocked Hingis out of Roland Garros in '98 but she got revenge at the '98 US Open.

"You have to keep Monica on the run and get a lot of balls back and try to be faster than her, otherwise she just goes for everything," said Hingis, who owns a 6-2 record against her. "You have to keep the rallies long and go for your chances."

Seles and Graf To Meet In Quart-finals

MELBOURNE, Jan 25 - Steffi Graf and Monica Seles on Monday revived one of the great rivalries of modern tennis when the former champions set up a quarter-final meeting at the Australian Open.

Graf and Seles -- the winners of eight Australian Open titles between them -- breezed through their fourth round matches on a hot Melbourne Park centre court.

Tenth-seeded Graf, champion in Melbourne from 1988-90 and again in 1994, overpowered unseeded Austrian Barbara Schett 6-1 6-1 in a 47-minute fourth-round romp.

Seles followed her old foe onto court and spent exactly the same amount of time there, working only slightly harder to oust 14th seed Sandrine Testud of France 6-0 6-3.

Graf and Seles dominated women's tennis through the late 1980s and early 1990s but have not met in a grand slam tournament since the German beat Seles in straight sets in the 1996 U.S. Open final.

"You know you're going to have to raise your level of game but I try, try to be up for each match," Seles said of her rematch with Graf on Wednesday. Emotional return from injury Graf also won an emotional U.S. Open final in 1995, which marked Seles's return to big-time tennis from a 27-month absence after she was stabbed by a crazed Graf fan during a change of ends at the Hamburg Open.

Tennis fans will never know how many matches the pair might have played were it not for the stabbing, which also marked a slow spiral down in the careers of both stars.

The last time they met in Melbourne was in the 1993 Open final, Seles winning in three sets to cap three successive Australian titles. She added another Australian title in 1996 to make it four titles in four appearances.

Sixth-seeded Seles's defeat of Testud took her unbeaten run in Melbourne to 32 matches.

Graf holds a 9-4 advantage over Seles in overall matches between the pair, although the grandes dames of tennis are locked at three apiece in their six grand slam finals against each other stretching back to Seles's 1990 French Open triumph.

"We've had a lot of close matches but we haven't played too often in the last few years," Graf said of Seles. Graf has climbed back up the world rankings to number eight after an injury-prone 1997 and 1998. Midway through 1998 she dropped off the rankings completely for the first time since she made her professional debut in January 1983.

Seles is also slowly building her way back up the rankings after skipping Melbourne in 1997 with a broken finger and the death of her beloved father Karolj in 1998 after a long illness.

"I really should be able to win every match at this level," Seles said, adding she had not thought of the prospect of meeting Graf until she had beaten Testud.

"My dad always told me not to be too confident, not to look too far forward. "I'm just looking forward to to playing her. Obviously it's going to be a very difficult match and, as always, it's such a great challenge," she said. Graf, 29, showed glimpses of her formidable old self against unseeded baseliner Schett, who came into the tournament with good recent form and upset fourth seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the second round. Graf completely demoralised the Austrian, who surrendered her serve five times and offered up a welter of unforced errors.

"I think the last two matches, I didn't play up to my potential and today...I just went out there and I just had a better attitude," said Graf, who did not play in Melbourne or at the French Open last year.

Seles, too, was back to her old self as she lost only five points on the way to clinching the first set against Testud in 17 minutes.

The world number four Seles looked a little less formidable in the second but the Frenchwoman never posed a serious threat.

01/24 21:20:42 ET:
Australian Open Championships Women's Tennis Update

Melbourne Park - National Tennis Centre Melbourne, Australia


Monica Seles (6) def. Sandrine Testud (14), 6-0, 6-3

Steffi Graf (10) def. Barbara Schett, 6-1, 6-1

Martina Hingis (2) vs. Amanda Coetzer (16)

Mary Pierce (7) vs. Anna Kournikova (12)


Hingis, the two-time defending champion, defeated Conchita Martinez for last year's title...Seles and Graf each won this event four times, while Pierce captured the event in 1995...Schett upset fourth-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the second round.

Monica & Jana Defeated in 3rd Round Doubles
Sunday, January 24, 1999

Monica and Jana Novotna lost thier 3rd round doubles match to Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova. The first set went to a tie-break and then Hingis/Kournikova won the 2nd set easily. The final score was 6(9)-7(11), 3-6.

Seles Subdues Appelmans
Saturday,January 23, 1999

Monica Seles, yet to lose at the Australian Open, took three sets to dispose of a gritty Sabine Appelmans in the third round on Saturday.

Seles punched 21 forehand winners to overcome her Belgian opponent for the fifth time in five meetings and will now play Sandrine Testud in the last 16.

Match time: one hour, 45 minutes

Appelmans made 45 unforced errors to Seles's 34

Appelmans won 41% of second serve points compared to 50% by Seles

Seles hit 19 winners in the deciding third set

Appelmans hit 16 unforced errors in the third set

Seles is now on a 31-match winning streak at the Australian Open, having won the title on all four of her previous attempts

Appelmans is currently ranked 46, Seles is 4

Monica Moves Into the 4th Round
January 23, 1999

Seles, a four-time champion in the Australian Open, notched a 6- 3, 3-6, 6-4 win over Belgian's Sabine Appelmans that extended her winning streak at Melbourne Park to 31 straight matches.

Seles will play Sandrine Testud of France in her 4th round singles match.

Seles is currently ranked 4th in the world; however, since Jana Novotna was knocked out in the 3rd round,Seles has a chance to end the Australian Open ranked 3rd in the world.

Seles has not dropped a match since appearing at the year's first Grand Slam event eight years ago, although she has missed four tournaments.

Seles Chalks Up #30
Thursday,January 21, 1999

Sixth seed Monica Seles continues her unbeaten streak in Australia, defeating Alexia Dechaume-Ballert 6-1, 6-4.

Match duration: 60 minutes

First set duration: 19 minutes

Seles: won 81% of points on first serve

Seles: hit 30 winners to Dechaume-Balleret's nine

Seles: converted four of six break points opportunities (67%) to Dechaume-Balleret's one of five (20%)

Seles won 72% of net approaches (13/18) to Dechaume-Balleret's 47% (7/15)

Seles, still unbeaten in the Australian Open as a four-time champion, has now won 30 consecutive singles matches at Melbourne Park (this is her fifth Open)

Aces: Seles - 5; Dechaume-Balleret - 1

This was Dechaume-Balleret's ninth Australian Open - her best performances were third round showings in 1991 and '92

In 39 Grand Slam tournaments Dechaume-Balleret has advanced to the fourth round on only one occasion (1994 French Open)

Seles Continues Unbeaten Run
Tuesday, 19 January, 1999

Four-time champion and sixth seed Monica Seles extends unbeaten run at Melbourne Park to 29.

Match duration: 41 minutes

First set duration: 19 minutes

Seles won 96% of points on first serve (22 of 23 points) to Krizan's 21% (4 of 19)

This was the first meeting of the two players

Unforced errors: Seles - 10; Krizan - 30

Total points won: Seles - 49; Krizan - 17

Krizan didn't hold a break point in the entire match

Total winners: Seles - 16; Krizan - 6

1/19 03:55:00 ET:
Australian Open Championships Women's Tennis Update

Melbourne Park - National Tennis Centre Melbourne, Australia


Martina Hingis (2) def. Lilia Osterloh, 6-1, 6-2

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (4) def. Mariaan De Swardt, 6-2, 6-2

Monica Seles (6) def. Tina Krizan, 6-1, 6-0

Mary Pierce (7) def. Cindy Watson, 6-2, 6-1

Steffi Graf (10) def. Paola Suarez, 6-0, 6-3

Anna Kournikova (12) def. Jill Craybas, 7-6 (7-1), 7-5

Sandrine Testud (14) def. Tara Snyder, 6-3, 6-2

Amanda Coetzer (16) def. Sandra Kleinova, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5

01/18 07:00:00 ET:

Martina Hingis (2) vs. Lilia Osterloh

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (4) vs. Mariaan De Swardt

Monica Seles (6) vs. Tina Krizan

Mary Pierce (7) vs. Cindy Watson

Steffi Graf (10) vs. Paola Suarez

Anna Kournikova (12) vs. Jill Craybas

Sandrine Testud (14) vs. Tara Snyder

Amanda Coetzer (16) vs. Sandra Kleinova

01/15 11:27:20 ET:
Australian Open Women's Tennis Matches

Melbourne Park - National Tennis Centre Melbourne, Australia


Lindsay Davenport (1) vs. Gala Leon Garcia

Martina Hingis (2) vs. Lilia Osterloh

Jana Novotna (3) vs. Anne-Gaelle Sidot

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (4) vs. Mariaan De Swardt

Venus Williams (5) vs. Silvia Talaja

Monica Seles (6) vs. qualifier

Mary Pierce (7) vs. Cindy Watson

Patty Schnyder (8) vs. qualifier

Conchita Martinez (9) vs. Adriana Gersi

Steffi Graf (10) vs. Paola Suarez

Dominique Van Roost (11) vs. qualifier

Anna Kournikova (12) vs. qualifier

Irina Spirlea (13) vs. Anke Huber

Sandrine Testud (14) vs. Tara Snyder

Natasha Zvereva (15) vs. Katarina Studenikova

Amanda Coetzer (16) vs. qualifier

Florencia Labat vs. Yayuk Basuki

Sung-Hee Park vs. Karina Habsudova

Lisa Raymond vs. Lea Ghirardi-Rubbi

Laurence Courtois vs. Rachel McQuillan

Yuka Yoshida vs. qualifier

Kveta Hrdlickova vs. Sylvia Plischke

Kimberly Po vs. Meilen Tu

Chanda Rubin vs. Marlene Weingartner

Christina Papadaki vs. Elena Wagner

Karin Miller vs. Ruxandra Dragomir

Annabel Ellwood vs. Jane Chi

Cristina Torrens Valero vs. Asa Carlsson

Henrieta Nagyova vs. Kristie Boogert

Jennifer Capriati vs. Evie Dominikovic

Sandra Cacic vs. Ma.Antonio Sanchez Lorenzo

Cara Black vs. Catalina Cristea

Jana Nejedly vs. Pavlina Stoyanova

Seda Noorlander vs. Miriam Oremans

Nathalie Dechy vs. Aubrie Rippneer

Anna Smashnova vs. Elena Tatarkova

Emilie Loit vs. Mirjana Lucic

Nicole Pratt vs. Maria Alejandra Vento

Samantha Smith vs. Larisa Neiland

Corina Morariu vs. Amelie Mauresmo

Denisa Chladkova vs. Alexia Dechaume-Balleret

Adriana Serra-Zanetti vs. Mariana Diaz-Oliva

Sabine Applemans vs. Conchita Martinez-Granados

Sarah Pitkowski vs. Magui Serna

Serena Williams vs. Raluca Sandu

Shi-Ting Wang vs. Els Callens

Meghann Shaughnessy vs. Barbara Schwartz

Laura Golarsa vs. Mary Joe Fernandez

Amy Frazier vs. Ai Sugiyama

Radka Bobkova vs. Virginia Ruano-Pascual

Elena Likhovtseva vs. Nana Miyagi

Barbara Schett vs. Jana Kandarr

Anne Kremer vs. Catherine Barclay

Rita Kuti Kis vs. Fang Li

Tathiana Garbin vs. Rita Grande

Silvia Farina vs. Andrea Glass

Tatiana Panova vs. Tamarine Tanasugarn

Sonya Jeyaseelan vs. Miho Saeki

Julie Halard-Decugis vs. Alicia Molik

Janet Lee vs. qualifier

Flora Perfetti vs. Samantha Reeves

Elena Makarova vs. Jelena Dokic

Kristina Brandi vs. Amelie Cocheteux

Gloria Pizzichini vs. qualifier

01/07/99 23:00:00 ET:
Monica on cover of February Tennis magazine!
Monica is on the cover of the TENNIS magazine for the February 1999 issue. Be sure to go get your copy before they are gone!