|December 31, 2000||Martina and Monica team up for doubles|
Anna Kournikova is on the look out for a new partner - after her doubles relationship was brought to an abrupt end by Martina Hingis.
Hingis claimed on Sunday that the split was due to her need for greater "independence" and a need to "concentrate" on her singles career.
But the Swiss 20-year-old confirmed that she will be teaming up with Monica Seles for the women's doubles at the Australian Open in January - the tournament Hingis won with Kournikova two years ago.
The pair have enjoyed a profitable on-court relationship since then, and had also forged a close friendship on the WTA Tour as well.
However, they were involved in a public bust-up during an exhibition singles match in Chile earlier this month.
The row erupted over a disputed line call, with Kournikova happy to concede the point and Hingis determined to argue the matter with the umpire.
Kournikova was said to be in tears after the incident.
Most observers believe the rift runs deeper than that, but Hingis, after enjoying a successful start to the new season with victory over Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn in the Hopman Cup in Perth, said: "I would like to be more independent now.
"This is going to be a big year for me on the singles Tour, and I want to concentrate on that side of my career.
"It has nothing to do with Anna, but I don't want or need a regular doubles partner anymore, although I will keep playing doubles when I can. "Monica and I are teaming up for the Open, which will be a great experience for me."
Hingis sported another change on her return to action in Perth - a pioneering t-shirt with the right sleeve longer than the left.
"The extra material on my sleeve helps keep my hitting arm warm," she said.
"You need to use any extra advantage available to you if you want to keep ahead of the rest."
|December 29, 2000||Seles returns to Hopman Cup after 10-year absence|
PERTH, Australia - Monica Seles returns to the Hopman Cup mixed team event on Saturday after a 10-year absence still believing she can get back to the top of the women's game.
The 27-year-old American will become the first player to represent two countries after combining with Goran Prpic for her native Yugoslavia to help defeat the United States in the 1991 final.
Seles lost her ranking as outright world number one in 1993, the year she was forced out of the game after being stabbed by a fan of Steffi Graf at the Hamburg Open. Although Seles enjoyed a protected joint-ranking of world number one in 1995 on her return to the WTA circuit, her best outright performance came this year when she finished world number four.
Seles finished runner-up to Martina Hingis in the season-ending Chase Championships after a consistent year during wich she reached the quarter-finals or better in all 10 events she played.
"Last season was really tough, but to play so well and finish so strongly gives me great encouragement for the New Year," Seles said on Friday.
"It has always been my goal to be number one again and if I produce the result I had last year I can be in contention.
"What I need to do now is to start beating the top two or three players, like Martina, Lindsay (Davenport) and the Williams sisters, on a regular basis.
"I have enjoyed a good holiday in the last few weeks, but I am still in shape and, mentally, I am staying positive. Each year it becomes more challenging, but I know that I want to win everything I can."
Seles will partner Jan-Michael Gambill for the third-seeded Americans, who have been drawn in group B. They will face the Slovak Republic, a Marat Safin-inspired Russia, and either Japan or Belgium in the round-robin event.
Japan and Belgium play off for a place in the main draw on Saturday. Group A features top seeds Switzerland, represented by women's world number one Hingis, and Roger Federer plus Australia, Thailand and defending champions South Africa.
|November 29, 2000||Seles defeats Davenport at MS Tennis Classic Exhibition|
We found the following post in a news group and thought we would pass it along to everyone! The post is as follows:
From: David Henry
Seles fans be happy to know that Monica defeated Lindsay 6-4, 6-4 tonight in Denver at the Multiple Scolorosis Tennis Classic.
Monica broke Lindsay in both sets after holding for a 5-4 advantage, and overpowered Lindsay with 23 winners; Davenport only managed eight. Seles served huge the entire match and was all over Daveneport's second and first serves. She must have hit at least four or five return winners off Davenport's first serve, including one on match point.
Match game was a fun one. Davenport hit an unforced error to give Seles three match points, but Davenport then hit three aces to tie the game at deuce. Seles hit another winner to reach match point, then clobbered a return off Lindsay's serve at a sharp angle to win the match.
The match wasn't a tour match and holds no bearing on the ranking system, but Seles has to be happy with how she played. She really overpowered Lindsay for the first time in quite a while.
For those wondering how Davenport was moving due to the calf strain she suffered against Sanchez Vicario in Fed Cup, she was wearing a sleave over her calf for preventive measures, but looked to be moving just fine. She did miscue the ball a bit more often than normal, but it wouldn't have really mattered. Seles seems to be on fire and it will be interesting to see how she is able to carry this type of form over to Melbourne come the new year.
The match was aired on the Fox network in Denver. I didn't know it was going to air and didn't tape it. The match lasted an hour and nine minutes.
Afterward, both players played a pro set of doubles. Davenport and Mary Joe Fernandez teamed for an 8-4 win over Seles and Alexandra Stevenson, who by the way, was cranking server all over the place. I think her serve is bigger than Davenport's, but the rest of her game isn't consistent to challenge someone like Davenport in singles quite yet. Stevenoson hit over her backhand on the return very impressively and volleyed very well. She was the best volleyer out there.
It was also nice to see Mary Joe on the court again. She's still very fit and doesn't seem to have lost any of her fitness.
All in all, it was a good night of tennis.
|November 22, 2000||Seles, Davenport put United States in Fed Cup final against Spain|
Seles overcame stomach trouble to beat 18-year-old Justine Henin and a limping Davenport followed Wednesday night with a win over 17-year-old Kim Clijsters as the U.S. team advanced to the final for the 25th time in the 38-year history of the event.
Both players will get Thanksgiving Day off to recuperate before returning to the court Friday for the two-day final against Spain.
``I'm glad I don't have to play tomorrow,'' said Davenport, who injured a calf muscle in the second set against Clijsters. ``I'm sure it will be sore.''
Davenport won the clinching match as the U.S. team swept the young Belgium players before about 3,500 fans on the indoor court at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.
The defending champion American team will be seeking its 17th Fed Cup title against Spain, which has won five of the last nine finals.
``I think playing indoors gives us a huge advantage,'' Davenport said. ``We should be the favorites in the match.''
The two wins in singles made the final doubles match meaningless. But both Americans struggled at times, with Davenport favoring her calf and Seles fighting off stomach trouble.
``I didn't feel comfortable being aggressive,'' Seles said after her 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory over Henin. ``My goal was just to hit back as many balls as I could.''
Seles spurted to a 5-0 lead in the opening set of the first match and appeared completely in control. But, about the same time, she began experiencing stomach problems that caused her to lose her focus.
Henin came back to tie it at 5-5 and the match went to a tiebreaker, where Seles regained her composure and won the first six points.
``I disappeared for a time, but at key points I raised my game,'' Seles said. ``I didn't want to go to three sets.''
Neither did Davenport, though she was forced to after faltering in the second set when she had to take an injury timeout to have her calf massaged.
Like Seles, Davenport had to win a tiebreaker to win the first set, then had to come back in the third set to clinch the semifinal win 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 and give the U.S. team a berth in the final.
Davenport was up 2-1 in the second set when she hurt herself, and Clijsters, ranked 18th in the world, won the last three games of the set to pull even. She pumped her fist after clinching the set on a backhand into the net by Davenport, as her Belgian teammates cheered loudly.
Davenport came right back, though, winning the first three games of the deciding set and finally winning the match on a backhand shot that Clijsters had no chance to reach.
U.S. captain Billie Jean King celebrated her 57th birthday with her 17th win in 20 Fed Cup rounds dating to 1965 when she was a playing captain. King, who has headed six Fed Cup teams, is seeking her fourth title as a captain.
|November 19, 2000||Hingis defeats Seles to capture Chase Championships|
NEW YORK (Ticker) -- In a fitting finale for women's tennis at Madison Square Garden, world No. 1 Martina Hingis edged former champion Monica Seles in three thrilling sets this afternoon, capturing her second Chase Championships crown.
Hingis needed over two hours to post a 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4 triumph over the third-seeded Seles, who possibly was making her last appearance in the $2 million season-ending event.
For the next three years, the WTA Tour has decided to move the tournament to Munich, Germany, the country where Seles was stabbed during a match in 1993. She vowed never to return after a German judge allowed her attacker to go free.
"I was very emotional," Seles said. "You feel, well, this is it, in terms of a tournament. Hopefully, maybe in four years time the tournament will be here (again)."
But that dark incident was far from the minds of the players and vociferous but less-than-capacity crowd, which was treated to outstanding tennis.
Hingis improved to 12-2 lifetime against Seles and raised her tour-leading tournament victories this season to nine. The 20-year-old from Switzerland earned $500,000, two trophies and her 35th career title.
"Today, I was very defensive in a way," said Hingis, a winner here in 1998 and runner-up in 1996 and 1999. "She had so much power, she took her chances, and she also served very well. It was very hard to find the angles and she was running so well. I was so surprised. Sometimes in the other matches she would get tired. Not today. She played very well."
In a match decided by just seven points, Seles won her first set from Hingis since 1998. The two traded breaks and Hingis held for a 6-5 lead before they waged a lengthy battle in the 12th game, which went to nine deuces.
Seles saved three set points before converting on her seventh ad, hitting a forehand stab volley down the line to force a tiebreaker. She hit a forehand wide on her second set point but forced an error from Hingis to seal the set in 56 minutes.
In the second set, Hingis erased deficits of 0-2 and 2-4 as she ran Seles from side to side, forcing the two-handed player to make one-handed saves. At the changeover, she took a bathroom break while Seles had her left groin rubbed by the trainer.
They exchanged breaks at the start of the deciding set before Hingis held for a 3-1 lead. Seles finally had an easy service game, hitting four straight winners, and rode the crowd support to level the set at 3-3.
Hingis went ahead in the seventh game but double-faulted on break point on her own service game. The string of breaks continued as Seles put a backhand into the net for break point and Hingis nailed a cross-court backhand winner.
"I think (the breaks) were a combination of Martina returning so well and putting pressure on me, and I was probably pressing for more than I should have and my serve broke down a little bit," Seles said. "And then I knew that I have to break back, and a few times, I was able to do that and I few times I wasn't."
After Hingis double-faulted on her first match point, she hit a 92-mph ace -- her fifth of the match against nine double faults -- and Seles smacked a second-serve forehand return into the net to end the match.
"I was hoping I would not play as badly as I had done the past few times against her," Seles said. "It's just key for me to steady my nerves and I got lucky there in the first set. Then I let Martina back during the second set. It was just too tough at the end. I think both of us were pretty tired at the end. There were probably a couple of times where I reached a wall, but I knew I really wanted to win this match, and I just tried to push through it."
Hingis shook hands cordially with Seles before meeting her mother and coach, Melanie Molitor, at the side of the court, where she broke into tears.
"I was just so tired," said Hingis, who fought through cramps to become the first player to win the singles and doubles crowns here since Jana Novotna in 1997. "It has been a long few weeks now, playing singles and doubles all the time. (My mother) was like, `Don't be a baby.'"
Going without a Grand Slam title for the first time since 1996, Hingis often appeared pushed around by more powerful players this year.
She lost to Lindsay Davenport in the final of the Australian Open, Mary Pierce in the semifinals at the French Open, and to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the semifinals at the U.S. Open. However, she compiled a 77-10 record and finished the year at No. 1 for the third time in her career.
"I think that's why I wanted to do so well here," she said. "I think it has been very important for me to do well at the indoor tournaments to really show that -- this is like the fifth Grand Slam, and to be able to win it and to come through with great tournaments and winning here, I think I deserve now the respect of being No. 1. You keep reading in the papers, `She didn't win the Grand Slam this year.' But I definitely had a very good season overall, and without winning a Grand Slam."
A winner of three titles this year, Seles also captured the bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics. The former world No. 1 became the youngest player to win the season-ending championship in 1990, when she took the title at 16 years, 11 months. She successfully defended her title the next two years and owns 47 career singles crowns.
Seles only gets a few days of rest before she is back in action, playing for the United States in a semifinal tie against Belgium at the Federation Cup in Las Vegas next week.
|November 18, 2000||Seles, Hingis win semifinals at Chase Championships|
NEW YORK (Ticker) -- This relationship is pretty one-sided.
The top-seeded Hingis posted her 11th victory in 12 meetings with Kournikova, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 in the semifinals of the $2 million season-ending event. She has lost a total of five sets to the seventh-seeded Russian.
Next up for Hingis is another favorable matchup in third seed and former champion Monica Seles of the United States, who beat unseeded Russian Elena Dementieva, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) in today's second semifinal.
Hingis brings an 11-2 lifetime record against Seles into her fourth career final at this event. She won in 1998 but lost to Steffi Graf in 1996 and Lindsay Davenport last season.
"As always Martina is very consistent," Seles said. "She doesn't make any unforced errors. Her game has probably not suited my game the best. She has beaten me quite easily."
Although she did not win a Grand Slam this year, the 20-year-old from Switzerland will appear in her 14th singles final Sunday, when she vies for her tour-high ninth title of the year and 35th career.
Kournikova, whose title drought reached 81 tournaments, failed to reach her fourth career final. However, the 19-year-old Russian will finish the season at a career-high ranking of No. 7.
"In general, I'm happy with the way that I've played," said Kournikova, who hit 27 winners but committed 34 unforced errors. "I think I've improved over the last two months. I felt really confident. I wasn't nervous at all. I was just out there having a good time and trying to outplay each point."
It looked like things would be different today for Kournikova after she broke Hingis' serve twice in the first set. She served for the set at 5-4 but fell behind 15-40. Kournikova saved one break point with a forehand winner down the line but hit a backhand long on the next point to level the match.
"I think that with Martina, every time that I was up, she completely raised the level and just started making no mistakes and playing really aggressively, and coming to the net on everything, and that's kind of tough," Kournikova said. "You feel like you're ahead, but you still feel like she's coming right back at you."
However, the Russian employed sound tactics -- attacking her opponent's backhand, taking advantage of weak serves and running back anything she could. The match went to a tiebreaker, which Hingis controlled with two service winners and four winners.
"In the tiebreaker, I think I played very well, very smart, as I didn't do in the first set all the time," said Hingis, who won 63 percent of her first and second serves. "I don't think I played as well, maybe as some of the other matches, but I kept winning and I still had the little edge over her when I really picked up my game."
"I think in the tiebreaker, I made a few mistakes but she played really solidly," the Russian said. "It's not like I missed all of the shots. She played really solid so the tiebreaker is where I felt the tied turn."
Kournikova appeared to deflate in the second set and dropped her opening service game. Swinging wildly for winners or unforced errors, she managed to even the set at 2-2. But that was as close as Kournikova got as Hingis ran off four straight games to beat her teen rival for the third time in the last four weeks.
"In the last three matches, it has always been about the first set, whoever wins that," Hingis said. "In the second I was cruising through. It could have been 6-love; instead it was 6-2. In the second set, I felt I stepped it up whenever I needed."
The 26-year-old American, who missed last year's event with a foot injury and came into this season's edition with tendinitis in both feet, possibly is competing in her last season-ending tournament as it moves next year to Germany, the country where she was stabbed during a match in 1993.
"I've always had an amazing relationship here, I think even early in my career when a lot of other plays really were not so supportive of me," said Seles, who received a standing ovation from the crowd in the almost-full arena. "This week has been -- unbelievable, amazing would be the only words I could use to describe it. I think the fans are sad that it is going."
A winner of three titles this year, Seles also captured the bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics. The former world No. 1 became the youngest player to win the season-ending championship in 1990, when she took the title at 16 years, 11 months. She successfully defended her title the next two years and owns 47 career singles crowns.
Playing in her first semifinal here since 1992, Seles started the match with a flourish and built a 5-0 lead. Dementieva, playing in her first season-ending event, avoided a shutout by holding serve in the sixth game. But Seles closed out the set in 25 minutes, winning her serve at love.
"It was really tough to play against Monica," Dementieva said. "Especially in the first set, I was always late for the ball."
Continuing to power past her opponent, Seles took a 2-0 lead before Dementieva began to work herself into the match. The Russian teen broke serve in the fourth game and the two women eventually moved into a tiebreaker.
Seles took advantage of a pair of backhand errors from Dementieva and hit two service winners over 90 miles per hour to take a 5-2 lead.
Dementieva netted a backhand but saved a match point with a service winner. Seles followed with a double fault before Dementieva hit another backhand into the net, raising the nine-time Grand Slam champion's season tiebreaker record to 11-1.
This already has been a breakthrough season for the 19-year-old, who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the U.S. Open and won the silver medal at the Sydney Olympics.
"I think it has been a great year for me," said Dementieva, who ousted second seed and defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the first round and will finish the season ranked at No. 13. "It wasn't a surprise for me because I worked hard. I think it just is the result of my work."
After squaring off in singles, Hingis and Kournikova successfully defended their doubles crown and won their ninth title as a team, 6-2, 6-3 over Nicole Arendt od the United States and Manon Bollegraf of the Netherlands in tonight's final. The second seeds, who split a first-prize check of $200,000, finished the year having won four of their last five events.
Arendt and Bollegraf, who retired tonight after winning 33 career doubles titles, will share $100,000.
|November 17, 2000||Seles, Dementieva advance to Chase Championships semifinals|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Monica Seles is one step away from playing for her fourth Chase Championships title, and her feet are cooperating.
Ranked fourth in the world and seeded third in this season-ending tournament, Seles has been hampered for more than a year with a stress fracture of her right foot, an injury that caused her to pull out of last year's Championships at Madison Square Garden.
But this year is different. The tournament moves next year to Germany, where Seles has refused to play since she was stabbed in the back while playing in Hamburg in 1993. Her assailant, Guenter Parche, was never jailed.
``That's one of the reasons I decided to play with this little preparation,'' Seles said after beating Amanda Coetzer 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals Friday night.
In Saturday's semifinals, Seles will play 19-year-old Elena Dementieva, who is making her Championships debut and beat 17-year-old Kim Clijsters 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in her quarterfinal.
Seles is delighted but surprised to be in the penultimate round, especially given her lack of practice.
``I've been off for a couple of months now,'' she said. ``I'm just trying to do the best that I can and play to the best of my ability and see what happens.''
Dementieva, who reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open and the gold medal game at the Sydney Olympics, began the Championships by upsetting defending champion Lindsay Davenport. This week has built her confidence -- to a degree.
``I feel like after I beat Davenport and now Kim, I feel like nobody can beat me,'' she said. ``But I think Monica will change the situation tomorrow.''
The foot problems that have hampered Seles have disappeared, much to her surprise.
``I'm just very happy,'' she said of the lack of pain. ``Hopefully it will just keep going like the last couple of days.''
Without the pain, Seles showed quickness to go along with her two-fisted power off both sides.
She and Coetzer traded long-range laser shots that pounded the court just inside the lines. Seles, playing from just inside the baseline, was a little sharper, hit a little harder and controlled most of the rallies.
As Seles served for the first set, the 5-foot-2 Coetzer ripped a service return that was so clean that Seles applauded. Then she closed out the set with an unreturnable serve.
Seles began the second set by breaking Coetzer at 30. No more were needed as Seles was able to hold her own service games, although she was twice taken to deuce -- in the sixth and eighth games.
``The best thing about Monica's game is her competitiveness,'' Coetzer said. ``She seems to be able to raise her level at the right moment just enough.''
The Dementieva-Clijsters match figured to be a peek at the future. If it was, the future is full of unforced errors because the two committed a bundle: 39 by Dementieva, 49 by Clijsters.
After losing the opening set, Clijsters, who hadn't played since Monday night when she upset fifth-seeded Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, appeared to settle down and had no problems leveling the match at a set apiece.
Then came the longest game of the night, one that saw seven deuces, six game points and four break points before the young Belgian finally prevailed. That gave her a 4-2 lead and an apparent lock on the victory.
Dementieva had other plans. Clijsters didn't win another game as the Russian rushed through the last four games for a spot in the semis.
``It was my dream to play against Monica, and it's just a great experience for me,'' Dementieva said.
|October 26, 2000||Seles named to U.S. Fed Cup team|
WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK (TICKER) -- Olympic bronze medalist Monica Seles today was named to join Lindsay Davenport on the United States Fed Cup team for next month's World Finals in Las Vegas, the United States Tennis Association announced today.
Seles, currently sidelined with tendinitis in both feet, has played Fed Cup since 1996 and has amassed an impressive 11-1 record, including a 10-1 singles mark. She helped the U.S. win the Fed Cup in 1996 and was a member of last year's team which captured a 16th Fed Cup title, extending its own record.
"I'm excited to be part of the Fed Cup team again, and I'm looking forward to defending our title and getting together as a team," Seles said. "Between last year's great win over Russia and such a good experience in Sydney, it's always fun to be together with the other U.S. players, especially with Billie Jean (King) and Zina Garrison as the coaches."
Davenport was the first player to be named to the team on Monday. King, the U.S. Fed Cup captain, has until November 10 to round out her four-woman team, with sisters Venus and Serena Williams looming as the top choices after sweeping the singles and doubles gold medals at the Olympics in Sydney.
"The other potentials are obviously Venus and Serena," King said. "Other ones we would look at would be (Jennifer) Capriati, Lisa Raymond, Corina Morariu, Chanda Rubin and Amy Frazier."
Belgium, Spain and the Czech Republic will join the U.S. in the four-day competition November 21-15 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
The United States will face Belgium and Spain will play the Czech Republic in the semifinals from November 21-22. After a break for Thanksgiving, the winners will compete in the two-day final on November 24-25.
|October 07, 2000||Seles pulls out of Princess Cup with an inury|
TOKYO (TICKER) -- American Serena Williams cruised into the final of the $535,000 Princess Cup tennis tournament today, but compatriot Monica Seles was forced to withdraw with an injury.
Williams, the second seed, dispatched unheralded Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-4, in today's first semifinals.
Seles, the No. 1 seed and five-time champion, lost the first set, 6-4, to fourth-seeded Julie Halard-Decugis of France and trailed in the second, 3-4, before being forced to retire from the match with inflammation of the tendons in the front of the both feet.
Seles, who had never lost to Halard-Decugis in five previous matches, will receive treatment in Europe and intends to play at the Generali Ladies Linz tournament in Austria in two weeks.
"The pain in my feet started in the second game," said Seles, who came into this event having won the bronze medal in last week's Olympic Games in Sydney. "It was very painful and difficult for me to move. I've played so much tennis over the past couple of months, at the U.S. Open, the Olympics, and here in Japan. The courts here are totally different than in Sydney and the U.S. Open.
"I'm very disappointed to not win the match, but I've finally learned to put my health first. The most important thing for me now is to get healthy. My main focus is to get rid of the pain."
Williams won the women's doubles gold medal with her sister Venus at the Sydney Games. Boasting a 36-8 record, she reached her fifth final of the year and is aiming for her third title. She captured the Faber Grand Prix in Hannover, Germany in February and notched her seventh career title at Los Angeles in August.
Bedanova already has exceeded her expected reach in this event. The 17-year-old came in ranked 87th in the world but toppled seeded players Amelie Mauresmo and Amy Frazier in three sets each.
Looking for her 12th career title, Halard-Decugis is 0-3 lifetime against Williams.
First prize is $87,000.
|October 04, 2000||Seles victorius in second round at Princess Cup|
TOKYO (Ticker) -- Coming off successful runs at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Americans Monica Seles and Serena Williams cruised into the quarterfinals at the $535,000 Princess Cup tennis tournament.
Seles, the top seed, began her bid for a sixth title at this event and fourth in five years with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Swiss qualifier Miroslava Vavrinec today.
Seles lost to eventual gold medalist Venus Williams, Serena's sister, in the semifinals at the Olympics but rebounded to defeat Jelena Dokic to capture the bronze medal. She has won three titles this year and appeared in two other finals.
A runner-up here last year to Lindsay Davenport, Seles won this event in 1991-92 and 1996-98.
Vavrinec downed Hungary's Rita Kuti Kis in straight sets on Monday and lost to Seles at this event for the second straight year. Seles rolled past Vavrinec, 6-1, 6-0, in the second round last year.
|September 30, 2000||Seles beats S. Williams in exhibition match|
HONG KONG -- Monica Seles rallied from two match points down to beat Serena Williams 6-3, 0-6, 7-6 (7-1) Saturday in the Nortel Networks Challenge.
The 26-year-old Seles, who won the bronze medal in the singles at the Sydney Olympics, was too strong in the end for Williams in the exhibition match at the Victoria Park hardcourt stadium.
Williams was leading 6-5 in the decisive third set and was leading 40-15 when Seles rallied to take the match into a tiebreaker.
"I just closed my eyes and hit some great shots," Seles said while describing her dramatic comeback. "I played some great tennis lately."
Williams, who won the gold medal in the doubles at Sydney, said she "was fighting for every point."
Both players will compete in next week's Princess Cup in Tokyo.
|September 26, 2000||Seles delighted with Bronze medal|
SYDNEY, Sept 26 (Reuters) - She ended up with a bronze medal, not the gold she had hoped for but Monica Seles was still all smiles on Tuesday.
Seles beat Australian teenager Jelena Dokic 6-1 6-4 in only 59 minutes in the third-place playoff for the women's singles at the Olympic Games and said the win made up for some of the disappointment of her semi-final loss to United States teammate Venus Williams.
"I'm just happy that I won a medal," said the Yugoslavia-born former world number one. "I've never had a medal in my life before and I'm really excited that I'll be coming back for the medal ceremony tomorrow."
Seles will be presented with her medal after Wednesday's women's singles final between Williams and Russia's Elena Dementieva.
"I really didn't want to play today -- I was really down," she said. "But you can't always get the gold. Bronze is good."
Dokic, whose controversial father Damir did not attend her matches here, said she had been happy with her performances in her first Olympic Games despite missing out on a medal.
"It's been a great experience and something I can learn from," she said.
"I thought Monica played really well today. She served well, was hitting the lines and hardly gave me anything."
|September 24, 2000||V. WIlliams edges Seles in Olympic semifinals|
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) The hottest player in tennis is now an Olympic medalist.
Venus Williams clinched at least a silver and extended her winning streak to 31 matches by beating Monica Seles 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in an all-American semifinal Monday (Sunday night EDT).
Williams already has won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open this year, and she said the Olympics are probably bigger than a Grand Slam title.
"This is possibly a once-in-a-lifetime thing," she said. "Everyone is coming out and playing their best. It seems the ultimate thing is to have a gold."
The second-seeded Williams' opponent in the final will be the winner of the other semifinal between No. 10 Elena Dementieva of Russia and crowd favorite Jelena Dokic, an unseeded Australian. The loser will face the third-seeded Seles for the bronze.
Williams also remained in contention for the gold in doubles with her sister Serena.
Williams and Seles played the first match of the day before a subdued center court crowd. The gray, damp, chilly weather was reminiscent of Wimbledon, and so was Williams' performance.
She came to the net more than in previous matches at Sydney, and her power forced Seles to rush her shots and often hit off balance.
"That was a tough match," Seles said. "Venus played really well, and at the end it got really close, but she played the key points better."
The first set took just 18 minutes. Williams led 4-2 in the second set but then began to struggle with her serve, double-faulting five times in the next two games - including twice on break point - to lose the set.
Williams regained her poise in the final set. She whacked three consecutive aces for a 3-1 lead, then erased two break points with big serves in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. On the first match point, she belted a backhand winner down the line to complete the victory.
"I had some rough patches, and it could have gone either way," Williams said. "Usually when it comes down to it, I'm able to close it out in important matches."
Seles was once the hardest hitter in women's tennis, but no more. She fell to 0-5 against Williams.
Williams advanced to the semifinal Sunday with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Williams lost to Sanchez-Vicario at the French Open, then began her winning streak.
|September 19, 2000||Easy win for Seles at Olympics|
Monica SELES, (USA), the fifth seed, continued her love affair with Australian tournaments on Tuesday, easily disposing of Katalin MAROSI-ARACAMA (HUN) on centre court in just 48 minutes, 6-0 6-1.
SELES, the four time Australian Open winner, looked very comfortable, using her huge ground strokes to full advantage, freely hitting 17 winners from both sides of the court. She was impressive from the beginning, winning the first set in only 21 minutes, and continued to dictate terms in the second.
SELES only dropped one game in the entire match. MAROSI-ARACAMA had problems holding her serve, compounded by SELES winning 85 per cent of her service points on first serve in both sets.
MAROSI-ARACAMA did have a chances to break SELES in the first set, having three break points in SELES' second service game. However, in a game that would mirror the entire match, MAROSI-ARACAMA was unable to take her opportunities on the SELES serve, with SELES continually coming up with a big first serve on break points. Twice SELES slammed aces on these crucial occasions.
|September 3, 2000||Back To The Future For Seles|
|NEW YORK (AP) -- They began under
leaden afternoon skies that twice sent them into long rain delays, and
they played through the punishing humidity of a late-summer night.
Earlier in the evening, Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati faced off in a resumption of what many thought might have been one of the great rivalries in women's tennis if off-court problems had not interrupted their careers.
So much has happened to them since their magical semifinal at the Open in 1991. But for one night, at least, Seles took Capriati back in time, defeating her 6-3, 6-4.
Nine years ago, they were kids, Capriati 15 and Seles 17, slamming huge shots at each other, viewed as the future of American women's tennis. Seles captured a third-set tiebreaker that day and went on to win the championship, beating Martina Navratilova.
``I really don't think about that much anymore,'' Capriati said. ``I think it's kind of annoying a little bit, to tell you the truth.''
Seles recalls it more warmly.
``I think it's the first time in women's tennis you had such hard hitters,'' she said. ``It changed the face of women's tennis.''
On an unpleasant night that left them both drenched, there were few reminders of the tennis they once played at center court.
``She came out really strong,'' Capriati said, ``just from the first ball. She was just hitting them full speed. She served really well. It was tough for me to break every time. That put a little more pressure on my serve.
``I think it was pretty close. We had a lot of close games there. It could have gone either way.''
A year ago, they played in the round of 16 and after Capriati lost, she finished the day in tears, trying to bury her troubled past.
``I think she's found some peace,'' Seles said. ``I think she's changed a lot in a year. It's great to see that. I'm probably the same. I'm pretty even through the hard times and through the good times.''
|September 1, 2000||Seles Survives For a Rematch|
|No. 6 Monica Seles fought off the
doldrums and a spirited challenge by compatriot Chanda Rubin Friday
afternoon and set up another highly anticipated fourth-round meeting
with her one-time teenage rival, Jennifer Capriati. No. 15 Capriati,
who has had a less than stellar summer coming into the Open, continued
her Flushing revival with a 6-2, 6-3 rout of Adriana Gersi.
Seles 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 nailbiter over Rubin was played in tropical temperatures on Ashe stadium. In the end, it was Seles' ability to hammer winners in the
contest closing moments that keyed her victory, while Rubin's tentative forays were her undoing.
"I was just trying to stay in the match and really fight," Seles said. "There's not much else I could do today. I didn't want to get into long points. It did not feel my legs at all today. It was really strange. I wanted to serve well because my return game wasn't should it be against a player like Chanda."
Rubin -- a perennial top-25 player who has yet to reach the quarters here -- could have taken advantage of Seles' huffing and puffing, but failed to get
her nails into her opponent when it counted most.
"It was there," said Rubin. "If I could have kept the pressure up instead of throwing in a loose game at a tight time in the match, where I needed to keep
my foot on the gas, that cost me."
The 26-year-old Seles knows she has to improve her conditioning to be able to trip up the elite, but says that clean-and-jerking in the gym is not her
"Some people love to work out; it's the first thing they do in the morning." said Seles. "For me, the choice is to work out playing tennis. But working out is the one thing I have to do and I know I have to do for the rest of my life. I have to make peace with it."
Both Seles and Capriati are looking forward to their fourth round tango, which will be the third time they played here. Last year, Seles took her in
straight sets. In 1991, the two wide-eyed teens played one of the hardest hitting semifinals ever witnessed here.
"Certain players, it's really strange, you always play them," Seles said.
Capriati added, "I'm not going in there thinking it's going to be an epic match. I'm just going to go in there and play my best and not try to think about the past."
Capriati said that she's a much more confident player today than the one who left Flushing Meadows in tears last year. Moreover, she's much happier,
safely ensconced in what she calls a productive relationship with men's player Xavier Malisse.
"We care about each other very much," Capriati said. "If you're happy, it's going to help in every aspect. If you feel happy, secure, it makes everything
so much better."
|August 26, 2000||Williams beats Seles at the Pilot Pen|
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Venus Williams' confidence caught up to her game just in time for the U.S. Open.
The Wimbledon champion extended her career-high winning streak to four tournaments and 19 matches Saturday with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Monica Seles in the Pilot Pen final.
``I always felt I could play like this, but it is a lot of work getting to this level, especially for someone like me. I have to keep myself under control,'' Williams said.
Seles has not beaten Williams in four tries. She said Williams, seeded No. 3 for the Open, is definitely playing like the world's best player since Wimbledon.
``Venus is probably playing the best tennis on tour right now,'' Seles said. ``You can't make as many unforced errors and you have to hold your serves because to break her on a consistent basis is very difficult.''
She beat Seles in their last tournament in San Diego and has two wins over Lindsay Davenport, including the Wimbledon final.
Williams' last loss was in the quarterfinals of the French Open in early June, a 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 decision to Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.
``I've always had the groundstrokes and the serve and speed, but I never had the consistency on the big points,'' she said. ``In the past I was defeating myself most of the time.''
On Saturday, Williams broke Seles three times in the first set and kept running down deep groundstrokes that looked like winners. None were more stunning than one in the final game of the match.
Down 0-15, Seles had Williams pinned in the left corner and rifled a backhand crosscourt shot to a wide-open court. Williams was on a dead run before the ball was hit and fired back with a forehand winner down the line to go up 30-0.
``I was just going for broke,'' Williams said. ``I had no opportunities, except for that shot.''
``She just played an amazing shot,'' Seles said. ``It is a fantastic point. As another player you are, `Wow, what a great shot.' But then you just go back and try to refocus.''
There wasn't much time left for that.
The strongest server in the women's game then fired two straight aces -- at 105 mph and 114 mph -- to close out the match. She wound up with eight aces, to two for Seles.
Her younger sister, Serena, the defending U.S. Open champ, was courtside for Saturday's match, and Venus said she wanted to set a good example.
``Serena's a tough player and I want her to know that I am playing good tennis,'' she said.
The formidable sisters have won a combined five tournaments in a row -- four by Venus -- Serena took a cautious exit with a foot injury in the final of the du Maurier Open in Montreal last Sunday.
Williams said she had to tone down her power for the match because her shots had been spraying out all week. Her game, she said, still needs more tinkering before the U.S. Open.
``I was kind of playing within myself,'' she said.
``Right now I'm not adding enough topspin and forehand down low is one of my favorite shots. It's not really working for me this week, so I'm going to work on that. This week, going into the Open, I have to be serious.''
Her strong finish this year caps a season plagued early by injury. Tendinitis in both wrists kept her out of competition until May, and the Pilot Pen was only her seventh tournament. The limited play has kept her from amassing ranking points, so Martina Hingis is ranked on top. It also gave Williams time to think about her game.
``I feel like I'm mentally prepared to play everyone,'' she said. ``Since my injury, I've had time to think about just playing the match ... loving to compete.''
A confident Williams said she's preparing to be the top-ranked player on tour.
``From what I heard it's tough to stay on top once you get there,'' she said. ``So I started thinking that my preparation is coming now by learning to play consistently. When I get there it will be a good time because I think it will happen.''
|August 23, 2000||Seles rolls into semi final at the Pilot Pen|
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT -- Former world No. 1 Monica Seles continued to look strong heading into next week's U.S. Open, posting a convincing quarterfinal win today at the $535,000 Pilot Pen Tennis event.
Seles, seeded second, recorded her second straight impressive win since returning from a left forearm strain as she crushed sixth seed Dominique Van Roost of Belgium, 6-1, 6-2, in less than an hour.
Seles, who lost only five games in her second-round win on Tuesday, improved to 41-8 this season, including 20-5 on hard courts. She has won 47 career singles titles.
|August 22, 2000||Seles wins 2nd round at the Pilot Pen|
Second-seeded Monica Seles powered her way into the quarterfinals with a straight-set win over fellow Floridian Kristina Brandi.
Seles' 98 mph ace closed out the 6-2, 6-3 victory, but it was the zip on her pin-point groundstrokes all afternoon that kept Brandi on her heels.
Seles won their only previous meeting -- at Wimbledon in 1997 -- in three sets on the slower grass surface. The hardcourts of New Haven provided a speedy tuneup to next week's U.S. Open, where Seles is seeded sixth.
``The key to this week is to try to find the balance between working really hard and not getting injured,'' Seles said.
She had a two-week layoff before the Pilot Pen due to a strained left forearm and said her timing was off.
``This is the first time I played points,'' she said. ``It took me a while to get into it. I got off to a good start and then had a little bit of a letdown.''
Seles is looking for her fourth win of the year. This is her fifth Pilot Pen appearance and she lost in the semifinals last year to Williams.
|August 8, 2000||Seles withdraws from Estyle.com Classic|
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- Third-seeded Monica Seles dropped out of the estyle.com Classic on Tuesday because of a left forearm strain.
Seles, 26, hurt her arm during practice for the Acura Classic last week at the La Costa Resort near San Diego. She reached the final on Sunday, where she pushed Venus Williams to three sets before losing.
Seles was scheduled to play Elena Dementieva of Russia in the second round of the estyle.com Classic at the Manhattan Country Club. She will be replaced by lucky loser Kristina Brandi of Bradenton, Fla.
|August 6, 2000||Williams wins over Seles at Acura Classic|
San Diego, CA - Third-seeded Venus Williams collected her third consecutive WTA tour victory Sunday with a 6-0, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 victory over fourth-seeded Monica Seles in an all- American final at the $535,000 Acura Classic at the La Costa Resort and Spa.
Williams, who garnered her 12th career title, also took Wimbledon last month and the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford last week.
Williams cruised in the first set before Seles forced a third set in a tiebreaker. Williams was ahead 4-1 in the third set before Seles won two consecutive games. But Williams broke Seles to go up 5-3 and lost just one point while serving out the ultimate game.
Despite committing 14 double faults, Williams secured the victory. Seles had eight double faults, while Williams had seven aces to Seles' two.
Williams, who received the $87,000 first prize, dropped her first set in the tournament, but has now won 14 straight matches. She is 21-3 in six tournaments since returning from wrist tendinitis.
Seles is now 0-3 lifetime against Williams, and had not taken a set from her younger American counterpart until Sunday.
Williams downed American Amy Frazier in 66 minutes in Saturday's semifinal, while Seles outlasted Russian Anna Kournikova to reach the final.
|July 3, 2000||Seles reaches quarters|
Monica Seles reached her fourth Wimbledon quarter-final by beating Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-3, 6-4 in a tight and tense Court One showdown over 1hr.15min today.
The sixth seed, who reached the 1992 final in which she was defeated by Steffi Graf, secured victory after her Spanish opponent saved three match points.
Ninth seed Sanchez-Vicario, a finalist in 1995 and 1996, had been beaten by the American 18 times in their previous 21 meetings.
But the duo's first Wimbledon clash produced no change of luck for the 28-year-old despite battling Sanchez-Vicario offering tough resistance as the match, halted for rain with Seles one set up, finished in light drizzle.
|July 1, 2000||Seles into last 16|
Monica Seles remains on course for the only Grand Slam title to elude her.
The American, seeded six, defeated Sarah Pitkowski, from France, 6-0, 6-3 in 49 minutes to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon today. Seles has won the Australian Open four times, the French Open on three occasions and the United States Open twice.
The 26-year-old reached the final of The Championship in 1992.
|June 27, 2000||Seles seeks no pressure|
Monica Seles is putting no pressure on herself to reach targets in her eighth appearance in The Championships. "I am just looking forward to playing every match," she said after her first round win over Karina Habsudova of Slovakia by 3-6 6-2 7-5.
Seles, the 1992 runner-up,said: "You cannot look too far ahead.The point are very quick so I will keep practicing and hope to do better than I did today."
The sixth seeded Seles had not played Habsudova for eight years and after losing the first set had to raise her game to stay in the tournament. She levelled the match after taking the second set for the loss of only two games and in a tight final set made the key breakthrough in the eleventh game.Serving for the match,Seles came through on her first match point with a fine forehand winner down the line which Habsudova was unable to reach.
|June 04, 2000||Seles beats Mauresmo and crowd with a little luck|
PARIS (AP) -- When her final backhand clipped the net cord, popped up a few inches and trickled over to give her the victory, Monica Seles didn't bother with the traditional and rather silly hands-up sign of apology. Instead, she simply sighed deeply and strolled to the net, taking that bit of good fortune as payment due after a long, long streak of bad luck.
In reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Amelie Mauresmo on a chilly, rainy Sunday, the No. 3 Seles took another step forward in a sentimental journey at a tournament she won three straight times in happier days from 1990 to 1992.
Seles has known more than her share of bad luck over the years, from the stabbing she suffered in 1993 to the incredible string of injuries and ailments that have plagued her since. At the moment, she's bothered only by bronchitis and sinusitis that require energy-sapping antibiotics, minor stuff for her. A stress fracture in her right foot sidelined her for five months until February. When Seles is healthy and playing regularly, she is still, at 26, one of the toughest players in women's tennis. She proved that in recent months by winning three tournaments, including the Italian Open, in her best start to a year on the tour since 1992. Against the No. 13 Mauresmo, the most popular of the French players, Seles had to overcome not only a strong, fast, aggressive opponent, but a crowd that cheered Seles' errors and often chanted ``Am-el-ie'' when Seles stepped up to serve.
``In Rome, I had the whole stadium behind me, here I had the whole stadium really against me,'' said Seles, who beat Mauresmo by a similar score a few weeks ago. Yet, Seles never was one to wither meekly on the court, while the pressure to win may have been too much for Mauresmo, who double-faulted on set-point in the first set. A telling point, if not a turning point, came in the second game of the second set after Mauresmo broke Seles for a 1-0 lead that might have gotten the Frenchwoman back into the match. Now, Seles had break-point on Mauresmo and capitalized on it quickly with a sharply angled forehand crosscourt that touched the edge of the sideline. Mauresmo couldn't believe it. She walked up to the spot, stared at it, and kicked it in disgust.
The set was even again, an opportunity lost for Mauresmo, and she never again led. At 4-3, Seles broke her once more, with the help of another double-fault by Mauresmo and a forehand long on the last two points.
Seles then closed out the match on her serve with that lucky net cord, knowing a little luck is nothing to take for granted. In truth, Seles never did take anything for granted.
``My mentality, really from junior tournaments on, was I always think I'm going to lose this match,'' she said. ``Some players (think), 'I'm going to win this match,' even before it starts. I'm very negative toward myself. I've been trying for many years to change that. That's just the way, I guess, my brain works. I go in thinking, 'This might be the last match I play at this tournament.' That's kind of what I'm doing, and it really hasn't changed at all.''
Next up for Seles is another Frenchwoman, No. 6 Mary Pierce, who beat Asa Carlsson 6-2, 6-1.
|May 29, 2000||SENTIMENTAL SELES EASILY THROUGH TO SECOND ROUND AT THE FRENCH|
In her best start to the year since 1992 (Seles has won three titles in 2000), the former world No1 today laid claim to being one of the tournament's hot and very sentimental favorites.
Creaming 25 winners enroute to the simple victory, Seles proved (as always) a popular winner at Roland Garros, the 26-year-old a firm favorite with the French crowd since winning her first Grand Slam singles crown on these clay courts in 1990.
Today on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Seles unsettled her younger and less experienced opponent with a swag of net approaches that more often than not left the Croatian stranded.
She meets the winner of the Patty Schnyder vs Emmanuelle Gagliardi encounter in the next round.
|May 20, 2000||Seles back in final at Italian Open|
ROME (AP) -- Monica Seles is back in the Italian Open finals, 10 years after her only victory in Rome launched her into tennis stardom.
The hard-hitting left-hander looked like the Seles of old Saturday, hitting winners from both sides and giving no quarter in a 54-minute drubbing of unranked Corina Morariu.
Seles' 6-3, 6-1 win sets up a final against France's Amelie Mauresmo, who rolled over Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia, 6-1, 6-2 in the other semifinal.
But the story on Rome's red clay this week has been Seles, who's cranked up her game exactly a decade after she beat her idol, Martina Navratilova, to capture the 1990 Italian Open at the age of 16.
Seles would followed that win a month later with a French Open title, her first of eight Grand Slams in a 30-month stretch.
``Ten years is a long time,'' Seles said after the match. ``It's been a fantastic time, lots of highs, lots of lows and lots of in-the-middle's. But in all that time I've never lost my love of the game.''
The 26-year-old American still has a fearsome attack of two-handed forehands and backhands that can still decimate opponents.
That was the Seles of Saturday. Without the mental lapses of her three-set quarterfinal win, she wasted no time disposing of Morariu, an American ranked 43rd on the WTA tour, with a reputation for inconsistency.
``I just told myself before the match that if I win the first set, just to stay on top of her, and not let it get away like I did the last couple of matches,'' said Seles, who was pushed to three sets on Thursday and Friday.
The 6-3, 6-1 win was identical to the result of Seles' only previous meeting with Morariu, earlier this year at the clay-court tournament in Amelia Island.
Seeded No. 5, Seles hit 17 winners, while Morariu committed 22 errors on the way to losing the final two games without a point. Seles will be playing in her fourth Italian Open final, having lost to Gabriela Sabatini^Eds: AMs, RECASTS, INSERTS Seles quotes.< in 1991 and 1992.
Her opponent Sunday will be 12th-seeded Mauresmo, who cruised past the tiring, unseeded Zuluaga.
Mauresmo may offer a new hope for her countrymen heading into the French Open, having rolled into the finals of the Rome clay-court tournament while losing just one set.
``It's good to play well from beginning to end in a tournament,'' she said, after her semifinal win. ``I hope it's going to give me confidence for Roland Garros.''
Mauresmo, who reached the semifinals last year at Foro Italico, won the Sydney tournament earlier this year with wins over Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport.
|May 19, 2000||Seles makes Semis at Italian Open|
ROME (AP) -- Despite her mind ``flying away'' during key points, Monica Seles fought off hard-hitting Jelena Dokic 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Italian Open.
Dokic is 17 years old and the youngest player at the clay-court tournament. She is reminiscent of a younger Seles -- not just for being Yugoslavian-born but for her grit and searing groundstrokes.
``I really like her attitude and how much she wants to be a top 10 player,'' Seles said. ``She really expects a lot of herself, that's a good attribute to have.''
A fierce, fist-pumping Dokic beat Venus Williams in straight sets Thursday.
Seles showed that same kind of hunger 10 years ago at Foro Italico. She was 16 at the time and won her first and only Italian Open. The next month she won the French Open, the first of eight Grand Slams in a 30-month stretch.
With this year's French two weeks away, Seles hopes to sharpen her serve and her mental approach. On Friday, the serve was the sharper of the two -- Seles had five aces and made 69 percent of her first serves.
As for her state of mind, Seles said in the second set she found her ``mind flying away.''
``I really can't do that,'' she said. Asked where her mind goes when she loses her concentration, Seles said, ``Oh, I guess to the problems in my life.''
Seles, seeded fifth, will face Corina Morariu or Giulia Casoni in the next round.
In the first quarterfinal, Amelie Mauresmo beat No. 6 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 to reach the semifinals.
Mauresmo, a 20-year-old Frenchwoman, had trouble finishing off the Sanchez Vicario, who saved four match points before losing.
``She fought very hard and very well as she always does,'' said Mauresmo. ``Then I got a little tense.''
For the No. 12 seed Mauresmo, it was the second straight upset on the red clay, following her third-round win over No. 4 Mary Pierce. She will face the winner of the match between France's Nathalie Tauziat, seeded second, and Colombia's Fabiola Zuluaga.
In the second quarterfinal, Dokic lost the first set in 15 minutes before rallying to even the match. Seles then settled down in the decisive set while Dokic unraveled.
Dokic ended up double-faulting six times and committing 38 unforced errors in the match.
Dokic scored a great upset last year at Wimbledon by beating Martina Hingis in the first round. But she has not followed through on the promise of that match.
However, she has picked up her game of late, including a quarterfinal appearance at Hilton Head and a Fed Cup win over Russia's Anna Kournikova this month.
|April 20, 2000||Seles sees sign at Family Circle Cup|
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) -- Monica Seles was looking for a sign of success in the Family Circle Cup.
She finally found one on center court on Thursday.
While Seles, ranked third, was losing the second set to ninth-seeded Elena Likhovtseva, she noticed a sign in the top rows that said ``Monica rules the clay.''
``Thank God that's true today,'' said Seles, who with the crowd's support pulled out a third-set tiebreaker to beat Likhovtseva 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5) and reach the quarterfinals.
Seles won the season's first clay court tournament at Amelia Island, Fla., last week, and continued her strong play against Likhovtseva, who ousted Seles here in this round a year ago.
This time, Seles fought back when Likhovtseva blitzed through the second set and led 6-5 in the third. The seven-time Grand Slam champion nailed a 103 mph ace and zipped a forehand past Likhovtseva to force the tiebreaker.
Seles was defeated in third-set tiebreakers at Sea Pines Racquet Club in the 1997 finals by Martina Hingis and the 1998 semifinals by Irina Spirlea. She trailed 2-0 in this one.
With the packed crowd calling her name and urging her on, Seles hit a laser-like backhand winner to take her first lead, 4-3. Likhovtseva saved two match points before pushing a forehand wide and Seles was spared another close defeat here.
``I think I was really frustrated with my serve today and it just let me down a lot in the match,'' said Seles, who will next face 11th-seeded Ruxandra Dragomir. ``I let Elena come back tons of times and here I said `This is happening in the tiebreak.' I was lucky she just missed that shot on match point.''
Seles has already had a memorable season, winning at Oklahoma City and Amelia Island and reaching the semifinals of the Ericsson Open in which she lost to Hingis 6-0, 6-0. Seles knows she's still far from the form that won three straight French Opens from 1990-92.
``I'm playing some good tennis periods, but also I have huge drops in my game,'' Seles said. ``Today, I definitely had some huge drops and then I had some really good highs, so hopefully, I'll get a little bit more consistent in a couple of aspects of my game.''
Likhovtseva said she would close in and overtake Seles, then wait for her opponent to falter. ``She's not the kind of player who does that too often,'' Likhovtseva said.
No one will likely come close to Seles' fan support. Despite never winning in three previous tries, Seles was the runaway favorite of the gallery.
They ``really helped me to regroup a lot there and just know that, OK, people are still believing in you even if you are not at this point in your own self,'' she said.
|April 16, 2000||Seles back with impressive win at Bausch & Lomb|
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (AP) -- Her victory complete, her title secured, Monica Seles immediately looked to the crowd and applauded. She knows how fickle fans -- and tennis -- can be.
Just two weeks removed from the worst loss of her career, Seles smoothed over doubts about her health and desire Sunday, winning a repeat title in the Bausch & Lomb Championships with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Conchita Martinez.
After match point, the third-seeded Seles acknowledged the crowd, putting her racquet and hand together to applaud. It was a quite different interaction than two weeks ago in the Ericsson Open, when she was showered with boos after a 6-0, 6-0 semifinal loss to Martina Hingis.
``Different experiences make you as a person,'' Seles said. ``That was one of the harder experiences of my life. But I don't think everyone understood the whole story.''
Seles' ankle was bothering her that day and many people were wondering if the ninth-ranked player in the world still had what it took to grit it out against the best in the world.
She showed signs of that at Amelia Island Plantation, dominating four matches over the span of 48 hours after rain washed out nearly a full two days' worth of play.
``It was great that I was able to hold up, both physically and emotionally,'' Seles said.
Earlier in the day, Seles defeated Paola Suarez 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the final. Fourth-seeded Martinez beat 12th-seeded Elena Likhovtseva by the same score to set up another meeting in one of the most lopsided series on tour.
Seles improved to 18-1 lifetime against Martinez. Over 11 years in this series, Martinez has won only three sets. In the past year, Seles has surrendered only 16 games to the Spaniard, who celebrated her 28th birthday Sunday.
``Conchita's style suits me very well,'' Seles said. ``You always have players you like to play and players you don't like to play. Conchita is one of the ones I like to play.''
Martinez enjoyed only one highlight during her 1-hour, 12-minute stay on center court -- a postmatch rendition of ``Happy Birthday to You'' from the crowd that obviously felt for the overmatched runner-up.
Seles took control of points early, dictating pace and nullifying Martinez' efforts to play the off-pace game that has served her well over the years.
Martinez seemed to sense her fate, walking around with a bemused look and muttering to herself, especially after Seles started painting lines with her patented two-handed forehand early in the first set.
``It's probably mental,'' Martinez said. ``You try to change a little. But I'm not going to serve and volley or go to net more because I won't be comfortable doing that. You just try to go for your shots a little more because she hits so hard and puts a lot of pressure on.''
About the only drama occurred early in the second set when a ballboy, Josh Glisson, briefly passed out. He walked off the court under his own power and tournament officials said he was OK.
Seles earned $87,000 for the victory, the 46th singles championship of her career. She hasn't lost a set in her two years of dominance at Amelia Island.
It was a much better experience than at the Ericsson.
And many of those who were wondering if she should retire might be second-guessing themselves now, especially considering Seles has only lost three matches this year, all to the top two players in the world.
``I just like living in the present,'' Seles said. ``I don't dwell too much on the past. Maybe that's why I played so well this week.''
|April 12, 2000||Seles moves on at Baush & Lomb|
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (AP) -- Gaining steam as the night wore on, Monica Seles began her Bausch & Lomb title defense with a 7-6 (0), 6-0 victory over Anna Smashnova on Wednesday.
The third-seeded Seles played evenly with the 40th-ranked player in the world until the first-set tiebreaker, which she started with an ace, continued with a pair of backhand winners and closed with a 7-0 shutout.
Seles lost only seven points in the 16-minute second set. The fifth game was most impressive. Teeing off on Smashnova's serve, Seles hit three straight winners that left her opponent rolling her eyes and looking skyward in confusion.
``I didn't want to have another long set,'' Seles said. ``I just said, try to step up your game and go for your shots. If you lose, at least lose that way. Don't lose playing something that's her game or not my game.''
Seles' game included serves over the 100-mph mark and an array of service returns that barely allowed Smashnova to get into the points.
The nine-time Grand Slam champion showed no ill effects from an ankle injury that bothered her at the Ericsson Open two weeks ago. She lost 6-0, 6-0 to Martina Hingis in the semifinals and left the court to boos from a normally adoring crowd.
But this is a new week, a new season. And Seles overcame some early awkwardness to look right at home in this, the first clay-court tournament of the year.
``It's such a difference moving on this compared to the hard courts,'' said Seles, who hadn't been on the clay in eight months before this week. ``It takes time to adjust for everybody. I mean, we're humans just like everybody else.''
|March 31, 2000||Man Charged With Stalking Hingis|
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) -- A man who claims he is romantically involved with Martina Hingis was arrested and charged with stalking her at the Ericsson Open.
Dubravko Rajcevic, 45, had been following Hingis and sending her letters, her coach and mother, Melanie Molitor, told police. He was charged with stalking and trespass after warning, both misdemeanors, and released Friday on $1,000 bond.
Rajcevic told Miami's WPLG-TV that he and Hingis have a relationship.
``I'm not stalking Martina,'' he said. ``I believe she feeds off my positive energy. She knows me well.''
Hingis, 19, who will play Lindsay Davenport in the final Saturday, declined to comment.
Rajcevic has followed Hingis at other tournaments, Molitor told police. He has an Australian passport and was staying at a hotel in downtown Miami.
When Rajcevic was seen at the tournament Wednesday, police told him to leave and warned him not to return. He was spotted at the tournament again Thursday and arrested, police said
|March 30, 2000||Hingis gives Monica her worst career loss|
MIAMI-- The result was so unexpected that Monica Seles heard boos from the fans.
For the first time in 535 career matches, Seles failed to win a game, suffering a stunning 6-0, 6-0 loss to top seed and world No. 1 Martina Hingis of Switzerland in the women's semifinals at the $5.725 Ericsson Open.
"I'm pretty pleased with having a win like this going into the final," Hingis said. "I just have to play my game and hold my serve. I was able to do that and break her (Davenport) two weeks ago in the final (Indian Wells, California). I hope I can continue what I was doing there."
The nightmare ended for Seles when she double-faulted on match point as Hingis needed only 39 minutes to advance to her fifth straight WTA Tour final this season.
"I definitely feel very disappointed," said Seles, who fell to 2-10 lifetime against Hingis. "I think she played well and I wasn't playing well and I had a hard time moving. A combination of that was not good today."
Bothered by a twisted ankle, Seles won only 22 points. A two-time champion here, she was sidelined for six months with a stress fracture in her foot before making a successful season debut by capturing her 45th career singles title earlier this month in Oklahoma City.
"I think serving two double-faults at the end definitely didn't help," said Seles on the booing. "It's hard not to be down after a performance like today. It's the semifinals. I really expected a lot more of myself than what I showed today."
Seles said she took chances on some shots because of her poor mobility.
``I had a hard time moving sideways,'' she said. ``I started making many more errors, and I could not bend down for balls. A combination of that against someone as consistent as Martina is not going to work.''
Hingis agreed that Seles wasn't 100 percent.
``She made some faces sometimes,'' Hingis said. ``She looked like she was in pain. I was almost surprised she didn't quit.''
Seles said she didn't think about defaulting, even after falling behind 5-0 in the first 13 minutes.
Perhaps the ugliest moment came on the final point of the first set, when Seles' momentum carried her off the court as she chased down a drop shot. She stood helplessly next to her changeover chair as Hingis hit a winner into the open court.
Seles won only eight points in the opening set and 14 in the second. The drubbing eclipsed her worst previous defeat 11 years ago, a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Steffi Graf at Wimbledon.
Seles was 15 then. On Thursday she looked a lot older.
|March 10, 2000||Seles has easy win at Indian Wells|
INDIAN WELLS, California (AP) -- Monica Seles was happy with the win. She just wasn't happy with her game.
"I was having trouble with my first serve today because I've been trying to change the motion," said Seles, who needed 65 minutes to move into the third round of the $2 million Tennis Masters Series with a 6-1, 6-2 victory Friday over Silvia Farina.
"We have played two times before and I know she's a good player," Seles said of her Italian opponent.
But not good enough.
Seles won this tournament in 1992 when she was the top-ranked player in the world. The event, formerly known as the Evert Cup, is being played this year for the first time in the new Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
After a six-month layoff because of a stress fracture in her right foot, Seles won her 45th career title two weeks ago in Oklahoma City. Last week, she reached the quarterfinals in Scottsdale, Arizona.
|March 03, 2000||Davenport hands Monica her first loss in 2000|
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Lindsay Davenport ended Monica Seles' season-opening victory streak Friday, beating the nine-time Grand Slam champion 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic.
Davenport improved to 12-1 this year and dropped Seles to 6-1, using a strong serve and corner-seeking groundstrokes to win the last five games of the second set.
``To come back from 4-1 against Monica Seles is pretty tough to do,'' Davenport said. ``It was just being more consistent with my shots and trying to get them a little deeper. If I hit it short, she was just stepping into the ball today.''
Davenport had six of her 13 aces in the match while holding service three times from that point.
She also broke Seles' serve in the seventh and ninth games, taking advantage of a double fault in each. At 30-30 in the ninth, Davenport hit a rocket into the corner off Seles' second serve and went ahead, then won the game when Seles returned a volley into the net.
Davenport finished it with her second ace in the 10th game, winning her fifth straight in seven meetings with Seles.
``I really wasn't tired,'' said Seles, who won her 45th career title last week despite not having played since she broke her right foot in September. ``I think I got more frustrated which -- looking back now -- I shouldn't have, because I wound up serving not as well after I started battling myself.''
Seles was No. 5 at the time of her injury, but tumbled to No. 14 because she couldn't compete.
She rebounded to No. 9 after her triumphant return in Oklahoma City, and this week beat Silvija Talaja and eighth-seeded Barbara Schett in straight sets to advance in the acknowledged toughest draw in Scottsdale.
``It's tough,'' said Davenport, who sat out five weeks after pulling a hamstring while winning the Australian Open in January. ``She's been coming off a long layoff, and the other night after only being off one month, I felt awkward. I can't imagine being off six months and trying to come back.''
|March 02, 2000||Seles' comeback continues at State Farm Classic!|
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- If nothing else, Monica Seles' nerves are as strong as ever.
The former top-ranked player weathered her second straight high-intensity set to beat eighth-seeded Barbara Schett 7-6 (9), 6-1 Thursday and advance to the quarterfinals of the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic.
"At the end, it comes down to who's better and who performs better under a tight bit of pressure, but still there's an awful lot of luck involved," said Seles who, after a six-month layoff because of a stress fracture in her foot, won her 45th career singles title last week.
Seles is unseeded in a WTA event for the first time since 1989 because her victory Sunday in Oklahoma City, which lifted her to No. 9 in the world, was too late to affect the seeding in Scottsdale.
She battled through four set points Wednesday before winning the second set 7-6 (7) and knocking Silvija Talaja out of the first round. The next day, she led 5-2 in the first set before Schett won four of the next five games to force a tiebreaker.
This time, Seles twice had Schett, Austria's highest-ranked player (No. 13), within a point of elimination only to watch her tie it at 7 and 8.
Schett had a 9-8 lead the only time Seles faced set point, and Seles tied it for the last time with a forehand winner. Two points later, she ended the set with a service winner to Schett's forehand.
"I have big trouble with her serve," said Schett, winless in five matches with Seles. "I don't really like her serve. I just don't like left-hand serves. It's good that there's not too many left-handers on the tour."
The second set lasted only 21 minutes as Seles broke the frustrated Schett in the first, third and seventh games.
"When I felt the air go out of her was at 3-love," Seles said. "I think she had those two breaks, I knew then."
|March 01, 2000||Seles moves on at State Farm Classic|
Monica Seles, unseeded in a WTA event for the first time since 1989 despite winning last Sunday in Oklahoma City, fought off four set points to defeat Silvija Talaja of Croatia 6-1, 7-6. Seles, back from five months off because of a stress fracture in her right foot, broke Talaja's service in the 10th game of the second set and took a 6-5 lead with a game-ending ace. Talaja held service in the 12th game, starting with an ace on her first serve.
Talaja had set point at 6-3 in the tiebreaker but Seles tied it with three volley-ending shots, and again at 7-6 after what Seles called ``the volley of a lifetime.''
After a long series of groundstrokes and great returns, Talaja floated a precise half-volley to Seles' right. The left-handed Seles extended, lifted a backhand over the net, stunning Talaja and tying it again.
``That shot was automatic,'' said Seles, who ended the match on an unforced error by Talaja and a crosscourt winner. ``That's one of those shots that you just make. I didn't see it land.''
|February 28, 2000||Seles back in top 10!|
Monica Seles jumped back into the top 10 of the WTA Tour rankings here Monday after winning the title in her first tournament since last September.
Seles jumped five places to ninth, the biggest leap among the WTA's top 20 players, after beating France's Nathalie Dechy on Sunday in the Oklahoma City final. Seles had been out for five months with a broken right foot.
|February 28, 2000||Shopping with Seles|
So, what did one of the tour's most recognizable stars do with her spare time in Oklahoma City?
Monica Seles did a little shopping, among other things.
"I've been a lot on the phone with my friends," she said. "I went to the mall. There's a fantastic mall here. I didn't buy much, just a wallet. But there are some great stores."
Seles wasn't sure if it was Penn Square or 50 Penn Place where she did her shopping. She also saw a movie, giving thumbs up to "Hanging Up," starring Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow.
"It's a tough movie because it's about a father dying, so it got to be a little emotional for me," said Seles, whose father died two years ago.
|February 28, 2000||Seles: Just Plane Good|
Down 5-2 in the second set Sunday, Monica Seles played like she had a plane to catch.
Truth be known, she did.
Finding herself in a struggle for the first time all week at the IGA Superthrift Tennis Classic, Seles rallied for another straight-set win in the final, defeating France's Nathalie Dechy 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).
"I'm here, I've got to catch a 4 o'clock flight," said an out-of-breath Seles, greeting the post-match media contingent shortly before 3 p.m. That was less than half an hour after finishing off her 45th career tournament singles victory before a second consecutive sellout crowd of 2,707 at Abe Lemons Arena.
Maybe Seles didn't need to miss that plane. Or, playing in her fourth match since September because of injury, maybe she wanted no part of a third set.
"I knew I was pretty close to it, and if that's what would be, fine," said the second-seeded Seles, who won $33,000 with the title. "But I preferred not to, that's for sure.
"You have to raise the level of your game, and I did that. But, again, I prefer not to be in that situation again."
In her three previous matches -- all straight-set sweeps -- Seles didn't even need an hour to dispose of Italy's Francesca Lubiani, France's Sarah Pitkowski and South Africa's Amanda Coetzer, the world's 16th-ranked player.
So excuse Seles, ranked No. 14 in the world, if she booked the earliest flight out of Oklahoma City for Phoenix, where she'll land today and prepare for the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic in Scottsdale.
Seles is a former No. 1 player in the world who had won 44 tournament titles and almost $12 million before Sunday. The 21- year-old Dechy, unseeded although ranked No. 26, was playing in her first WTA Tour final.
Still, it wasn't easy for Seles on Sunday, at least not after Dechy adjusted to the atmosphere.
"I was feeling very well from yesterday," said Dechy, who earned $17,500 as the tournament runner-up. "And before the match I was feeling good. I felt that I could do a big step. But those first few games were a little bit tough.
"I didn't serve very well. I think I was looking around. It was my first finals, so maybe it took me a lot of time to get going. But then in the second set I felt really well."
Felt well and played well.
Dechy, playing more aggressively, broke Seles to go up 4-2 in the second set, then held serve after facing break point to push her lead to 5-2.
And already passengers were arriving at Will Rogers Airport for that flight to Phoenix.
So Seles turned to her big serve -- clocked consistently at 100 mph-plus -- to close out the game that pulled her to within 5-3. Then she broke Dechy at love to get back on serve, before firing two aces in a love game that brought her back even at 5-5.
After both players held serve to make it 6-6, Seles owned the tiebreaker, getting a mini-break on the first point and romping 7-3.
"She played very well," Seles said of her first-time foe. "She was very aggressive. If I hit anything short, it was pretty much a winner (for her). I think her serve started picking up, and she's an extremely good mover.
"It was a very see-saw match. I think she started off slower, then I started off slower in the second set. It was very back and forth, especially in the second, when there were a couple of key points that went her way first, then they started to go my way."
And when those key points shifted back to Seles, Dechy was in trouble.
"She served really well," Dechy said. "And then on my serve, I don't know what happened. I didn't do any unforced errors. I think she just upgraded her level."
The ultimate level Seles is striving for is a return to Grand Slam contender status, coming back from a stress fracture in her foot. Still, she said the victory in Oklahoma City wouldn't soon be forgotten.
"It fits in very high up, just because I didn't play for five months coming in here and didn't get that much chance at practice," Seles said. "I wasn't very sure of my game. It's great to know that in a short amount of time, I can play well and that I didn't lose as much when I left the tour in September."
As for Dechy, she enjoyed her first final, despite the outcome.
"It was a nice feeling to be in the finals," said Dechy, who had her best year on tour in 1999. "I wish I could have stayed longer on the court because I was really starting to enjoy it. Maybe next year. Next time."
Or maybe sooner, somewhere else.
Like Seles, Dechy is on her way to Arizona.
"Next week at Scottsdale, it's outdoors," said Dechy. "We just have one day to get used to it and that's a really tough draw also. But I'm happy. I think I'm going to be very confident. I hope if it's not next week, it's going to be the week after."
|February 27, 2000||Seles wins final at IGA Superthrift Tennis Classic|
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Monica Seles completed her return from a foot injury by beating Nathalie Dechy of France in straight sets Sunday to win the $180,000 IGA SuperThrift Tennis Classic.
Seles won 6-1, 7-6 (3) in 75 minutes to cap a week in which she didn't lose a set and was broken just twice. Sunday's match was the only one of her four that lasted more than an hour.
Seles, ranked No. 14 in the world and seeded No. 2, had not played in a tournament since losing the final of the Princess Cup in Tokyo to Lindsay Davenport in late September. Since then, she has been recovering from a stress fracture in her right foot.
She said the foot gave her no trouble this week. She moved well, although she hasn't returned to her peak playing weight.
``I think I'm just really happy that I have no pain anywhere in my feet,'' she said. ``Hopefully the doctor's going to clear me in about 10 days so I'll be able to run and do sprints, and I think that's going to help my general conditioning.''
Dechy, the No. 5 seed and ranked 26th, had not dropped a set before Sunday. But she lost all three of her service games in the first set, which ended in just 24 minutes.
The two stayed on serve until the sixth game of the second set, when Dechy broke Seles to take a 4-2 lead.
Trailing 3-5, Seles broke Dechy at love to get the set back on serve. She took control of the tie-breaker by winning the first three games and eased to the victory, which was worth $33,000.
``I just knew it was one break down and I was returning terribly in the second set,'' Seles said. ``Again at 5-all I had a terrible return game so I was really lucky to win that match. I think my serve pulled me out in those couple games.''
Seles was a late replacement for two-time defending champion Venus Williams, who withdrew due to injury. It was Seles' first appearance in Oklahoma City, one she said turned out to be a perfect fit.
``I didn't play for five months and I really coming in here didn't get that much chance to practice and I was a little bit unsure of my game,'' she said. ``It's just great to know that in a short period of time I can play well.''
|February 24, 2000||Seles into semi final at IGA Superthrift Tennis Classic|
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Monica Seles continued her comeback from a foot injury with another easy victory Thursday night, beating Sarah Pitkowski of France 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the $180,000 IGA SuperThrift Tennis Classic.
Seles, ranked 14th in the world and seeded second in the tournament, needed just 42 minutes to put away the eighth-seeded Pitkowski.
It was only the second match since late September for Seles, who suffered a stress fracture in her right foot during competition in Japan.
``I was just playing so well tonight,'' said Seles, who won her opening match in 55 minutes. ``Everything was just really going my way. And as soon as I built up that big of a lead, I started playing even better.''
She said a few things could have been better, ``but I really felt like I played at a high level, which I know I have to do if I want to get back to winning some big tournaments and grand slams again.''
Seles will meet the winner of Friday's Amanda Coetzer-Lisa Raymond match in a semifinal Saturday. The third-seeded Coetzer of South Africa had to win two tiebreakers to beat Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4) on Thursday.
``I probably didn't hit the ball well, but I competed well,'' said Coetzer, ranked 17th in the world. ``She played pretty well but I gave her a couple of games in the first set.''
|February 22, 2000||Seles returns with easy victory at IGA Superthrift Tennis Classic|
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Monica Seles, playing for the first time in nearly five months, eased past Francesca Lubiani of Italy 6-3, 6-3 Tuesday night in the second round of the $170,000 IGA SuperThrift Tennis Classic.
Seles, ranked 14th in the world and seeded No. 2, hadn't played since losing to Lindsay Davenport in the final of the Princess Cup in Tokyo on Sept. 26. She has been recovering from a stress fracture in her right foot.
Seles was a late addition to this tournament, replacing two-time defending champion Venus Williams, who withdrew due to an injury. She got a first-round bye because she is the second seed of the tournament.
Seles, 26, is heavier than her prime playing weight but had little trouble with the 140th-ranked Lubiani, winning in 55 minutes.
``Physically, I feel fine,'' Seles said. ``I don't think I moved the best out there. I felt a little bit stiff. So hopefully as the matches go on, that will change.''
Lubiani lost her first two service games and didn't recover in the first set. Seles closed out the set by breaking serve for a third time, finishing with a backhanded crosscourt return of a first serve.
The two stayed on serve through the second set before Seles broke Lubiani in the eighth game, winning the final four points after falling behind 30-love. She ended the match with her 10th ace of the night.
Seles said she only started hitting balls again about 10 days ago, and that most of her exercise came on a stationary bike.
``It's not like I could do running and sprinting,'' she said. ``I was pretty sedentary on a bicycle, so finally to be able to move and run and absolutely feel no pain is just a great feeling.''
She said Lubiani, also a left-hander who prefers to stays on the baseline, was an ideal opponent for her return.
``She's a player that makes you hit a lot of balls, she hits it pretty flat. She likes hard courts and supreme surfaces,'' Seles said. ``And also it was great that she played a lot of matches coming into today's match. I knew that she would have the match toughness and I was just the opposite.''
The tournament's top seed, Julie Halard-Decugis of France, plays her first-round match Wednesday.
|February 21, 2000||Seles returns to action at IGA Superthrift Tennis Classic|
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA (TICKER) -- With two-time defending champion Venus Williams sidelined since November due to injury, fellow American Monica Seles makes her return after a lengthy absence at this week's $170,000 IGA Superthrift Tennis Classic.
Seles has been out of action since last September with a stress fracture in her right foot. The injury forced her to miss the season-ending Chase Championships in November and the Australian Open last month.
The 26-year-old Seles has 44 career singles titles, with her most recent coming at Amelia Island, Florida last April. A former world No. 1, Seles has seen her WTA Tour ranking slip to No. 14 due to her inactivity.
Seeded second, Seles received a bye into the second round. She plays her first match on Tuesday night against qualifier Francesca Lubiani of Italy, who posted a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jana Nejedly of Canada in today's first round.
|February 9, 2000||Seles Receives Flo Hyman Award|
WASHINGTON -- Speaking before congressional leaders and other dignitaries to accept an award, Monica Seles was so nervous her voice cracked.
A few minutes later, in casual conservation, she settled down enough to talk about her 1993 stabbing.
Seles was the No. 1 player in the world when she was stabbed in Hamburg, Germany.
Seles' ability to overcome adversity and return to the elite of her sport earned her the annual Flo Hyman Award, presented Wednesday on National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
"In a single moment, the script changed forever," Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said in presenting the award. "She rewrote her own script."
Seles is the 15th recipient of the honor, named after the Olympic volleyball player who died suddenly from a ruptured aorta in 1986. Seles joins Chris Evert, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova as the fourth tennis player honored.
"It's very special," Seles said. "I'm very fortunate to be playing a sport I love and make a fantastic living at it."
Rep. Ted Stevens, R-Ala., referred to as the "Father of Title IX," received a special award for his contribution to women's sports. Title IX is a 1972 a federal law designed to equalize money spent on men's and women's sports.
Stevens used the opportunity Wednesday to make a case for a bill he's sponsoring that would require schools to provide each student at least one hour of physical education class per day.
Seles, one of four women tennis players to earn more than $10 million in prize money, was fortunate to play in one of the few women's sports that received widespread attention over the past few decades. However, she said she still plays under a glass ceiling.
"Definitely," she said. "There's still quite a difference in terms of our regular tour prize money and at the Grand Slams, too. The only Grand Slam that provides equal prize money is the U.S. Open. You train the same amount of hours, there's no difference."
Seles was the No. 1 player in the world when she was stabbed during a changeover at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany. She stayed away from the WTA Tour for more than two years, but returned to become the tour's comeback player of the year in 1995. She's currently ranked 13th in the world.
"I think I've put it behind me, but it's always going to be brought up," Seles said. "And I think in life there are going to be more times that I'm going to have to go through adversity. You have to move on. It's such a gift to be here every single day."
Seles, 26, acknowledged she is a more content person now than when she was a giggling teen-ager ruling her sport.
"I was 16, 17, 18 at that time, and I was 19 when I got stabbed," Seles said. "So a lot of life experiences change and a lot of your outlook on life. I still want to strive to be the best that I can be. As long I love to play, I think I will."
Seles is recovering from a stress fracture of her right foot, but will return to the circuit in the State Farm Championships at Scottsdale, Ariz., later this month. It's unlikely she will ever be the dominant No. 1 again, especially with the wave of new, younger and stronger players such as Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Amelie Mauresmo on the rise.
"All the women are getting stronger, and that's the future of women's tennis," Seles said. "I think as a player, you have to make those adjustments. All of us can be to a certain point strong. There's so much genetics and just nature that come into force.
"I just started lifting weights. I need to do that more. You can hopefully stay feminine and still be strong."
|February 2,2000||Seles withdraws from Toray Pan Pacicifc|
Monica has withdran from this week's Toray Pan Pacific Open and will not be able to defend her semi-final points. She is continuing her rehabilitation on her right foot and hopes to return to the tour soon.
As a result of not playing any tennis so far this year, Monica will drop out of top 10 on the WTA rankings next week.
|January 10, 2000||Seles withdraws from Australian Open|
World No.6 Monica Seles has been forced to withdraw from the first Grand Slam of the year due to a continuing right foot injury.
The four-time Australian Open champion (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996) collected a title in Amelia Island, reached two finals (Canada and Tokyo) and made the semifinals and quarterfinals of last year's French Open and Wimbledon respectively before being sidelined with the foot injury in October.
"It's always disappointing to lose a sentimental favourite like Monica," said Australian Open Chief Executive, Paul McNamee. "We wish Monica well for a full recovery and hope to see her out here next year."
|January 1, 2000||ESPN to Air Chris Evert Celebrity Classic|
ESPN will air the Chris Evert Celebrity Classic on Sunday, January 2, 2000 from 2P-3P CENTRAL STANDARD TIME.
Monica participatd in the this event with Chris Evert and George Bush. Be sure to set your VCR's!