News from 2001

12/31/01 Seles and Gambill defeat France 3-0 at Hopman Cup

PERTH, Australia (AP) -- Americans Monica Seles and Jan-Michael Gambill swept France 3-0 in the Hopman Cup team tennis event Monday and revealed identical wishes for 2002 -- to stay healthy and play a full season.

The top-seeded United States didn't drop a set to Virginie Razzano and Arnaud Clement of unseeded France in its opening Group A match at the Burswood Dome.

Seles, a crowd favorite in Perth who won the event for Yugoslavia in 1991, defeated Razzano 6-3, 6-4. After the match, she said she felt her foot injury which marred 2001 was behind her.

``I have zero pain,'' she said.

Gambill beat Clement 6-4, 6-4 before Seles and Gambill won the mixed doubles 6-1, 6-4.

After injury-plagued seasons this year, Seles and Gambill are desperate for any change of routine that may keep their troublesome injuries at bay.

For Gambill that may mean employing a full-time trainer, while for Seles it was a 4 a.m. swim with wild dolphins in a coastal city 30 minutes south of Perth.

``It was one of the most magical experiences of my life, getting to swim with them in the wild was unbelievable,'' Seles said.

Gambill has been in training for only two weeks and started serving only six days ago after a season-long arm injury.

``I have to look after it, my resolution for New Year's is to keep myself injury-free,'' he said. ``To tell the truth I'm surprised at how well I played today. To serve as well as I did out there is great.''

Australia, the second seeds and in Group B, beat defending champions Switzerland 3-0 on Sunday, while Spain defeated Argentina 3-0.

Belgium takes on Italy and Spain plays Switzerland on Tuesday.

The winners of each group play in the final on Saturday.

12/28/01 Seles' brother arrested on drunken driving charge

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) -- The older brother of Monica Seles was arrested and charged with drunken driving after losing control of his car and hitting a tree.

He was treated at the scene of the accident, according to a police report, which did not detail any injuries.

The accident happened early Wednesday while Zoltan Seles was driving home from a club and veered out of control, the police report said.

The car knocked down a sign, hit a tree and rolled. The 36-year-old brother of the tennis star was pinned in the wreckage and had to be pulled out by rescue crews.

Police said breathalyzer tests showed Seles had a blood-alcohol level of 0.172 to 0.177 -- more than twice the .08 level at which the state considers drivers drunk.

Seles of Sarasota was charged with driving under the influence with property damage and was being held in jail Friday on $500 bail. He does not yet have an attorney, according to court records.

Zoltan Seles was a one-time junior tennis champion in the family's native Yugoslavia.

On Dec. 5, Monica Seles was involved in an accident with a woman police said was driving drunk.

Seles and her mother, Ester, sustained minor injuries. The driver of the other car, Cynthia Bauman, was arrested on four counts of DUI and causing damage to people or property.

12/07/01 Seles treated for minor injuries in car accident

VENICE, Fla. (AP) -- Monica Seles and her mother were treated for minor injuries after a car accident in which the other driver was charged with driving under the influence, police said.

The 28-year-old tennis star and her 62-year-old mother, Ester, were taken by ambulance to Doctors Hospital and later released. A hospital spokeswoman on Friday would not comment on the treatment, citing patient confidentiality.

Monica Seles was driving her sports utility vehicle Wednesday night when a pickup truck driven by Cynthia Bauman turned directly in front of Seles' path, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.

Bauman, 42, was taken to the Sarasota County Jail and charged with DUI causing personal injury and property damage, and making an improper left turn, according to FHP reports. She was not injured.

Howard Tidwell, 41, of Sarasota, a passenger in Bauman's truck, also was treated for minor injuries.

According to a highway patrol report, Bauman turned in front of Seles, causing both vehicles to spin. The report did not say how fast the motorists were going. Damage was listed at $20,000 for each vehicle.

Troopers said Seles, of Sarasota, and her mother were wearing seat belts. Seles' agent did not immediately return a phone call by The Associated Press.

12/01/01 Navratilova tackles Seles in singles return

LONDON (Reuters) - Eighteen-times Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova is stepping back on to the singles court this weekend to tackle the woman who took over her mantle.

Navratilova, who retired from tennis in 1994 after 22 years at the top of the game, has agreed to face fellow naturalized American Monica Seles on Saturday night, and cannot wait for the challenge.

``I'm very excited to be playing tennis with Monica Seles. Playing against top players is something I really love to do,'' she told Reuters from her base in the U.S..

``The last time Monica and I played was for her comeback, so maybe this match signals my comeback,'' the 45-year-old added before laughing: ``No...Just kidding.''

Seles, currently ranked 10th in the world, had been scheduled to play Lindsay Davenport in an exhibition match but the world number one withdrew because of injury.

Navratilova, who returned to the Tour in 2000 to play selected doubles events, stepped in to set up the nostalgic clash.

The pair will face off in a Connecticut casino, where all the money will be on current world number 10 Seles beating her 45-year-old opponent.

Seles came on to the scene in 1989, the year Navratilova reached the final at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open .

With 17 Grand Slam titles under her belt, Navratilova's best years were already behind her, although she did win Wimbledon the following year in 1990.


But that was the breakthrough year for Seles. Between 1990 and 1993 the Yugoslav-born youngster won eight of the 11 Grand Slam tournaments she entered.

Navratilova won the first three matches she played against Seles, but the tide soon turned and by the time the Czech-born American hung up her racket she trailed Seles 10-7 in head-to-head matches played.

Navratilova won a record 167 singles titles during her career, more than any other tennis player.

Her haul of Grand Slam singles titles includes a record nine at Wimbledon.

Between Wimbledon in 1983 and the 1984 U.S. Open, Navratilova made a clean sweep of six straight Grand Slam titles, tying Margaret Court's record from 1969-1971.

Seles is still playing on the WTA tour and at one stage her career record might have equaled Navratilova's.

Her first five years brought home eight Grand Slams, but the run was stopped abruptly when she was stabbed on a Hamburg court in 1993 by a deranged fan of Steffi Graf .

Since then she has won the 1996 Australian Open , but the form that swept all before her in the early 1990s has become a memory.

``We are extremely fortunate to have Martina with us, arguably the best women's tennis player ever,'' said Paul Munick of the Mohegan Sun casino which is hosting the match.

11/30/01 Seles demolishes flashy opponent

Minutes after the last shot of the second annual MS Tennis Classic Thursday night at the University of Denver's Magness Arena, ambidextrous doubles specialist Luke Jensen was asked about playing in the thin, mile-high air.

Anna Kournikova warms up prior to the MS Tennis Classic at Magness Arena on Thursday. His response tells you all you need to know about Anna Kournikova's first visit to Colorado.

"Anna came in the day before and didn't really have time to adjust to the altitude," Jensen said, "so it was tough."

Why is his answer so telling? Because he wasn't asked about Kournikova.

Yet Jensen felt a need to offer an excuse for her listless, sloppy play in losing 6-2, 6-2 to Monica Seles in the feature event of the three-match exhibition.

And he wasn't alone.

Seles, too, tried to explain why the match lasted less than an hour.

"Her game is to go for a lot of shots," Seles said. "So if she's off, even a little bit, it can look bad because a match is won and lost by only a few points here and there."

Kournikova, though, was off by more than a little bit.

The Russian superstar, whose off-court earnings exceed $10 million per year, showed the crowd of 4,300 why her game is a long way from matching her fame. She repeatedly hurt herself with double faults, unforced errors and an inability to put Seles on the defensive.

Yes, there were flashes of brilliance - and not just from the cameras in the crowd. Kournikova drilled a few backhand, cross-court winners and smacked a few forehands that caught Seles flat-footed. She even served a couple of aces.

But Kournikova's play was erratic. Too often, she shot from the hip, trying to hit winners that weren't there. Even worse, she appeared to not care where the ball landed, leaving the crowd, which paid $50 to $150 per ticket, to wonder if her struggles had more to do with attitude than altitude.

"It would be tough to play a tournament here," Seles said. "The balls really fly through the air, and it's difficult to control your shots."

Neither the ATP Tour nor the WTA Tour has plans to put a tournament in Denver. So the MS Tennis Classic is the only show in town.

And it was Jensen and his brother, Murphy, who saved the show.

The event began with a world-class juniors match in which Russian teenager Maria Sharapova edged American Bethanie Mattek 5-4 in a nine-game set. Then came Seles' pummeling of Kournikova.

But it was the mixed doubles finale - Seles and Murphy Jensen beat Kournikova and Luke Jensen 8-6 in a pro set - that drew the largest cheers. The Jensens mixed nifty shot-making with comic relief to provide the most entertaining moments of the night.

"You guys are like the Harlem Globetrotters of tennis," said an autograph seeker.

"You mean the Washington Generals," Luke Jensen quipped. "This is all about playing tennis, raising money for a good cause and having fun."

Promoters estimated the event would raise nearly $400,000 for the Colorado Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Rocky Mountain MS Center. They were the event's big winners.

The only loser was Kournikova, who hasn't won a women's tour tournament but hopes to prove in 2002 that she's more than just a pretty face.

Wednesday, she said she has recovered from a stress fracture in her left foot, an injury that kept her off the courts for seven months this year and dropped her ranking from No. 8 to No. 73. She said she is using this offseason to get in tournament shape and climb back into the top 10.

But Kournikova had nothing to say Thursday night, refusing to talk to reporters after the event. She offered no excuses, no apologies, no explanations for playing so poorly against Seles, the women's 10th-ranked player who hadn't hit a ball in six weeks and won't start gearing up for January's Australian Open until next week.

That was left to Jensen.

"If you're a power hitter, you've got to be smart and consistent when you're playing at altitude," Jensen said. "It was easier for Monica, because she has played here before."

11/20/01 Seles to play Navratilova at Mohegan Sun Exhibition
Grand Slam champions will meet at Mohegan Sun. The Connecticut casino announced today that Martina Navratilova will play Monica Seles in a three-set exhibition match scheduled for Saturday, December 1st in the Mohegan Sun Arena. It  will be the first tennis match ever played in the arena.

The 45-year-old Navratilova replaces Lindsay Davenport, who was forced to withdraw from the match after injuring her knee in the semifinals of the Sanex WTA Championships in Munich, Germany.

"We wish Lindsay the best of health as she recovers from her knee injury," said Mohegan Sun vice president of sports and entertainment Paul Munick. "We will indeed miss the WTA's No. 1 ranked player in the world. However, we are extremely fortunate to have Martina with us, arguably, the best women's tennis player ever."

Navratilova's 167 career singles titles are more than any male or female tennis player, and her 18 Grand Slam singles titles, are third among all women players (tied with Chris Evert). Navratilova has won a record nine Wimbledon singles titles; 19 Wimbledon titles in total (singles, doubles, mixed doubles); and six straight grand slam titles from 1983 Wimbledon to 1984 U.S. Open, tying Margaret Court's record of six straight from 1969-1971.

Tickets for the Martina Navratilova versus Monica Seles tennis match are on sale now for $40, $30 and $20. Tickets are available at Mohegan Sun's new, expanded in-house Box Office located at the Spring Gateway connecting the Casino of the Earth and The Shops at Mohegan Sun. Tickets can also be purchased on-line through {} or by calling at (800) 477-6849.

11/02/01 Playing home is a nice option for Seles

The best players in women's tennis are competing for millions of dollars this week in the season-ending tournament being played in Germany.

Yet, Monica Seles, one of the greatest players of all time, isn't there. Instead, Seles spent Monday in a golf cart watching Riverview High sophomore Lindsey Bergeon play at Heritage Oaks in a high school region golf tournament.

"I have known her over the years," Seles said. "She is a really good friend of my family. She is a really talented golfer and I hope she goes far in it."

After missing almost half of this year with a foot injury, the 28-year-old Seles finished with a flourish. She easily won the last three tournaments she played, winning her 50th singles title along the way.

The run she was on would have made her a threat in this week's $3,000,000 Sanex Championships, which brings together the top 16 players.

The money and the competition were inviting. The tournament site was not.

The event is played in Germany and Seles will not play in that country on principal. It was in Germany where Seles, the No. 1 woman tennis player in the world at the time, was stabbed by Guenter Parche, a crazed fan of Steffi Graf.

The attack, in April 1993, sidelined her career for almost two years. Adding insult to injury was that the German law system allowed Parche to walk without a conviction or being confined to a mental facility. Seles then made a decision to not play in Germany again.

Seles, a sensitive person by nature, said she has seen a different attitude around the world since the terrorist attacks Sept. 11.

"It's been so bad the last six weeks wherever you go, not just here," Seles said. "It's just been so sad, a sad feeling everywhere."

Seles is now home, done with tennis for the rest of the year. She will spend a great deal of the time away from the tour getting ready for next year's schedule, starting with the Australian Open in January.

The year 2002 has the potential to be a very successful one for Seles. She has proven that her game is strong and if her body stays healthy she has a chance to move back into the top four. She is currently ranked No. 8.

"Just to stay healthy is my No. 1 goal," Seles said. "I want to start off the year strong. I want to be able to play a full schedule."

To help accomplish her goals, Seles can turn to her support staff. Lisa Reed has been her trainer for the past eight months and Mike Sell, a former player on the men's tour, has joined as a coach for the past six weeks.

Seles also has a hard decision to make sometime in the next few months. There will be a lot of people who want her to play in the Sarasota Open, a WTA event that will be held at The Meadows Country Club April 1-7.

While she says it would be great to be able to play in her hometown, there are restrictions on top players that might make that difficult.

Seles had been told the Sarasota event was a Tier V tournament, the lowest level of WTA tournaments. Very seldom can top players choose to play down in that level of tournament. But Sarasota is a Tier IV tournament, with $140,000 in prize money. Players may request an exemption to play down in a Tier IV event.

And Seles might not need an exemption to play in Sarasota, since there is not a larger event scheduled that weekend anywhere in the world.

"That would be big pressure on me," she laughed. "I never played in my home town. Everyone, all your friends and family come out to watch you. That would be really different.

"I really struggled when I played the Ericsson (near Miami) when I had a lot of my friends drive down for the weekend. Oh gosh, it doubles the pressure to do well. I am sure I would hear about it for a long time wherever I go if I didn't do well."

October 28, 2001 Seles To Play Exhibition at Mohegan Sun
Monica Seles will play a tennis exhibition Dec. 1 at the Mohegan Sun's new arena. The only thing missing is an opponent.

Lindsay Davenport pulled out after bruising her right knee this month at the Sanex WTA Tour Championships in Germany. Casino officials said Wednesday that Davenport has been told to rest the knee for two months.

Davenport withdrew from the championships a day after clinching the top ranking. Her withdrawal gave the title and dlrs 750,000 to Serena Williams and ended Davenport's 15-match winning streak.

October 25, 2001 Davenport To Play Seles in Casino Challenge
Poker won't be the game of choice and chips aren't the stakes when Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles meet in a historic casino match. The third-ranked Davenport and eighth-ranked Seles will meet in the first professional tennis match held at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The match is scheduled for Saturday, December 1st at 8 p.m.

"We are excited to bring Lindsay and Monica, two of the top players in the world to Mohegan Sun for this one-day only event." said Paul Munick, Mohegan Sun's Vice President of Sports and Entertainment. "This is the Northeast's only professional tennis event to take place after the US Open and I know our fans will be delighted."

Tickets for the Mohegan Sun Challenge priced at $40, $30 and $20 are on sale now at the Mohegan Sun's box office located at the Spring Gateway. Tickets can also be purchased online through or by calling at (800) 477-6849.

October 25, 2001 Americans withdraw from Fed Cup finals

LONDON (AP) -- The defending-champion United States withdrew Thursday from next month's Fed Cup finals in Madrid, citing security concerns and fears of terrorism.

The U.S. Tennis Association said it wasn't a good idea for elite American athletes to compete abroad. The decision was reached with the help of team captain Billie Jean King, players and government officials.

International Tennis Federation spokeswoman Barbara Travers said a replacement team would be selected by Monday.

``It's never a good thing when you lose your defending champion, but we have a lot of great players coming, solid teams and people with big track records,'' Travers said.

The U.S. team could have featured Venus and Serena Williams, Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport. The competition is scheduled Nov. 7-11.

``We're disappointed that we won't be able to defend our Fed Cup title, but with the concerns over security this was obviously the most prudent decision for us,'' King said. ``The safety and lives of our entire team come first.''

The Americans were part of an eight-team field that also includes Spain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Argentina, Russia and Australia.

``We regret that the USTA felt it necessary to withdraw their team from the upcoming Fed Cup World Finals,'' ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said. ``I am certain that the American team is very disappointed that they will not be able to represent their country. We respect their concerns.''

The United States is the two-time defending champion of the Fed Cup, the women's version of the Davis Cup. It had received a bye into the world finals.

The Americans beat Spain 5-0 last November in Las Vegas for a record 17th championship.

The four candidates to replace the United States are the teams that lost this season's playoff ties. Germany is the top candidate followed by Slovakia, Italy and Switzerland.

The order is based on the combined ranking -- as of Oct. 1 -- of the top two players likely to play.

October 14, 2001 Seles continues hot streak in Shanghai
Monica Seles has made it three titles in a month by taking the Shanghai Open with a comfortable victory over unseeded Australian Nicole Pratt.

The top seed, Seles made short work of Pratt, 65th in the world and appearing in her first WTA tournament final.

The American hit 30 winners compared to just seven from her opponent on the way to a 6-2 6-3 victory - her 13th win in a row.

"It was a hard-fought match - we had some tough points out there, especially in the second set," said Seles.

"It was really close and I had to stay strong."

Seles - who won $22,000 to Pratt's $12,000 - broke her opponent's serve twice in each set and at the same time lost only seven points on her own serve.

"Last time I played her, she actually served very well so I expected her to serve well again," Pratt said.

"It's an indication of just how well she's playing now."

After losing the opening set, Pratt took a 2-1 lead in the second thanks to some powerful groundstrokes off her forehand of which Seles would have been proud.

But the Australian was soon broken again and Seles served out, losing only one point in her final two service games.

Seles has not lost a match since the fourth round of the US Open, capturing in the process the Brazil Open, the Japan Open and now the Shanghai Open.

She remains number eight in the world which is a far cry from the early 1990s before her infamous stabbing incident, when she was the top-ranked player for a staggering 178 weeks.

October 12, 2001 Seles advances to semis in Shanghai

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Top seed Monica Seles rallied to beat French qualifier Stephanie Foretz 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 on Friday for a place in the semifinals of the Shanghai Open.

Seles was up a set and a break when the 149th-ranked Foretz began to find her rhythm, hitting the lines consistently with sharply angled groundstrokes and passing the American at the net.

Foretz broke back in the fourth game of the second set, and the two players then remained on serve until Foretz broke Seles again at 6-5 to take the set.

Seles, bothered by close calls throughout the match, regained her composure in the third set, breaking Foretz twice to close out the win.

``(Foretz) really played some great tennis once I let her back after I lost my service game at 3-2,'' Seles told reporters. ``I was lucky to tough it out on key points in the third set.''

Seles meets 20-year-old Australian Alicia Molik in the semifinals on Saturday.

On Friday, Molik beat South Korean Cho Yoon-Jeong 7-5, 7-5.

Italy's Rita Grande also advanced after fourth seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan retired in the third set of their quarter-final match with a shoulder injury.

Grande, seeded seven, was leading 6-7, 7-5, 1-0. She will play unseeded Australian Nicole Pratt in the semifinals. Pratt beat Taiwan's Janet Lee 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

October 10, 2001 Seles routs Obata in second round at Kiwi Open tennis
SHANGHAI, CHINA (TICKER) -- Top seed Monica Seles of the United States continued her hot streak Wednesday with a 43-minute victory over Saori Obata of Japan in the second round of the $140,000 Kiwi Open hardcourt tennis event.

Seles stretched her winning streak to 10 matches with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Obata. The 26-year-old American has won her last two tournaments in Brazil and Japan.

"Today was a tougher match," Seles said. "I had 30-0 and 40-0 on a couple of games in the first set, but she played some tougher points and I made too many mistakes. I got my rhythm back in the second set and felt much more comfortable out there."

Seventh seed Rita Grande of Italy and Janet Lee of Taipei also reached the quarterfinals. Grande routed Ludmila Cervanova of Slovakia, 6-2, 6-2, and Lee dispatched Japan's Rika Fujiwara, 6-0, 6-4.

In the final first-round match, fourth seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan posted a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Zsofia Gubasci of Hungary.

First prize is $22,000.

October 09, 2001 Seles into 2nd round of Kiwi Open
SHANGHAI, China (AP) - Monica Seles blanked her opponent Tuesday, beating Lenka Nemeckova of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-0 to advance to the second round of the Kiwi Open.

The top-seeded Seles next plays Saori Obata of Japan in the $140,000 tournament.

Fifth-seeded Joannette Kruger of South Africa was eliminated, losing to qualifier Cho Yoon-Jeong of South Korea 6-4, 7-6 (6).

Third-seeded Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand beat Peng Shuai of China 6-4, 6-1; eighth-seeded Nathalie Dechy of France defeated qualifier Li Ting of China 6-1, 7-6 (6); and ninth-seeded Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay downed Adriana Serra-Zanetti of Italy 6-2, 6-3.

Also, Nicole Pratt of Australia ousted Jill Craybas of the United States 6-4, 6-3, and Stephanie Froetz of France rallied past Wynne Prakusya of Indonesia 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

In two all-Australian matches, Rachel McQuillan beat Annabel Ellwood 7-6 (2), 6-2, and Alicia Molik downed Mireille Dittmann 7-5, 7-6 (3).

Slovakia's Ludmila Cervanova scored a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (1) victory over Australia's Evie Dominikovic, and Switzerland's Emmanuelle Gagliardi topped New Zealand's Pavlina Nola 6-2, 6-3.

October 08, 2001 Seles signs up for Hopman Cup

Former American world number one Monica Seles will return to Perth later in the year for the Hopman Cup tennis tournament despite having sparked a security scare in the previous Cup contest here.

Tournament director Paul McNamee said Monday Seles would partner Jan-Michael Gambill in the mixed teams event starting December 29 at Burswood Dome.

The two were runners-up to Switzerland's Martina Hingis and Roger Federer in the last tournament.

During last summer's competition, Seles was alarmed by an over-zealous autograph-hunter.

The 28-year-old was sitting courtside after a deciding mixed doubles win against Russia when a middle-aged man who had eluded the security net tapped her on the shoulder.

Seles, who was stabbed by a German spectator in 1993, spun around when the man thrust a program at her.

She motioned to her partner, Gambill, and the unharmed pair made a hasty exit.

Security staff ushered the man away and no action was taken.

Seles missed almost two years of tennis after the 1993 stabbing in Germany.

Now ranked number eight, Seles captured her 50th title Sunday when she beat Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn in straight sets to win the women's singles at the Japan Open.

Gambill is ranked number 19.

The Americans will be aiming to win the Hopman Cup for the second time. Justin Gimelstob and Chanda Rubin succeeded four years ago.

McNamee said: "With the experience of last year, Monica and Jan-Michael will mount a formidable challenge."

October 07, 2001 Seles wins 50th title at Japan Open
TOKYO (TICKER) -- Lleyton Hewitt and Monica Seles took all the suspense out of the Japan Open.

The top seeds did not drop a set this week as Hewitt extended his winning streak to 14 matches and Seles captured her 50th career title Sunday at the $870,000 hardcourt tennis tournament.

Seles needed just 64 minutes to dispatch second seed Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, 6-3, 6-2, for her second title in as many events and third of the year.

"I'm very happy to get through today's match," said the American, who pocketed $27,000 for winning her sixth event in Japan. "I wasn't sure how my foot (injured during Friday's semifinal) would react today, but it performed great. It was a fairly close match and I'm just happy to win it."

The former world No. 1, who won the Brazil Open two weeks ago, was told of reaching the 50-title mark by a television commentator.

"I really didn't know that I had a chance to win my 50th career title coming into the match, but I'm really happy about it," she said. "It's one of those milestones in your career. While you are playing, I don't think you really think about it, because you just worry about the matches not necessarily the titles. I still play tennis because I love the game, not for how many titles I can win. But I'm very proud of the accomplishment and hopefully I can add a few more titles to that number before I retire."

Seles will have only one more chance this year -- next week in Shanghai -- to notch No. 51. She will not play in the WTA Tour Championship in Munich later this month as she has boycotted playing in Germany since the stabbing incident in 1993.

"I only have one more tournament this year and then I will be done until Australia," she said. "I think it's been a great second season for me. In the beginning of the year, I was injured and out for five months. By not playing, my ranking fell, but since I started back in July it's been really good."

October 05, 2001 Seles beats local favorite Sugiyama
TOKYO (AP) - Top-seeded Monica Seles defeated Ai Sugiyama on Friday to earn a spot in the finals of the Japan Open tennis tournament.

Seles maintained her domination over the Japanese third seed with a 7-5, 6-4 semifinal victory at Tokyo's Ariake Colosseum.

The 27-year-old Seles, ranked ninth in the world, won all six of her previous matches against Sugiyama, a two-time Japan Open singles champion.

In women's quarterfinal action, seventh seed Joanette Kruger of South Africa rallied to get by unseeded Emmanuelle Gagliardi of Switzerland 0-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Kruger will meet the winner of a match later Friday between Japanese wild card Saori Obata and second seed Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand.

In the first match of the day on center court, unseeded American James Blake upset seventh seed Marcelo Rios of Chile 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to secure a spot in the semis of the men's singles.

In other men's quarterfinal action Friday, top seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia was scheduled to play Spain's Francisco Clavet, and defending champion Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands was matched against Michel Kratochvil of Switzerland.

The fourth men's quarterfinal is between wild card Takao Suzuki of Japan and unseeded Slovak Karol Kucera.

September 18, 2001 Seles pulls out of the Toyota Princess Cup

TOKYO (AP) -- Monica Seles became the latest prominent player to withdraw from the Toyota Princess Cup because of the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Defending champion Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Amy Frazier pulled out Monday before the $565,000 tournament began.

Seles was seeded second and had been scheduled to arrive Tuesday. She won the Brazil Open on Saturday for her second title of the year.

Bart McGuire, chief executive officer of the WTA Tour, said his organization was ``deeply sorry'' for the withdrawals.

``This is a situation that is completely out of the control of the Toyota Princess Cup,'' he said.

In Tuesday's first round, Ai Sugiyama of Japan beat eighth-seeded Cristina Torrens Valero of Spain 6-1, 6-2. Sugiyama will next face Joannette Kruger of South Africa, a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 winner over Alicia Molik of Australia.

Also, Lina Krasnoroutskaya of Russia defeated Mariana Diaz-Oliva of Argentina 6-4, 6-0.

September 17, 2001 Seles Tries To Continue Hot Streak At Princess Cup Tennis

TOKYO (Ticker) -- Five-time champion Monica Seles looks to win her second straight title this week at the talent-depleted Princess Cup tennis event.

On Saturday, Seles won her first title since returning from injury when she defeated Jelena Dokic, 6-3, 6-3, in the final of Brasil Open.

After being sidelined for five months due to an injured right foot, the 27-year-old American returned in July to reach two finals and a pair of semifinals before falling to Czech teenager Daja Bedanova in the fourth round of U.S. Open two weeks ago.

Seles won her second WTA title of the year and the 49th of her illustrious career. The former world No. 1's last title came in February, when she captured the IGA U.S. Indoors at Oklahoma City.

Defending champion Serena Williams and world No. 2 Jennifer Capriati withdrew from this $565,000 hardcourt tournament in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States.

The two Americans told the WTA Tour that they were not mentally prepared to to take part in this event after the attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

Williams was runner-up to her sister Venus at the U.S. Open, where Capriati -- winner of the Australian and French Opens -- reached the semifinals.

Instead, Kim Clisjters of Belgium is the top seed. Clijsters appeared in her first Grand Slam final at the French Open, won the Bank of West Classic this summer, was runner-up at Indian Wells and reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Dokic, seeded third this week, failed to win her second career tour title on Saturday. In May, the Yugoslav captured the Italian Open, defeating Amelie Mauresmo of France.

Sandrine Testud of France is the fourth seed. Testud lost to a Williams sister in each of her previous three tournaments but won her first title in three years Sunday on Sunday at the Big Island Championships in Hawaii.

The four seeds all received first-round byes.

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of Spain is seeded fifth, followed by Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan, Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand and Cristina Torrens Valero of Spain.

Tanasugarn was the only main draw player in action Monday when she defeated Italian Rita Grande, 7-6, 6-4.

First prize is $90,000.

September 15, 2001 Seles beats Dokic to win Brazil Open

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Top seed Monica Seles swept aside Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia 6-3 6-3 to win the $100,000 Brazil Open Saturday.

The American was aggressive throughout the encounter and a break in each set was enough for Seles to clinch her second title of the year.

Dokic saved one match point at 5-3 but Seles wrapped up the match on her second attempt.

``It was a very close match despite the scores. Both sets were fought very hard. Jelena was playing aggressively and not missing many balls,'' said Seles, who also won the U.S. Indoor Championships in Oklahoma in February.

``She was going for the lines. I tried to raise the level of my game and to play better tennis.

``I am very happy to have won my second title this year and I look forward to coming back.''

Second seed Dokic, the winner of the Italian Open in May, admitted she had not been at her best.

``I am a bit disappointed by the way I played today especially since I had only lost 10 games on my way to the final,'' the 18-year-old said.

``Monica served very well and I was unable to dictate the points since I was not serving well.

``My goal was to reach the final and I did it although it would have been nice to win the tournament.''

September 14, 2001 Seles to meet Dokic in Brazil final

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) - Top-seeded Monica Seles outlasted Henrieta Nagyova in three sets Friday to reach the final of the $400,000 Brazil Open.

Seles, who won 7-5, 5-7, 6-3, will play Jelena Dokic for the title. Dokic continued her easy run through the draw by beating Rossana de los Rios 6-0, 6-2, and has lost just 10 games in three matches.

Two Brazilians reached the men's semifinals. Fernando Meligeni beat Ramon Delgado of Paraguay 6-1, 6-4, while Alexandre Simoni beat countryman Ricardo Mello 6-4, 6-3 in the quarters Friday.

Meligeni will play Agustin Calleri, who beat fellow Argentine Guillermo Canas 7-6, 6-4 Friday.

Simoni's next opponent is Jan Vacek of the Czech Republic, who eliminated Flavio Saretta 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

September 13, 2001 Seles routs Panova, reaches Brazil Open semifinals

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Top-seeded Monica Seles routed Russia's Tatiana Panova 6-1, 6-0 Thursday to advance into the semi-finals of the Brazil Open.

In the last four, the American will meet Slovakia's Henrieta Nagyova, the number five seed, who beat third-seeded South African Amanda Coetzer 6-1, 6-4.

Seles said she had intentionally produced a high-paced game on the day to reduce playing time in the stifling Costa do Suaipe heat.

``I'm trying to play in an aggressive way, keeping the points short. That's why today's game was faster,'' she said.

But Seles, who is ninth in the latest WTA rankings, admitted her semi-final opponent would pose a real threat.

``(Nagyova) is an aggressive and intelligent tennis player...I'll have to play an attacking game,'' she said.

In Thursday's other quarter-final matches, number two seed Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia beat American Samantha Reeves 6-3 6-2 while unseeded Paraguayan Rossana de los Rios defeated Silvia Farina-Elia of Italy 6-3, 6-2.

Meanwhile, in the ATP men's tournament Thursday, Brazilian wildcard Ricardo Mello beat Chile's Nicolas Massu 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.

Fifth-seeded local favorite Fernando Meligeni overcame Argentina's Federico Browne 7-5, 6-4.

September 13, 2001 Seles to meet Nagyova in semis

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) - Top-seeded Monica Seles breezed past Tatiana Panova 6-1, 6-0 Thursday to reach the semifinals of the $400,000 Brasil Open.

Seles next plays Slovakia's Henrieta Nagyova.

Jelena Dokic, the No. 2 seed, also advanced, eliminating Samantha Reeves 6-3, 6-2. In the final, Dokic will play Rossana de los Rios, who beat No. 4-seeded Silvia Farina Elia 6-3, 6-2.

Nagyova upset third-seeded Amanda Coetzer.

In men's second-round play, Fernando Meligeni, seeded fifth, beat Federico Browne 7-5, 6-4, while Ramon Delgado defeated Cecil Mamiit 6-3, 6-4.

Ricardo Mello rallied to beat Nicolas Massu 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 and advance to the quarterfinals.

September 12, 2001 Seles advances after Brazilian Open Scare

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Top seed Monica Seles was made to work hard for her 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 victory over Slovakian Janette Husarova in the second round of the WTA Brazilian Open on Wednesday.

The American raced into a 5-1 lead but Husarova broke serve in the seventh game and that seemed to put Seles on the defensive as she went on to drop the second set.

But, after taking a 10-minute rest from the fierce Costa do Suaipe sun, Seles cruised through the decider without losing a game.

Seles will now face Tatiana Panova in the quarter-finals after the Russian brushed aside Brazilian Joana Cortez 6-1 6-4.

Second-seeded Yugoslav Jelena Dokic eliminated Croatia's Iva Majoli 6-1, 6-2 in a game notable for a 20-minute interruption caused by a passing swarm of bees.

In the men's event, Brazilian wild card Flavio Saretta followed up his first-round win over world number one Gustavo Kuerten by beating Germany's Markus Hantschk 6-4, 6-1.

``I was starting to feel a little tired as early as the first set. My head is fine, but I need to rest,'' said Saretta who now meets Czech Jan Vacek in the quarter-finals.

Second-seeded Argentine Guillermo Canas beat Britain's Martin Lee 6-2, 6-2 and now faces compatriot Agustin Calleri in the last eight.

September 02, 2001 Seles Stunned by Bedanova in Fourth Round

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Czech teenager Daja Bedanova scored the biggest win of her young career on Sunday, stunning seventh-seeded twice champion Monica Seles 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the fourth round of the U.S. Open .

The 18-year-old showed tremendous poise under Grand Slam pressure to reach her first quarter-final of a major championship.

``Monica is such a great player, she's won so many tournaments, twice here. I played so good... such good tennis that I'm really happy and proud,'' said Bedanova, who had upset 12th-seeded American Meghann Shaughnessy in the third round.

Bedanova continues her dream run against either top seed Martina Hingis , another former U.S. Open champion, or 14th seed Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia.

Hingis and Dokic were set to square off in Sunday's first night match.

August 31, 2001 Seles does the grunt work
No crying in baseball? It's the gospel truth. No parking on the dance floor? We can live with that. No grunting in tennis? UNNNHHH! I don't think so.

Monica Seles' grunt is as indelible a battle cry as Godzilla's high-pitched wail. Like the mighty monster, Seles emits it as a prelude to attack. Oftentimes, her opponents do not take kindly to the Seles grunt.

"She's screaming at the top of her lungs," complained Jennifer Capriati during the Acura Classic earlier this month in Carlsbad, Calif. Seles won that match, 6-3, 6-3, and then beat Martina Hingis in the semifinals before succumbing to Venus Williams in the final. It's funny, though, how Seles' diaphragm reflexes become so much more noisome as her level of play improves.

Monica Seles is 27 and something of an afterthought -- more a burp than a grunt -- in this year's US Open. She is not a Williams sister or a top seed like Hingis. She is not a returned-to-the-fold Capriati, whose Jenaissance has been well-documented -- and deservedly so. She is not a Belgian belle, a la Kim Clijsters or Justine Henin, the 5th- and 6th-seeds, respectively.

But as she proved once again this morning with a decisive 6-2, 6-3 victory against Eleni Daniilidou, she is capable of winning this tournament. Seles is the only female two-time Open champion entered into this draw. Last year Seles had the 4th-best singles record (58-13) on the Sanex WTA Tour, behind only Lindsay Davenport, Martina Hingis and Venus Williams. If you consider that those three combined to serve Seles 11 of her 13 losses and Pierce, the 2000 French Open champion, added another, then you can say that, with one exception, her only losses last year came to Grand Slam winners of 2000 and Hingis, the No. 1 player in the world.

Seles, however, has had a remarkably quiet year for someone who began 2001 with the best active career record (441-78, .821) in women's tennis. She suffered a stress-fracture in her right foot which rendered her inactive from mid-March through mid-July, including the French Open and Wimbledon. The four-time Australian Open winner lost to eventual champ Capriati in the quarterfinals.

Since returning from her foot injury, Seles has acquitted herself quite well in preparing for the year's final Grand Slam. In four different hard court events this summer, she has twice beaten Capriati and Hingis and twice advanced to the final, losing to Davenport and Venus Williams. That she is still losing to the Sanex WTA Tour's biggest hitters is not lost on Seles. This year she has hired a full-time trainer, Lisa Reed, with the goal of making those grunts even more imposing.

"Definitely, physically everybody is a lot stronger," Seles said today after winning her third-round match. "Everybody's goal is to get really strong, which beforehand we had a few players, but the other players didn't even want to get strong because they felt, `We don't want to go down that road.' Now everybody wants to go down that road.

"The ball is just being hit a lot harder," she said. "I think kids growing up seeing Martina (Navratilova), Steffi (Graf) and myself realized, We got to hit it harder."

Now Seles realizes that if she is to remain among the elite, she must grunt in the weight room, too. Not that she has to enjoy it. "I'm not that crazy on doing weights," said Seles. "If you would give me a choice between playing tennis even three hours or going to the weight room for an hour, I would pick tennis. But that's just because I love the game."
August 31, 2001 Seles brushes Greek aside to reach round of 16

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seventh seed Monica Seles moved into the fourth round at the U.S. Open tennis championships on Friday with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over 18-year-old Greek qualifier Eleni Danilidou.

In the first match of the Day Five program on Louis Armstrong Stadium, where she won her U.S. Open titles in 1991 and 1992, Seles took 57 minutes to bounce Danilidou, who was playing her first U.S. Open.

Seles could have wrapped things up quicker but suffered her lone service break while serving for the match at 5-2 in the second set when she double faulted at break point.

The 112th-ranked Greek teen-ager extended her time in the U.S. Open spotlight by holding her last service game before Seles closed it out.

In the round of 16, Seles will face the winner of a match between 12th-seeded American Meghann Shaughnessy and Czech Daja Bedanova.

August 31, 2001 Seles sails on in New York
No. 7 seed Monica Seles defeated 18-year-old qualifier Eleni Daniilidou of Greece in Louis Armstrong Stadium in their third-round match Friday. Seles, 27, who has not captured a Grand Slam title since 1996, has been on a roll in the 2001 US Open, finishing Daniilidou and her two previous opponents off in less than an hour. The 1991 and 1992 US Open champion, Seles has not lost a set thus far in the tournament. She will play the winner of the match between Meghann Shaughnessy and Daja Bedanova in the fourth round.
August 29, 2001 Tougher tests await Seles at the Open
NEW YORK (AP) - Monica Seles crouches at the baseline, staring at her opponent and tapping the court with her racket as she awaits a serve.

She is focused only on the next ball, not the next match or next week. So she's not inclined to dwell on her chances in this year's U.S. Open.

``I don't like to look too far ahead,'' she said. ``In a Grand Slam, anything can happen. Throughout my career, I learned that the hard way.''

The No. 7-seeded Seles advanced to the third round Wednesday night by beating Evgenia Koulikovskaya 6-1, 6-4. It was a workmanlike performance that offered few hints whether Seles is ready to mount a bid for her first Open title since 1992.

Her recent results say yes. Since returning from a foot injury that forced her to miss the French Open and Wimbledon, Seles has beaten Martina Hingis twice, Jennifer Capriati, Serena Williams, Jelena Dokic and Wimbledon runner-up Justine Henin.

``Each time you beat all those players, it's a tremendous thing for your confidence,'' Seles said.

But until the 27-year-old Seles makes a breakthrough in a major event, such as the Open, the perception will persist that she's a notch below the younger top players. That's been the case since she returned to the tour in 1995 after an on-court stabbing sidelined her for 21/2 years.

She dominated women's tennis in the early 1990s, winning eight major titles in a three-year span, but then the cast of top players changed. Seles is not as athletic as the Williams sisters, as fit as Capriati, as creative as Hingis or as strong as Lindsay Davenport.

Seles was confronted by an unusual challenge against the 28-year-old Koulikovskaya, who alternates racket hands to hit a forehand from both sides. The Russian's style is a bit reminiscent of Seles, who hits a two-handed forehand and backhand.

``Some of my own medicine a little bit,'' she said with a laugh. ``It was just a little bit hard for me to read her shots.''

Seles was erratic with her serve, but solid from the baseline. The 47-minute match wasn't much of a test for her foot speed or fitness, often her downfall in the past.

She struggles particularly against Davenport and Venus Williams, who have beaten her a combined 15 consecutive times. Their powerful shots are tough for Seles to track down because her two-handed swing limits her reach.

Seles won't have to worry about Davenport until the semifinals, or Williams until the final. But again, she's not looking ahead.

``To win a Grand Slam,'' she said, ``I have to win three or four tough matches at least.''

August 30, 2001 Seles wins unsual U.S. Open encounter

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Double champion and twice runner-up Monica Seles moved swiftly into the third round of the U.S. Open with a 6-1 6-4 victory in what she called an ``unusual'' match against qualifier Evgenia Koulikovskaya Wednesday.

The seventh-seeded Seles took up just 47 minutes of the night program at Arthur Ashe Stadium as she belted 19 winners compared to just eight for the Russian with no backhand.

Still, the 1991 and 1992 Open champion was not completely satisfied with her performance.

``Tonight I was not at a level I'd want to be against a top player but hopefully I'll pull it together,'' she said.

The encounter, while lacking any drama, presented an interesting contrast in the style of the two left-handers.

While Seles blasts away with a two-handed stroke from both wings, Koulikovskaya switches her racket from hand to hand to hit one-handed forehands from both sides.

``It was very unusual. It was tough to read which way she was going to go,'' Seles said. ``It's always tough when you've never seen your opponent play.''


Seles, owner of nine career Grand Slam titles, will face another unknown quantity in the third round. She next meets qualifier Eleni Daniilidou of Greece, who beat Australian Rachel McQuillan 6-1 7-5.

The former world number one was one of four former women's singles champions to clear the second hurdle at the Open on Wednesday, joining Lindsay Davenport , Martina Hingis and Serena Williams in the third round.

Defending champion Venus Williams plays her second-round match Thursday.

Seles said she was thrilled to finally be fit after spending five months sidelined by a foot injury earlier this year.

``I feel great. I was really happy that I got to play this Grand Slam because I had to pull out of the French and Wimbledon , which was difficult,'' she said.

``Coming in I had a good hardcourt season, but most important is that I'm healthy. But I'm still trying to take it one match at a time,'' she said.

Seles failed to win a title on the hardcourts this American summer but posted impressive wins over Hingis, Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Justine Henin to stamp herself as a serious title threat after falling in the quarter-finals the past four years.

``Each time you beat all those players it's a tremendous help to your confidence,'' she said.

August 27, 2001 Seles eases past Pratt
Nine-time Grand Slam winner Monica Seles easily beat Nicole Pratt 6-1,6-2 in the opening day of the US Open. It took Seles only 24 minutes to win the first set against Pratt, and 34 minutes to win the second and advance to a second-round match against the winner of Bianka Lamade of Germany and qualifier Evgenia Koulikovskaya of Russia.
August 17, 2001 Seles advances to semis in Toronto

Fifth-seeded Monica Seles scored an upset this afternoon beating No. 2 seed Justine Henin of Belgium 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the Rogers AT&T Cup. Toronto fans cheered wildly as Seles, clearly the sentimental favorite, came back from a first set thrashing to knock off the Wimbledon finalist.

The victory was all the more remarkable because it was the 28-year-old Seles' second tough match of the day-both against teenagers. In the morning, she struggled against the 18-year-old Jelena Dokic in a match that lasted 1 hour 40 minutes.

Leading up to this event, Seles, 27, has been on a tear. The four-time winner of this event (1995-1998) reached the finals in Los Angeles last week, beating the world No.1 ranked Martina Hingis and No. 4 ranked Serena Williams. A week earlier, she beat Hingis and the No. 2 ranked Jennifer Capriati.

August 15, 2001, Seles continues comeback with victory in Toronto

By Curt Rush

TORONTO, Canada (Reuters) - Monica Seles, playing in her fourth straight tournament as she continues her comeback from a foot injury, advanced to the third round of the Canadian Open Wednesday with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Marissa Irvin.

Seles, the fifth seed who received an opening-round bye, will meet 10th-seeded Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia in the third round.

Seles, who missed the French Open and Wimbledon with a stress reaction in her right foot, has advanced to two finals and one semifinal, since returning from injury.

During her run she has registered a couple of wins over world number one Martina Hingis and victories over other big names like Jennifer Capriati and Serena Williams .

Despite her run of good form, just two weeks before the U.S. Open , Seles said she could pull out of next week's tournament in New Haven.

``I want to see how far I go along in this tournament and then make my decision once I know,'' said Seles, who practiced for about 10 minutes after the match.

``But still my priority is my health. If I have any pain or any indication of pain, I would stop.''

Seles originally did not plan to play at the Canadian Open, but Hingis's withdrawal meant she decided to enter and try to accumulate points and get a better seeding for the U.S. Open.

She is currently ranked number eight, up from 10 last week, and is on course to meet second seed Justine Henin of Belgium in the quarter-finals in Toronto.

In other matches number three Amelie Mauresmo of France beat Russia's Elena Likhovtseva 6-0 6-3, fourth-seed Serena Williams of the U.S. beat Croatia's Iva Majoli 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 while ninth seed Meghann Shaughnessy of the U.S. beat Japan's Shinobu Asagoe 6-0 6-4.

Seles's opponent in the next round, Dokic, beat Spain's Magui Serna 6-1 6-4, while 11th-seed Sandrine Testud beat Argentina's Mariana Diaz-Oliva 6-4 6-1.

Chanda Rubin of the U.S. failed to advance when she rolled her ankle and had to retire with American Amy Frazier leading 6-4 3-6 1-0.

In a late match, eighth seed Magdalena of Bulgaria was upset 6-4 7-6 (7-4) by Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic.

August 12, 2001, Davenport's power too much for tired Seles

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- Monica Seles had momentum and a supportive crowd on her side. Across the net, Lindsay Davenport awaited with a big serve and powerful groundstrokes.

Davenport used both to great effect, overwhelming a tired Seles 6-3, 7-5 to win the Classic on Sunday.

``Lindsay was just too good for me,'' Seles said. ``She was hitting her groundstrokes really well and kept me back, and her serve is one of the best in the game.''

Seles struggled with her serve throughout the 67-minute match, and double-faulted on Davenport's second match point.

``I'll take the double fault,'' Davenport said. ``I lost to her here one year and had match point in the final, so I'll surely take that.''

The loss ended Seles' run of upsets against top-10 players. She had victories over No. 1 Martina Hingis (twice), No. 2 Jennifer Capriati and No. 8 Serena Williams in a span of nine days.

``Since coming back, it's been really great to play such a high level of tennis,'' said Seles, who has missed most of the year with a foot injury that kept her out of the French Open and Wimbledon.

Would she have predicted her success over Hingis, Capriati and Williams, whom Seles had never beaten before?

``I probably would've said no way,'' she said.

Seles had a grueling route to the final, including winning three consecutive three-set matches over Sandrine Testud, Williams and Hingis. Seles returned to play Davenport just 14 hours after beating Hingis.

``I really do think fatigue played a factor,'' Davenport said. ``I was hoping Monica would be a little worn out from three tough matches.''

Seles committed 21 unforced errors in the match and won just 64 percent of the points on her first serve to Davenport's 89 percent.

``It was a little tough in the beginning because I played all my matches at night,'' Seles said. ``It's been tiring, but it's irrelevant. She was just a better player out there.''

Davenport's title completed a three-week swing through her home state during which she lost in the final at Stanford and lost in the semifinals at Carlsbad last week.

``My California trip has definitely been a success,'' said Davenport, who lives down the freeway in Laguna Beach.

Although she doesn't have a title to show for it, Seles' trip through the same three California tournaments was impressive. She overcame six match points to beat Williams in the quarterfinals, then beat Hingis for the second straight week in the semifinals.

She rose two spots to No. 8 in the world in Monday's WTA Tour rankings.

``It's been a great week, a lot of tough matches,'' Seles said. ``It was really fantastic to fight through and get to the finals. I have one more week to go and I finally get a little rest before the Open.''

Seles will play in Toronto this week, her fourth in a row.

``My draw in Toronto is pretty crazy, but not as crazy as here,'' she said.

August 11, 2001, Seles, Davenport meet in finals at Classic

By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Monica Seles vanquished Martina Hingis for the second straight week, winning 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in the Classic semifinals Saturday night.

Lindsay Davenport never faced a break point on her serve in beating fifth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat 6-1, 6-2 to reach the final against Seles, who lost to Davenport two weeks ago in the semifinals at Stanford.

``If Lindsay plays like this she can win the tournament,'' Tauziat said. ``She played really well and didn't let me in the match.''

Seles has endured a tougher draw than Davenport this week, including playing three consecutive three-set matches.

It was Seles' fourth victory over a top-10 player in two weeks. Besides beating top-ranked Hingis in straight sets a week ago in the Acura Classic semifinals, Seles has wins over No. 2 Jennifer Capriati and No. 8 Serena Williams in her latest comeback from injury.

``It's really great to break through some of the players who've given me trouble in the past,'' she said.

Seles is playing for the third week in a row after being off the WTA Tour since May with a foot injury that caused her to miss the French Open and Wimbledon . She also plans to play next week in Toronto.

It's been a grueling week for Seles, whose match time has totaled 61/2 hours, including three-set wins over Sandrine Testud , Williams and Hingis. Davenport, on the other hand, has spent about 3 hours, 15 minutes winning her four matches, including a 47-minute rout of Tauziat.

``The past 10 days I've played every single day. I'm really not sore, just tired,'' Seles said. ``It would be nice if I could get a day off.''

The match was so close, Hingis actually won 87 of the 172 points - two more than Seles, who also struggled with nine double faults.

``I was tough enough to hold my serve the entire third set and that was the difference,'' Seles said.

Seles, the sixth seed, broke Hingis three times to win the first set. Hingis cut down on her errors in the second set and broke Seles twice.

``I knew she could step it up again,'' Hingis said. ``I didn't have that many chances.''

Seles broke to start the third, then saved three break points and won the second game when Hingis' forehand sailed long to go up 2-0. Seles served a love game and won on Hingis' forehand error for a 3-1 lead.

Hingis used an 86-mph ace on her second serve to close to 5-4, but Seles set up match point with a 107-mph service winner and won on Hingis' backhand error.

``I tried to come into the court to cut the angles, but in the first set I made too many mistakes,'' Hingis said. ``In the second, we were equal and in the third she served better.''

Davenport had her easiest match of the week, needing just 47 minutes to dispose of the Frenchwoman, who plans to retire at year's end.

``I was hitting the ball better than the last few days. We didn't have really long rallies, but I felt like I was timing the ball better and just felt a little bit less pressure than yesterday,'' said Davenport, who connected on 83 percent of her first serves.

Davenport needed three sets to get by No. 7 Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals Friday, and won two tiebreakers in a third-round win over 18-year-old Daja Bedanova.

``She didn't play great and I played a lot better than I have so far this week,'' she said. ``It's nice after struggling in a few matches and having some long matches to have kind of an easier match. Hopefully, it will help me for tomorrow to rest a little bit more.''

No matter what Davenport does in Sunday's final, she already has withdrawn from the Toronto tournament, citing left wrist tendinitis.

``It felt a lot better today than yesterday, that's for sure,'' she said. ``I got some treatment on it twice yesterday and will do it again tomorrow. It showed a lot on my backhand. I felt a lot looser and it felt like I could use it more than yesterday.''

Davenport broke Tauziat five times, scoring easy winners with serves that often registered more than 100 mph. Her groundstrokes were far more accurate than in previous matches.

``She served well and I had trouble,'' Tauziat said. ``Every time I returned, I had to return well. She was quick on the ball and I was always late.''

Tauziat committed 16 unforced errors, and won just 15 of her 31 trips to the net.

``She made some volley errors, especially in the beginning, that normally she is pretty solid on,'' Davenport said.

Tauziat, 33, defeated 11th-seeded Jelena Dokic and No. 3 Kim Clijsters to reach her fifth semifinal of the year. Shortly after losing to Davenport, she returned to win a doubles semifinal.

August 10, 2001, Seles beats Serena Williams

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- Monica Seles fought off six match points to beat Serena Williams 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (2) in the Classic quarterfinals Friday.

Williams, the two-time defending champion ranked eighth in the world, saw her 12-match tournament winning streak end before a rowdy sellout crowd of 4,324 at Manhattan Country Club.

``I definitely should have closed it out on each chance,'' Williams said. ``I guess you could say I got a little tight.''

The victory was Seles' third over a top-10 player in two weeks and her first in four career meetings with Williams. She is playing her third week in a row after being idle most of the year with a foot injury.

``That was unbelievable,'' Seles said. ``The crowd was so into it. Very rarely do you feel the electricity like that.''

Seles trailed 5-3, 40-love in the third set when Williams squandered three match points and double-faulted for deuce. Williams made two consecutive backhand errors and Seles broke to trail 5-4.

Seles held for 5-5, then Williams served a love game, punctuated by a 100-mph ace, for a 6-5 lead as the fans roared.

``It was almost like a New York crowd,'' Williams said. ``There was a lot of cheers.''

Seles quickly trailed love-40 to give Williams her fourth match point. But Williams sailed a forehand long, then Seles hit a powerful backhand and Williams missed another backhand for deuce. Two backhand errors by Williams forced the tiebreaker.

``I made a ton of errors,'' Williams said. ``I just made the wrong shots. I got crazy. I should definitely be in the semifinals, but I didn't do the right thing.''

Williams evened the tiebreaker 2-2 with a crosscourt forehand volley winner before Seles won the final five points and the match.

``I was going a point at a time because anything can happen,'' said Seles, who trailed love-40 both games in which she had match points against her.

Seles, the sixth seed, advanced to a semifinal against top-seeded Martina Hingis, whom she beat in last week's Acura Classic semifinals. Earlier, Seles had beaten second-ranked Jennifer Capriati.

``She played great and she stayed focused until the match was over,'' Williams said. ``At the end it all boils down to mental work. She always fights to the last ball. You can learn from that.''

Hingis defeated No. 12 Amy Frazier 6-2, 6-3 in 69 minutes.

``I didn't play the best game today, but it was good enough against Amy,'' Hingis said. ``I'll have to step it up tomorrow if I want to have a chance.''

Second-seeded Lindsay Davenport will play fifth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France in the other semifinal. Tauziat upset No. 3 seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Hingis has been bothered by a recurring stress reaction to her left foot since last week's Acura Classic in Carlsbad. She withdrew from next week's tournament in Toronto, and once she's done in California she plans to rest until the U.S. Open begins Aug. 27.

``Even today I was very cautious with my foot,'' she said. ``It's not getting worse, it's just like the same pain. Something is going on there. Hopefully it's going to be fine until the U.S. Open, that's what I'm most worried about.''

Davenport struggled for the second time in three matches before beating seventh-seed Elena Dementieva of Russia 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. She will play Tauziat in Saturday's other semifinal.

``It was one of those days where I got through and maybe I shouldn't have,'' she said. ``I felt like I was missing balls for no reason, not going for winners. I was really fed up with how I was giving her the match.''

Davenport also withdrew from Toronto, citing left wrist tendinitis aggravated in a semifinal loss to Venus Williams last week.

``It's getting more tender as the week goes on,'' she said. ``It's been my Achilles' heel since 1996 as far as injuries go. It's not anything I need a MRI for.''

Davenport also rolled her right ankle in the final game against Dementieva, but was pronounced fit by a WTA Tour trainer.

``I was so spastic. I kind of tripped,'' she said, laughing.

Not funny is Davenport's continued erratic play, including hitting groundstrokes well beyond the lines. After being broken at 1-1 in the third set, she dropped and kicked her racket in frustration.

``I got up a break and then got broken. That's pretty bad,'' she said. ``I feel like mentally and physically I'm going down and I cannot afford that going into the U.S. Open.''

Clijsters, who beat Davenport for her first title this year two weeks ago in Stanford, had nine double faults against the 33-year-old Tauziat.

``I played one of my best matches. She didn't serve well. Maybe she was afraid of my return,'' said Tauziat, who plans to retire at year's end.

``I still enjoy playing, what bothers me is not being able to enjoy the other parts in my life. I want to enjoy something else. I gave 15 years to tennis, that's enough.''

August 09, 2001, Seles outlasts Testud

By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Away most of the year with an injured foot, Monica Seles wanted to play lots of matches to test her game. She got an extended workout Thursday in the Classic.

Seles needed four match points and more than two hours to beat Sandrine Testud 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the third round.

``She and I always play these marathon matches,'' said Seles, who has beaten Testud seven consecutive times and holds a 9-3 lead in the series. ``Both of us have similar style games and we're both huge competitors.''

Third-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium defeated Alicia Molik of Australia 7-6 (3), 6-3. Top-seeded Martina Hingis and No. 4 Serena Williams were idle Thursday.

No. 2 seed Lindsay Davenport played 18-year-old Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic in a later match.

Seles advanced to the quarterfinals against two-time defending champion Serena Williams. It'll be her second meeting with a Williams sister in five days, having lost to Venus in the Acura Classic final Sunday.

Seles, the sixth seed, is playing just her third tournament since May. A stress fracture in her right foot kept her out of the French Open , and she still can't incorporate running into her workouts.

``Five months is a long time not to do anything with your foot and then you're playing world-class competition,'' she said. ``When you come off an injury you don't know how your foot is going to hold up. I've stayed in shape and now it's important to stay healthy and try to get the timing back on my groundstrokes.''

Testud, the 10th seed from France, led 6-3, 4-3 with a break point to go to 5-3, but Seles hit one of her six aces at 105 mph to even the second set at 4.

Testud saved two break points for a 6-5 lead. Seles came up with another big serve to hold at 6-6 and force the tiebreaker. Tied 5-5, Testud hit a backhand long and a forehand wide to lose the set.

The players traded breaks to start the third. Seles saved four break points to hold at 3-2, served a love game for 4-3, and then wasted three break points on Testud's serve as the Frenchwoman tied it 4-4.

Seles used a 104 mph ace for a 5-4 lead, then hit a backhand passing shot down the line on her fourth match point to win. The players exchanged hugs at the net.

``It was such a see-saw match,'' Seles said. ``We both gave our heart out there. It could have gone either way. I was really sluggish coming out. Not playing five or six months and then playing every week until the end, it's tough.''

Other third-round winners were No. 5 Nathalie Tauziat of France, who beat No. 11 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia 6-0, 0-6, 6-2; No. 7 Elena Dementieva of Russia, who defeated Virginie Razzano of France 6-4, 6-4; and No. 12 Amy Frazier, who beat Wynne Prakusya of Indonesia, 7-5, 6-3.

August 05, 2001, V Williams defeats Seles at Acura Classic final

By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) - Firing 13 aces at speeds up to 113 mph, Venus Williams overpowered Monica Seles 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Acura Classic for the second straight year.

Williams extended her domination of Seles to 6-0 in their first meeting since Williams won their semifinal in the Sydney Olympics en route to the gold medal. She beat Seles in three sets last year at La Costa Resort.

Williams served four love games, including one she closed out with aces of 113 and 111 mph to take a 5-2 lead in the second set. Williams showed she can change speeds, too. She set up match point with an 82 mph ace down the middle, then won with an 88 mph ace.

``When she starts going for it, it's really difficult to stay with her because the points go really quick,'' Seles said.

Seles actually served a higher percentage (59 percent to 54 percent), but Williams hit 37 winners and won 88 percent of the points on her first serve.

Still, Williams, the Wimbledon champion, sees improvements she needs to make heading into the U.S. Open , which begins Aug. 27.

``I want to improve my first-serve percentage. I can move a lot better,'' she said. ``Other than that, I'm playing well. I'm playing the important points well.''

Seles held three break points on double faults by Williams in the opening game, but Williams got out of trouble with a 111 mph ace and then held when Seles' service return went wide. Seles broke Williams once.

``She aced me and when she does that at those speeds there's not much you can do,'' Seles said. ``Everybody is beatable, but you have to have the same weapons she does, like a big first serve. She had a very tough combination - she has power behind her and her movement is great.''

Seles tried jerking Williams from side-to-side in the backcourt, but the 6-foot-1 Williams stretched her long arms and legs to return several balls that seemed out of reach.

Playing just her second tournament since May, Seles reached the final by upsetting the top two players in the world. She beat No. 2 Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals, then No. 1 Martina Hingis in the semis.

She missed most of the year with a stress fracture in her right foot that kept her out of the French Open ) and Wimbledon.

``It feels great to finally some tough matches, but I still need to add a few weapons to my game,'' Seles said. ``I'm playing better, but my serve hasn't been good. It went a little haywire and I couldn't hold.''

Williams had her own cheering section in tow - father Richard and three sisters, including Serena - but Seles was a crowd favorite this week.

``They seemed to like Monica more because they even cheered some double faults quite rigorously,'' she said.

Despite the victory, Williams will drop a spot to No. 4 in the world when the WTA Tour rankings are released Monday. Lindsay Davenport , who lost to Williams in the semifinals, moves from fourth to third. Hingis will stay on top for her 201st week - the fourth-longest at No. 1 since the rankings began in 1975.

``Sure, I want to be No. 1, but I want to win Grand Slams first. That's a top priority,'' said Williams, who improved to 35-5 this year with her fourth title.

``It's so hard to keep my ranking,'' said Williams, who has played just 10 tournaments this year and will play only one more before the U.S. Open. ``I'm not too worried. I'd just like to take the titles.''

Williams earned $125,000 and a car.

August 04, 2001 Seles downs Hingis to reach fourth Acura Classic final
SAN DIEGO (TICKER) -- Monica Seles continued to exact revenge as she moved into the final of the $565,000 Acura Tennis Classic for the fourth time in 11 years.

Seles, the seventh seed, registered 31 winners in 68 minutes Saturday as she powered past world No. 1 Martina Hingis, 6-3, 6-4. The win snapped Seles' seven-match losing streak against the top-seeded Swiss.

Sunday's final will be an all-American affair as Seles will meet defending champion and second seed Venus Williams, who blasted her way past fourth seed Lindsay Davenport, 6-2, 7-5.

Seles also reached the final in 1991, 1997 and 2000 but never has won here. She avenged her 1997 defeat with the victory over Hingis.

Seles beat 1991 champion Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals and will have a chance for more revenge Sunday. The nine-time Grand Slam winner lost to Williams in last year's final.

"To come back after a match like yesterday and play as well as I did today and keep the level up high the entire match, was really very satisfactory," Seles said. "It feels great when you work hard and then you see the result. The bottom line is, I'm really enjoying playing out there."

With the triumph over Hingis, Seles improved her career record at the Acura Classic to 15-4.

The former world No. 1, who is competing in just her third event since March after being sidelined by a foot injury, advanced to the semifinals at last week's Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, California before losing to the eventual champion, Belgian teenager Kim Clijsters.

Hingis dropped to 12-3 all-time against Seles with her first loss in the series since the 1998 du Maurier Open. She won this event in 1997 and 1999.

The Swiss player has won three tournaments this year but none since February. She took the adidas International, Qatar Open and Dubai Open and reached the final of her first five WTA Tour events of 2001.

Williams has rebounded nicely from her stunning quarterfinal loss to fellow American Meghann Shaughnessy at last week's Bank of the West Classic, where she also was the defending champion.

"This is the best I've served in the tournament. It's a good thing to serve well against Lindsay," Williams said after the match. "That's what I know I need to do when I play against her."

Williams, who won her third career Grand Slam crown at Wimbledon and also claimed titles at Miami and Hamburg, won here last year as part of a 35-match winning streak. She also was runner-up here in 1998.

Davenport assured herself of moving past Williams into third in the world rankings by simply reaching the final four. She fell to 10-8 all-time against Williams and has lost five of the last six meetings.

Davenport reached the final last week in Stanford before losing to Clijsters. The native of Newport Beach, California won her other final appearance this season and took this event in 1998.

First prize is $125,000.

August 03, 2001 Capriati cries foul after loss to Seles

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- Jennifer Capriati cried foul after losing 6-3, 6-3 to Monica Seles in the Acura Classic quarterfinals Friday, claiming Seles' famous grunting on each shot ``is like interference.''

No. 2 seed Venus Williams beat sixth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France 6-2, 6-2, while No. 4 Lindsay Davenport struggled to a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (5) victory over 12th-seeded Sandrine Testud of France.

They will meet in Saturday's semifinals, while Seles faces either No. 1 Martina Hingis or Ai Sugiyama of Japan, who played a night match.

Capriati committed 24 unforced errors in the 52-minute loss to her former doubles partner, who has won three of their last five meetings and leads the rivalry 9-4.

``I never really got in a groove. From the first point she was really aggressive and she was screaming at the top of her lungs,'' said Capriati, a career-high No. 2 in the world this week. ``This is the loudest she's ever been. It was extremely hard to concentrate.''

Capriati complained about Seles' vocalizing to chair umpire Denis Overberg after she trailed 2-1 in the second set. WTA Tour supervisor Clare Wood appeared on court after Capriati trailed 3-2.

Wood monitored Seles, but did not tell her to pipe down.

``I didn't feel it was a deliberate hinderance,'' Wood said. ``In my opinion, the grunting was at a level that was acceptable.''

However, Wood said she would mention Capriati's complaint to Seles and also sit courtside for Seles' semifinal Saturday. But Wood said an official warning to Seles would depend on the reaction of her next opponent.

``Monica is known for her grunting and a few years back she had a lot of complaints,'' Wood said. ``This is the first incident in years.''

Seles emits a distinct sound when she hits each shot, but she expressed surprise when informed of Capriati's complaints by a WTA Tour official.

``I did nothing differently during this match, changed nothing, so I feel I have nothing to defend,'' Seles said in a statement. ``I respect Jennifer as a friend and a player and I'm sorry she thought I did anything on purpose or if anything in my game upset hers.''

Seles, seeded seventh, is playing just her fifth tournament since February. She has missed much of the year because of a stress fracture in her right foot that still prevents her from running as part of her workout routine.

``Just that I'm playing again is a lot of fun. I'm not going to measure my happiness with a win or loss,'' said Seles, who withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon with the injury.

``I was really surprised by the way I played and that I kept the same intensity throughout the match,'' she said.

Capriati said Seles' grunts carried over to when she was hitting a shot.

``Sometimes it's like interference,'' she said. ``I don't know if it's something I should take straight to her. Even my mother said to me that's what I should've done.''

While Seles focused on pounding her groundstrokes deep, Capriati was also annoyed by ringing cell phones in the stands at the La Costa Resort.

``Answer it!'' she yelled at a spectator when she held a break point in the second set. Seles sent a backhand wide to give Capriati her only break of the second set at 3-3. Seles broke Capriati's serve three times in the second set and hit a forehand winner to close out the match.

``Everyone grunts, I grunt, but I don't absolutely scream when I hit the ball,'' Capriati said. ``It's tough for me to concentrate with other distractions, like people in the crowd and cell phones. I have to try to tune that out.''

Asked if she would add ear plugs to her equipment bag, Capriati just smiled.

Capriati didn't garner any support from Williams and Davenport, who are ranked third and fourth in the world.

Davenport defeated Seles in last week's Bank of the West semifinals at Stanford and said she wasn't bothered by the grunting.

``Sometimes with Monica, the closer it gets the louder she gets,'' Davenport said. ``Certain players grunt very loud, like Serena Williams and Monica, but I never thought I lost the match because of someone else's volume.''

Williams said she tunes out her opponent and focuses on the ball.

``Whatever they do on their side I can't control unless they're cheating and that hasn't happened since juniors,'' she said. ``I guess Serena can get loud at times. It's not illegal. Everyone is free to breathe as they see fit.''

Davenport and Testud slugged through a two-hour, 18-minute battle marred by a combined 75 unforced errors. Davenport trailed 4-1 in the third-set tiebreaker before rallying.

``Hopefully winning matches and getting to the semifinals gives you confidence,'' Davenport said. ``I know I have it in me. I just have to keep it more consistent.''

August 03, 2001 Seles knocks out old rival Capriati

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Reuters) - Monica Seles beat her fellow American and former rival Jennifer Capriati 6-3 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Acura Classic on Friday.

``I'm so happy things went my way today,'' said the seventh-seeded Seles, who won the contest with a blazing forehand crosscourt winner. ``I played incredible. To play well here again is very satisfactory.''

In disposing of the third-seeded Capriati, the Australian and French Open champion, Seles easily played her most impressive match since returning to competition last week after nearly five months off the circuit with a foot injury.

Seles not only moved surprisingly well, but she served with great authority and jumped all over her opponent's second serves, rarely missing an opportunity to put away mid-court balls.

The 27-year-old Seles had an 8-4 career record against Capriati going into the match, but lost to her compatriot in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January.

The pair, who enjoyed great rivalry early in their careers, met in the 1991 final here when Capriati triumphed in a third-set tiebreaker.

But the 25-year-old Capriati, seeded number three, was never able to get the upper hand on Friday, finishing numerous exhausting baseline rallies by dumping tired shots into the net.

Capriati committed 24 unforced errors, twice as many as her opponent.

August 03, 2001 Seles, Capriati line up repeat of classic final

By Matthew Cronin

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Jennifer Capriati and Monica Seles set up a replay of their classic 1991 final here when the two baseliners blew away their opponents in the third round of the $750,000 Acura Classic on Thursday.

Third seed Capriati outplayed number 15 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia, 6-4, 6-2, while seventh seed Seles trounced number 11 Meghann Shaughnessy of the U.S., 6-4, 6-1.

Top seed Martina Hingis , defending champion Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport also secured their places in the quarter-finals.

The last time the two Americans played here, Capriati, 15, edged 17-year-old Seles, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2), in what was then the youngest final in Open era history.

``It was a really tough and important match to me,'' Capriati recalled. ``It was the first time that I beat her in a regular tour event. Now we're the same type of players but we're obviously stronger, wiser and completely different people.''

Seles doesn't have particularly fond memories of her defeat but can look back with pride at her achievements in that American summer, when she won the U.S. Open title.

``It was ard-fought, side to side, really hard-hitting,'' Seles said. ``We were the two hardest hitters on the tour.

``She beat me 7-6 in the third set in an exhibition a few weeks before San Diego, then she beat me again 7-6 in the third here and then I beat her 7-6 in the third set in the U.S. Open semis. We bring out the best in each other.''

In overwhelming Shaughnessy, Seles played her most impressive match since she returned to the tour last week after nearly five months off with a foot injury.

Seles devoured Shaughnessy's serve in the second set and was ferocious and precise from the baseline.

``I didn't want to let her back into the match like I did in Scottsdale,'' Seles said of the last time they met, a three-set win for Shaughnessy in March.


``My returning was a lot better than I expected. I always thought that my serve would be the last thing to come along, but I served well in the second set. Getting back my timing will take a while but physically I feel great.''

But defeating Capriati will be a much taller order for Seles. Against the 18-year-old Dokic, the Australian and French Open champion was always a step faster and ran down numerous Dokic bombs to the corners.

``That's the best she's played all year,'' Dokic said. ``She's serving so well and really striking the ball cleanly.''

Capriati said it was her three-set win over Seles in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January that set up her year.

``That was the start, it was a breakthrough for me,'' said Capriati, who went on to beat Hingis in the final.

``I almost lost it, so when I came back it gave me a lot of confidence to beat Lindsay (Davenport) in the semis, and then in the final.''

Both Capriati and Seles said the better server is likely to rule Friday's quarter-final because both are lethal returners.

``Everyone who isn't injured is here which makes for a lot of exciting matches,'' said Williams after trouncing 18-year-old Czech Daja Bedanova 6-1 6-3.

``I'm even excited about some of the matches. I might go take a peak at some of them. It's great for the entertainment value of our sport.''

If they should win their quarter-finals, Hingis will meet Capriati and Williams will take on Davenport.

Williams put on an athletic display of all-court tennis to overcome Bedanova.

``She's a very good young player, but was a little nervous,'' said Williams, 21, who now meets sixth seed Nathalie Tauziat of France, a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 winner over Bulgaria's Maggie Maleeva.

Hingis crushed hometown favorite Alexandra Stevenson, 6-1, 6-3. ``I played very well and concentrated,'' she said.

The Swiss top seed now plays Japan's Ai Sugiyama, who won her match against Nicole Pratt after the Australian retired with an ankle injury when trailing, 6-3, 4-1.

Fourth seed Davenport eclipsed No. 16 Barbara Schett of Austria, 6-1, 7-5. The American now plays number 12 Sandrine Testud of France, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over No. 8 Elena Dementieva of Russia.

July 29, 2001 Put retirement talk to rest - Seles is far from finished

Monica Seles still has a future in tennis. The retirement vultures have started circling, but that's not blood they're smelling. It's just a little more sweat than usual.

Seles looked overworked in the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic yesterday. She lost to Lindsay Davenport 6-4, 6-2, and reconfirmed the impression that she can still challenge, but no longer defeat the top players in the sport.

A foot injury kept her off the court for most of the past five months, so the Stanford event was largely a tune-up for her. Seles admitted as much yesterday. She explained that she was playing doubles for the only time this summer, so that she would get plenty of work even if she didn't last long in the singles draw.

That was a small concession, a tame, predictable admission that she's not in her prime at the moment. She's not making the big concession, not saying that she considers stepping aside because she hasn't won a Grand Slam title since the 1996 Australian Open.

"I really try to stay in the present, and the way my life is going in all aspects," she said last week when a Reuters reporter put the retirement question to her. "I do what's expected in order to stay at this level without dwelling on the past or thinking about the future too much."

She finished 2000 at No. 4 in the world rankings, a spot that Anna Kournikova

must dream of holding. Yet Seles seems like a has-been, an object of wistful sympathy.

She was on top of the world for so long, it's hard to believe she could accept anything less. She has been so thoroughly thwarted by the Davenports of the world, it's hard to believe she can ever win a major tournament again. The pool of younger, stronger players is too deep.

But it shouldn't matter that Davenport and Venus Williams and Martina Hingis seem insurmountable. Seles isn't Willie Mays at the end, stumbling in the outfield, painful to watch. She isn't even Jerry Rice, clinging to a sport as his 39th birthday approaches and his greatest years recede from view.

She is only 27, five months from her 28th birthday. I don't think Rice should walk away if he still loves his job, so I can't imagine why Seles would.

"Usually, when you're hurt and you're out of the game for a while, you start to realize whether . . . you still have that fire," Davenport said. "Monica came back, so I'm sure that means she's not ready to give up yet."

Some people might argue that Seles should stay because a youthful retirement would be a small triumph for the lunatic who stabbed her in Hamburg,

Germany, in 1993, forcing her out of the game for more than two years. I might agree, except I hate thinking his actions could influence her career ever again. I hate thinking of Seles as his victim, to root for her out of pity.

I think she should stick around for the tennis, for whatever she still gets from a well-placed serve or a searing backhand. She should stick around because the game would be poorer if she left. She is idiosyncratic, with her two-fisted forehand and backhand, and fun to watch. And despite appearances from the results of the past five years, she still might win a Grand Slam tournament.

If the idea sounds ridiculous, remember what Jennifer Capriati did this year. Remember what Goran Ivanisevic did at Wimbledon. Their situations are different, particularly because those two are wildly erratic and Seles has been impeccably consistent. But the central theme -- that tennis is full of surprises -- holds up.

Watching Seles yesterday, I couldn't help wondering what she could do if she put more emphasis on weight training. With a little more power, she might not have driven so many balls into the net. She might have more stamina.

Seles does lift, but so far she has not achieved the musculature of Davenport, Williams, Capriati or, more recently, Hingis. I have some qualms about making the recommendation, because you never know what dietary supplements, or other funky concoctions, are used to produce bulging biceps these days. Besides, Seles has always been a smart player, a strategist whose rhythm might be undermined by more reps in the weight room.

Before her foot injury, she was soaring. Her No. 4 ranking was her highest since the end of '96. Given that the field of female stars has gotten thicker over time, she appeared to be ascendant, not trudging toward the end. If Seles is still hungry, the retirement vultures are going to starve.

July 29, 2001 Davenport tops Seles at Bank of the West
STANFORD, CALIFORNIA (TICKER) -- Lindsay Davenport continued her domination of fellow American Monica Seles on Saturday and advanced to her fifth final of the year at the $565,000 Bank of the West Classic.

The second-seeded Davenport dispatched Seles, 6-4, 6-2, for her eighth straight victory over the fourth seed. She has not lost to her older countrywoman since a three-set defeat at Manhattan Beach in 1997 and leads the all-time series, 8-2.

Davenport will seek her fourth title of the season against third seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium, who posted a 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 victory over No. 5 Meghann Shaughnessy of the United States.

Clijsters advanced to her fourth final of the year but is 0-4 lifetime vs. Davenport. She reached her first career Grand Slam final at the French Open and was runner-up at Indian Wells and the Heineken Trophy.

By defeating Shaughnessy, Clijsters will jump to a career-high No. 5 in the WTA Tour rankings. If Davenport wins Sunday's final, she will rise to No. 3, dropping Venus Williams to the fourth spot.

Seles hit four consecutive backhand errors in the ninth game to lose the first set. After exchanging breaks to start the second, Davenport gained two more breaks and served her seventh ace of the match to take a 5-1 advantage. She closed out the match when Seles committed three backhand errors.

"I probably had a little bit of an edge since she's just coming back from a five-month layoff," Davenport said. "I got the first hit before she was able to do anything. There weren't a lot of long points and not too many ground strokes."

Davenport has reached the final here for the fourth year in a row. She won in 1998 and 1999 but fell to Williams last season.

A semifinalist at the Australian Open in January, the 25-year-old American claimed titles this year at the Pan Pacific Open, State Farm Classic and Britannic Asset Management.

Seles, a two-time champion here, was sidelined in the spring due to a foot injury. She returned in May at Madrid after a two-month layoff but lost her first match and withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon.

"It's been a good week, obviously. I'm still improving and just staying healthy," Seles said. "I just want to get as many matches in (before the U.S. Open)."

After splitting the first two sets, Clijsters jumped to a 4-0 lead before Shaughnessy held serve for her only game of the third set.

"I knew if I could pick up the level like I played in the first set, then I had a chance in the third," Clijsters said. "I played a little more aggressive, and it worked."

Shaughnessy was trying to reach her third final of the season. The 22-year-old was runner-up at Scottsdale and Hamburg and also advanced to the fourth round at the French Open and Wimbledon. With her quarterfinal victory over Williams on Friday, she will rise to at least 13th in the rankings.

"I had a pretty emotional day (Friday), I didn't have enough energy," Shaughnessy said. "I put so much emotion and intensity (against Williams), it's something I have to learn about getting up for the next match after winning a big one like that.

"I felt drained from all the emotion. It's just going back to work and taking the opportunities in learning how to handle it all."

First prize is $90,000.

July 28, 2001 Seles continues comeback
Stanford, California - Monica Seles continues to look lively in her comeback from injury as she stopped Lilia Osterloh 6-2 7-5 to move into the semi-finals of the of the $565 000 Bank of the West Classic on Friday.

"I played much better tonight," said Seles, who came back to the tour this week after taking almost five months off due to a foot injury. "The more matchplay I get, the better I'll be."

Osterloh competed well in the second set, but her weak second serve was her undoing, with Seles pouncing on any slack serves.

"She's the best returner in the world and that's tough for me," Osterloh said. "It's really disappointing as I didn't play up to my potential. I felt I had a great chance going on the court and I wish I could go out and play the match again."

While Seles was pleased that she played better than she did in her second round match, the nine-time Grand Slam champion said that she still had a long way to go before she hit her stride.

"My movement and timing is off and I'm having trouble changing directions," she said. "On some points, I was retreating. It's the lack of matchplay. If I can stay healthy for just a few weeks, I should be better."

Seles said she would have to be a lot better against Davenport, who's beaten her in seven of their last nine matches.

Clijsters and Shaughnessy have played three times, with the Belgian winning their last contest in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

However, Shaugnessy won their two previous matches, here last year and at Scottsdale earlier this year.

"She's a tough player," Clijsters said. "She played great today. But I feel like I'm playing well and will try to get on top of her early to set the tone for the match."

July 26, 2001 Despite injury layoff, Seles not planning retirement

STANFORD, Calif. -- Despite just returning from her longest injury layoff in six years, Monica Seles remains dedicated to tennis and maintains that she has no plans to retire soon.

Although the 27-year-old former No. 1 has been on the WTA Tour for 13 years and notched up nine Grand Slam victories, she remains intensely private and gives little away.

She does, however, make it clear that when she does decide to call it a day, it will be a surprise to everyone but herself, friends and family.

"I've been asked retirement questions for the last five years," Seles told Reuters in an exclusive interview. "I won't be making a fuss about it when it happens, I'll just finish playing.

"If someone wants to have a one-year farewell tour then that's fantastic, but it's also fine to just slip away quietly. It's really up to the individual," she said. Seles is playing at this week's at the $565,000 Bank of the West Classic in Stanford after completing just two matches in the last five months due to a foot injury.

When Seles topped the world rankings at the beginning of the last decade, her main rivals were Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

Of those four, only Sanchez-Vicario is still playing.

But Seles herself doesn't think past the next major tournament. "I really try to stay in the present, and the way my life is going in all aspects," she said.

"I do what's expected in order to stay at this level without dwelling on the past or thinking about the future too much."

Seles has been a fixture in the second week of the Grand Slams since she returned to the tour in August 1995, two and a half years after she was stabbed by a crazed German at Hamburg in Aprl 1993.

However, since her return she has only managed to win one Grand Slam -- the 1996 Australian Open -- and has been unable to come close to retaking the No. 1 ranking that she once held for 178 weeks.

At the end of last year, she did began to regain her form and gave her best performance for some time when just losing out to current number one Martina Hingis in a three set classic in the Chase Championships final last November.

She ended the year ranked No. 4 and felt that she was as close as she's ever been to reaching the top once more.

"I played so well at the (Chase) Championships -- it was the best I played last year.

"Going into the Australian Open [in January], I was fine physically but not fit enough to play all those matches.

"I played too much tennis over a four-week period, both singles and doubles. After that, I started to feel my injury again," she said.

Seles was knocked out of the Australian Open by eventual winner Jennifer Capriati in three tough sets.

Its a loss she regrets after having beaten Capriati so often in the past -- without any prior defeats in a Grand Slam event. But she remains full of praise for her American rival.

"It goes through your head, especially when you had chances to win the match like I had in the second set. But then again,. she went on to beat Lindsay (Davenport) and Martina (Hingis), which were bigger matches than she had against me.

"It was great to see that and no one expected her to do what she did this year," Seles added.

The biggest question for Seles is whether she can regain her once steely confidence and learn to close out matches against the elite players like Hingis, Venus Williams, Mary Pierce and Davenport.

"Last year, I went through patches where I played so well," Seles said. "It was one of my most interesting years because I didn't lose to anyone outside the top four and it was just frustrating to lose to the same players.

"Fitness came into play, too, and my wanting to win certain matches more than believing I could win them. But the more you work on certain things, the more it helps your confidence."

Currently ranked No. 10 and with little match play, Seles realises it will be difficult to start grabbing titles immediately.

But she still believes she can win another Grand Slam title. "I think so," she said. "Only time will tell. I can sit here and tell you that I can, but we'll see as time goes.

If I put in the work and if I want and all those things come together. I do want it."

In a bid to get her back to the top, Seles has just hired former ATP Tour player Mike Sell as her new coach and hitting partner.

"Mike and I are going to start trying it out next week," Seles said. "We'll start with him as a hitting partner but I think he has enough experience in the game to help me as a coach. But will see where it goes."

Seles had been coached by her father Karolj for her entire career until he died in May 1998. Since then, she has worked with coaches Harold Solomon, Gavin Hopper and up until recently, Bobby Banck, who she still consults with weekly.

July 26, 2001 Fit-Again Seles reaches quarter-finals at Bank of the West

STANFORD, California (Reuters) - Monica Seles playing her first match for over two months, struggled initially before beating fellow American Meilen Tu 7-6 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the Bank of the West Classic on Wednesday.

The number four seed, who saved two set points before clinching the first set in a tiebreak, said she had suffered no reaction to the foot injury that forced her to miss the French Open and Wimbledon .

``I felt really good,'' she said. ``I started out pretty well and then got nervous. I had problems finding my range. I've been practicing but it's so different in a match. But at least I eventually found my game and began to play better.''

The 27-year-old Seles said she had not considered retiring during her absence from the circuit.

``It never crossed my mind,'' she said. ``I stayed in shape in other ways so once I could hit, I only needed two weeks to start playing competitively. It was more a frustration watching the Grand Slams.

``I was thinking, 'Gosh I should be out there playing.' It was really good for me to miss it that much and feel I really want to be out there. I'm as hungry as ever.''

Second seed Lindsay Davenport had few problems on her return to the tournament she has won twice, beating Italy's Rita Grande 6-3 6-2.

In her first match since losing to Venus Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals, Davenport was far too strong for her opponent.

``I played fine until the end of the match when I lost my concentration,'' she said. ``I love to play here and if I stay under control and concentrate, I do think I can win the title,''

In early action, American veteran Chanda Rubin overwhelmed Russian Elena Bovina 6-4 6-0 to advance to the quarter-finals.

American Lilian Osterloh also earned herself a last-eight berth with a 6-2 6-3 win over Sandra Cacic.

In first-round action, Australian Nicole Pratt overcame Tatiana Panova of Russia 3-6 7-6 7-5.

June 29, 2001 Seles targets U.S. Open

By Kathryn Masterson, The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. - Monica Seles, who pulled out of Wimbledon with an injured foot, has been watching the grass court action from her home in Sarasota, Fla., while she prepares for her return to the game. ''It's been a tough one for me to miss,'' Seles said Wednesday. ''I've missed a lot of my favorite tournaments and it's been hard watching it on TV.'' Seles first left the French Open in May because of her injury and said she wanted to be ready to play Wimbledon, the only grand slam title she has not won. She then departed Wimbledon

"I'm missing two Grand Slams - I haven't done that in ages in my career," Seles said.

Instead of playing center court in London, Seles, who has nine grand slam titles, has been working out on the bike and in the pool, she said. She has been unable to run sprints because of her injury.

Seles will make her return July 12 in Hartford, Conn., when she plays with the Hartford FoxForce World Tennis Team. Seles is the team's marquee player.

Seles will play matches July 12-15 in Hartford, Philadelphia and two sites in New York.

Seles' goal is to come back strong and healthy and to pace herself for the U.S. Open at the end of August. Seles has won the US Open twice.

"I would really like to play well there after missing the last two Grand Slams," she said.

The team outings offer a low-stress comeback. Teammates are Luke Jensen, Murphy Jensen, Sonya Jeyaseelan and Mirjana Lucic.

"I really love team tennis ... it's so much more fun," Seles said.

June 27, 2001 Seles will play World Team Tennis

Monica Seles will make her 2001 Tyco World Team Tennis (WTT) Pro League debut this summer at home for the Hartford FoxForce on Thursday night, July 12 against the New York Buzz. She will then travel to Philadelphia on July 13 to battle the Freedom at Cabrini College, then onto the New York Hamptons on July 14 and wrapping up her Pro League play in Schenectady on July 15 against the Buzz.

The 2001 Tyco WTT Pro League will be played July 9-29 with the season-ending Tyco WTT Finals slated for August 25 (location TBA).

Monica on playing in Hartford last summer meant to her:
"Last year, I think anyone that came out to the matches saw how great of a time I had. I was only supposed to play four nights and I decided I wanted to play the fifth night because I was so enjoying it. It's going to be a great place to come back after not playing for a while."

On how Tyco WTT Pro League has evolved since she started playing:
"Since I started playing, which was two years ago, it has grown so much. It seems that it's getting better and better players and marquee names, which I think it will need to keep growing. More and more players are wanting to play and it's wonderful to see that."

"It's like more of a family type of feel than let's say when you go to a big tournament it's like a corporate type of feeling. That's rare because nowadays tennis is growing at such a fast pace. It's becoming all these big tournaments that are so impersonal."

On the New Haven Kids Clinic that she will be participating in on July 11:
"It will be so exciting to spend time with them and just show them the game of tennis. It will be great to be able to inspire, or get kids who otherwise wouldn't have picked up the tennis racket, but now would."

On what she enjoys most about the team concept of WTT and the Federation Cup:
"I just in general love any type of team event that we have in tennis. It's unfortunate that it's very rare. That's why I really love World Team Tennis because it gives me the chance. It's a lot of fun having guys on the team too, getting their perspective on a lot of things."

On potentially seeing the team format instituted at the Olympics:
"It would be great. I talked to Billie (Jean King) a lot about that at the Olympics last year, and I really, really would support that."

On some of the career goals that she would still like to accomplish as a player:
"Realistically, it would be winning any of the grand slams. For me the main goal was each times, even when I was losing one match a year, was to play perfect tennis. Right now in my career, I haven't done that yet. So that's kind of what I'm striving forward to."

On using the Tyco WTT Pro League as a tune-up for the U.S. Open:
"My main goal is going to be to come back strong and healthy and try to pace myself before the U.S. Open because I really would like to play well there after missing the last two grand slams."

June 18, 2001 Seles withdraws from the Wimbledon Championships

LONDON (TICKER) -- Wimbledon lost two marquee players on Monday when Monica Seles and Alex Corretja pulled out of the Grand Slam tennis event due to injury.

Seles, who has nine Grand Slam singles titles but has yet to win at Wimbledon, will miss her second straight major tournament due to a nagging foot injury.

Corretja, a French Open finalist from Spain who has been critical of the Wimbledon seeding process, also withdrew on Monday, citing a leg injury.

Seles has been receiving treatment for a sore foot that forced her to miss the French Open.

The former world No. 1 has played just two tour matches since reaching the semifinals of the State Farm Tennis Classic at Scottsdale, Arizona in early March. Seles lost in the second round of the Tennis Masters Series event at Indian Wells and the Madrid Open.

Seles has entered just six tournaments this season, winning the IGA U.S. Indoors event in February.

The 27-year-old American has claimed 48 WTA titles, including four Australian Opens, three French Opens and two U.S. Opens. Seles, currently eighth on the current WTA points list, reached the 1992 Wimbledon final before losing to Steffi Graf.

May 25, 2001 Seles withdraws from the French Open

PARIS (AP) -- Three-time champion Monica Seles pulled out of the French Open on Friday because of a foot injury that forced her to miss two months of play this season.

``I'm really disappointed,'' Seles said. ``I gave my best effort. I came here really hoping to play, but my foot is just not ready.''

The $10 million French Open starts Monday, and Seles' withdrawal further depletes the women's field. Reigning champion Mary Pierce, Anna Kournikova and Chanda Rubin are injured and unable to play.

With Seles out, the seeded players advanced one spot in the Grand Slam event. Meghann Shaughnessy of the United States became the 16th-seeded player.

Seles lost her opening match this week at the Spanish Open, her first tournament since March.

``I came to Europe hoping to get some matches coming into Paris,'' Seles said. ``But after just one match I had pain. I was hoping it would pass, but even though the French Open is my favorite tournament, I cannot play.''

Seles, a Yugoslav-born American citizen, won the French in 1990, 1991 and 1992 and was a finalist in 1998. She reached the quarterfinals last year and was ranked sixth in the preliminary seedings this year.

``I hope to be ready for Wimbledon,'' Seles said. She is not entered in any competitions between now and Wimbledon.

May 23, 2001 Seles loses first match at the Madrid Open

MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Monica Seles was eliminated in her opening match at the Spanish Open, losing to Paraguay's Rossana de los Rios 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 Wednesday.

Seles was seeded first at the $170,000 clay-court tournament, but was bettered by a player ranked 72nd by the WTA. Seles and the other top seeds received byes into the second round.

``I didn't come as prepared as I thought,'' Seles said. ``I was only able to train for three or four days after my injury and you could see that in my game.''

She pulled out of the Italian Open earlier this month with a foot injury.

``I would have liked to stay in the tournament,'' Seles said. ``I came to tune up for (the French Open) and to play some matches after my injury. But it wasn't to be.''

Elsewhere, second-seeded Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario advanced when Barbara Rittner quit after losing the first set 7-6 (4).

In other matches involving seeded players, No. 3 Sandrine Testud beat Julia Vakulenko 6-0, 6-4, No. 6 Lisa Raymond defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3, No. 7 Magui Serna outlasted Cara Black 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, and No. 8 Angeles Montolio came back to top Maria Antonio Sanchez Lorenzo 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

May 21, 2001 Seles returns to action this week at the Madrid Open

MADRID, SPAIN (TICKER) -- Monica Seles makes her claycourt debut this week at the $170,000 Madrid Open, a final tuneup for next week's French Open.

Seles has not played since the Tennis Masters Series event at Indian Wells in March due to a continuing foot injury. She went 17-2 on clay last season, winning one title and reaching the quarterfinals at the French Open.

The top seed from the United States, Seles owns one title this season (the IGA U.S. Indoors), and had advanced to the quarterfinals or better in four events before getting injured.

In 1992, Seles defeated Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of Spain in three sets in the final here. Sanchez-Vicario, the second seed, is coming off three straight quarterfinal finishes at Hamburg, Berlin and Rome. She has won 13 of 18 matches on clay this season, winning at the Porto Ladies Open in Portugal in April.

Seles and Sanchez-Vicario both received first-round byes.

Sandrine Testud of France is seeded third, followed by American Amy Frazier, Barbara Schett of Austria, Lisa Raymond of the United States and Angeles Montolio of Spain.

Frazier makes her first appearance on the European claycourt season Monday when she plays countrywoman Kristina Brandi. She has not played since reaching the quarterfinals at the Family Circle Cup at Charleston.

Also, Schett faces Maria Jose Martinez of Spain, Raymond battles American Jennifer Hopkins, Montolio encounters Mariana Diaz-Oliva of Argentina, and Jill Craybas of the United States battles Ukraine's Julia Vakulenko.

First prize is $27,000.

May 09, 2001 Seles withdraws from Italian Open

ROME (AP) -- Defending champion Monica Seles on Wednesday pulled out of the women's Italian Open because of a foot injury.

Elena Dementieva also withdrew from the May 14-20 clay-court tournament that follows this week's men's event in Rome.

Venus and Serena Williams also withdrew because of injuries last week.

The field for the Italian Open, a major tuneup for the French Open, includes Martina Hingis and Jennifer Capriati.

March 09, 2001 Seles falls to Grabin in Indian Wells

Monica Seles became the biggest name to fall so far at Tennis Masters Series Indian Wells. The nine-time Grand Slam champion was defeated 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-4 by Tathiana Garbin.

Garbin, who hadn't won a match this year before defeating Olga Barabanschikova in round one here, had too much firepower for a below par Seles.

"I think it was a combination of her playing really well and obviously I wasn't playing what I usually play," said a disappointed Seles afterwards.

March 09, 2001 Seles goes back to school
Monica Seles took time out from her busy schedule to talk to first graders at a local Indian Wells school. Seles, who has won nine Grand Slam titles, admitted having to speak to the 160 six and seven year olds was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of her life.

"I don't think I've ever been so nervous," she said, still wearing the red and white Dr Seuss hat that the school gave her.

Dr Seuss, whose whimsical books are favorites with kids of all ages, was the theme of Seles' talk to the kids, who all attend the Gerald Ford Elementary School. "I wanted to stress how important reading is, but also to let them know how much fun it is to play tennis," said Seles.

Seles talked to the kids and answered their questions, which ranged from "how long have you played tennis," to "do you like tennis?" - to which Seles answered "of course I do! It's fun to hit that little yellow ball around."

Once the tough questions had stopped, Seles read Dr Seuss' classic "A Great Day for Up", and asked several of the excited youngsters to come and help her.

"I thought she was really nice," said six year old Alicia afterwards. "I like tennis and when I grow up I want to play like Monica."

Seles was relieved that she was such a big hit with her young audience. "I've never done anything like this so I was really nervous," she admitted. "I love kids, they're the toughest critics."

March 02, 2001 Davenport, Seles, Capriati move into quarters at State Farm Tennis Classic

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Lindsay Davenport didn't lose her touch while waiting to play in the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic.

Davenport's second-round match against Gala Leon Garcia was held up twice by rain. But the world's second-ranked player remained in control and won 7-5, 6-2 Thursday night to move into the quarterfinals.

It was the first competition for Davenport since Feb. 4, when she beat No. 1 Martina Hingis in Tokyo and collected her 31st WTA title.

A storm that set in Tuesday night forced 11 match postponements before it cleared up. The year before, rain washed out the final between Davenport and Hingis.

``It was a good match to start back with and test yourself,'' Davenport said. ``I was making errors and got down 4-1 and was able to turn it around. I got to chase a lot of balls and hopefully got some rhythm and found my path there a little bit.''

Monica Seles also stayed on course for back-to-back championships. She won Sunday in Oklahoma City and picked up her fifth consecutive singles victory by beating Cara Black 6-0, 6-3 earlier Thursday.

``It was good to get today's match and not get it too close, and get comfortable, and now I'm just looking forward to my quarterfinal,'' said Seles, the tournament's No. 2 seed.

Third-seeded Jennifer Capriati, who extended Seles to three sets in the Oklahoma City final, also made short work of an opponent, beating Jana Nejedly 6-2, 6-4.

In other matches, fifth-seeded Kim Clijsters beat wild card Jennifer Hopkins 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, and eighth-seeded Meghann Shaughnessy posted a 7-6 (7), 6-3 win over Nadejda Petrova.

Tina Pisnik won tiebreakers in the first and third sets to oust ninth-seeded Elena Likhovtseva 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (3), and Magui Serna defeated Kristina Brandi, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Davenport is 5-0 against Leon Garcia, last facing her in last year's U.S. Open, when the Spanish player won just one game.

But Leon Garcia showed grit in the first set, taking a 4-1 lead.

Davenport broke through in the seventh game and again in the 11th, when a volley by Davenport appeared to land long, but was counted. Leon Garcia protested, and the ruling appeared to rattle her.

It took her until the fifth game of the second set to hold service, and by then Davenport led 4-0.

``Once I got the first set under my belt, I felt a lot more under control,'' Davenport said.

Seles, currently fourth in the world, was unseeded for the first time in 11 years when she played in Scottsdale last year. She reached the quarters before running into Davenport, who won the last five games of the second set to eliminate Seles after falling behind 4-1.

This time, Seles had no trouble holding the lead against Black, a three-year pro who ranks 39th and had an 8-5 record.

Seles broke her three times in the first set, winning the last game when Black double-faulted twice. Seles overcame a 30-0 deficit to break Black in the eighth game of the second set, and finished the match in the next game with a precise crosscourt winner.

``I thought it would be a little closer, no question,'' Seles said. ``I played Cara once before, and it was difficult type of match. But I think she couldn't find her rhythm at the beginning.''

Nejedly got into the 28-woman singles draw when Mary Pierce withdrew, and posed little problem for Capriati, who won 10 matches in a row before falling to Seles and is ranked a career-high fifth.

The first seven victories in the run came at the Australian Open, where she won her first Grand Slam event.

``Obviously, my confidence is very high right now,'' Capriati said. ``I mean, why wouldn't it be? I'm just feeling great about my game and I feel like the momentum is continuing. You know, I go into each match -- whether I win or lose -- and I feel like it would be very hard to stop the roll I've been on.''

March 01, 2001 Davenport,Seles, Capriati matches rained out at State Farm Tennis Classic

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The 16 women remaining in the singles draw at the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic faced a busy makeup day after every match scheduled for Wednesday was rained out.

The top four -- No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, No. 2 Monica Seles, No. 3 Jennifer Capriati and No. 5 Kim Clijsters -- received byes and have yet to play in the first outdoor WTA Tour event of the season in North America.

Davenport, Seles and Capriati, along with No. 7 Lisa Raymond, never got started on Wednesday, while No. 9 Elena Likhovtseva and qualifier Tina Pisnik were at 6-6 in the first set when rain interrupted their match, which was suspended about seven hours later.

Capriati's night match against Jana Nejedly was the last called off, 9 1/2 hours after the first rain delay.

``That's outdoor tennis,'' tournament director Peter Tatum said. ``It could rain in Los Angeles in August. Anything is possible. That's a chance you take when you play outdoors.''

The operations staff made a half-dozen attempts to dry the Scottsdale Princess hardcourts, but each time, rain fell as they neared the end of the process.

It was the third consecutive time Davenport has prepared to play in Scottsdale, only to have the match canceled or postponed. She reached the final last year against Martina Hingis just before a storm moved in.

Davenport and Hingis waited until the following Monday before the final was canceled, leaving the first-year tournament without a champion. This year, her Tuesday night match against Gala Leon Garcia was postponed until Wednesday afternoon, then postponed again after a 4 1/2 -hour wait.

``It's frustrating, but at least no one is behind yet,'' said Davenport, who is 4-0 against Leon Garcia.

Also postponed was a match between Kristina Brandi and Magui Serna, an upset winner over No. 6 Justine Henin on Monday.

Tatum and his staff scheduled all eight second-round singles matches for Thursday.

February 26, 2001 Davenport, Seles top seeds at State Farm Tennis Classic

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA (TICKER) -- Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport of the United States hopes for better weather this year at the $565,000 State Farm Tennis Classic, which begins Monday.

After winning the Australian Open last season, Davenport was trying to claim successive titles when she reached the final. However, the championship match between the American and Martina Hingis was cancelled due to rain.

Davenport is in almost the same situation this year as she defeated Hingis to win the Pan Pacific Open earlier in the month in her last tournament. She is 11-2 this season, having also reached the final in Sydney and the semifinals at the Australian Open.

The recipient of a first-round bye, Davenport will play the winner of Monday's match between Gala Leon Garcia of Spain and Anne Kremer of Luxembourg.

Second seeded Monica Seles also is looking to record back-to-back tournament triumphs after the American outdueled Australian Open champion Jennifer Capriati, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, Sunday in an all-American final at the IGA U.S. Indoors.

Seles will take on either a qualifier to be determined or Cara Black of Zimbabwe in Wednesday's second round.

Capriati is here as the third seed. She did not look as sharp last week as she did at Melbourne, where she defeated Hingis to capture her first Grand Slam title. The 24-year-old Capriati was taken to three sets in the quarterfinals and semifinals before going the distance Sunday, when she suffered just her second loss in 13 matches this season. Her second-round foe will be decided on Tuesday.

Fourth seed Mary Pierce of France was forced to withdraw due to continuing problems with tendinitis in both ankles. It is the same injury that caused her to retire from her doubles match last week in Dubai.

Instead, Kim Clijsters of Belgium, the fifth seed, will receive Pierce's first-round bye and Elena Likhovtseva of Russia will be seeded ninth.

Likhovtseva takes on Silvia Talaja of Croatia in final evening match. No. 8 Meghann Sahughnessy of the United States plays Russia's Elena Bovina earlier on Monday night.

Sixth seed Justin Henin of Belgium, who won two titles this season and reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, meets Magui Serna of Spain.

Also, Jennifer Hopkins of the United States battles Sonya Jeyaseelan of Canada on Monday for the right to play Clijsters in the second round.

First prize is $90,000.

February 25, 2001 Seles beats Capriati in the final of the IGA
OKLAHOMA CITY (TICKER) -- Monica Seles wishes her meeting with Jennifer Capriati at the Australian Open was more like their encounter Sunday.

Seles gained a measure of revenge for her loss to Capriati at Melbourne by outdueling the Australian Open champion, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, Sunday to successfully defend her title at the IGA U.S. Indoors.

Last month, Seles suffered her earliest career exit from the Australian Open when Capriati rallied for a three-set quarterfinal win.

Capriati again forced the third set in Sunday's all-American final, but this time, Seles dominated the decisive set to seal her 48th career singles title and a first prize of $27,000.

"I just wanted to compete better against Jennifer than I did the last time we played each other in Australia, which was a tough loss for me," Seles said. "Today I was lucky, she made some errors at key times and I played better."

Last year, Seles made a successful return from a broken foot at this event and did not drop a set en route to the title. This week, it was a bit tougher for the former world No. 1, who had to pull out three-set wins in the last two rounds.

Capriati, the second seed, did not look as sharp this week as she did at Melbourne, where she defeated top-ranked Martina Hingis to capture her first Grand Slam title. She was taken to three sets in the quarterfinals and semifinals before going the distance Sunday.

"I'm definitely not going to be disappointed with today," Capriati said. "I'm proud of myself for coming back this week and playing well. They say you have that letdown after winning a Grand Slam but I don't think I had a letdown this week. I'll just put it behind me and go on to the next one (tournament)."

The 24-year-old Capriati suffered just her second loss in 13 matches this season and saw her lifetime record against Seles fall to 4-8. She was seeking her 11th career singles title.

February 24, 2001 Seles advances to final at IGA

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Monica Seles, the defending champion and top-seeded player, beat Japan's Shinobu Asagoe 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2 Saturday to reach the final of the IGA U.S. Indoor Championship.

The fourth-ranked Seles will meet the winner of the Jennifer Capriati-Daniela Hantuchova semifinal for the title.

``The first set was probably not the best tennis I've played,'' Seles said. ``I was just struggling out there with my timing, starting from really the first game. Then once I lost the first set, I just tried to pull it together and not give her so many errors.''

The unseeded Asagoe was playing in her first WTA Tour semifinal.

February 22, 2001 Monica Seles advances at IGA

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Top-seeded Monica Seles rebounded from a sluggish opening match to beat Alexandra Stevenson 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday night in the IGA U.S. Indoor Championships.

Stevenson had nine of the 13 aces in the match, but Seles never lost serve as she advanced to Saturday's semifinals.

``She had nothing to lose and came out playing good tennis. Fortunately, I felt like I played good tennis, too,'' Seles said.

Seles had to win a tiebreaker Wednesday in her victory over Jenny Hopkins, but was in control from the start this time.

``I definitely played better,'' she said. ``I'm still not timing the ball like I want to, but hopefully with a good day of practice, things will come around.''

Also Thursday, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia used a big serve to upset third-seeded Amanda Coetzer, 7-6 (0), 3-6, 6-0.

Neither player broke serve in the first set before Hantuchova dominated the tiebreaker.

``I really concentrated in the tiebreaker, especially the first few points,'' said Hantuchova. ``It is so difficult to come back against a Top 10 player like Amanda. I knew how important the tiebreaker was.''

Coetzer, ranked No. 10, broke serve early while winning the second set, but fell behind early in the third and didn't recover.

``I never could break her serve,'' Coetzer said. ``She served really well and was consistently around 90-95 mph. She is taller, and the angle of her serve is more difficult because of her height.''

The 17-year-old Hantuchova, ranked 108th in the world, will play a quarterfinal match Friday against another unseeded player, Anjko Kapros of Hungary.

In other matches, fifth-seeded Lisa Raymond advanced with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over fellow American Dawn Buth. Raymond will play second-seeded Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals.

January 21, 2001 Monica Seles: the people's champ

Earlier this week at Australian Open 2001, Channel 7, the host broadcaster, asked the public to pick the winner of the women's event. The name who topped the tally, with 38% of the vote, was not world No.1 Martina Hingis, defending champion Lindsay Davenport or the any one of the Williams wondergals.

It was Monica Seles, who hasn't lifted a Grand Slam trophy for five years, hasn't appeared in a final for nearly three years and is a tennis senior citizen at 27.

But maybe we shouldn't underestimate the knowledgeable Aussie tennis crowd. Seles moved into a quarterfinal clash with Jennifer Capriati on Sunday after engineering an unlikely 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory over promising Belgian youngster Justine Henin.

The 18-year-old Henin, riding a 13-match winning streak after victories on the Gold Coast and in Canberra, looked set to claim her most prized scalp when she led 6-4 4-2 after 54 brisk minutes.

The velocity on her groundstrokes - a beautifully struck, one-handed backhand in particular - and her athletic net game had Monica in many a vainless pursuit. Yet within the hour, it was Seles, a four-time winner here, who was acknowledging the victory cheers and applauding the supportive crowd.

"I raised my game when I was in desperate trouble," Monica said. "It really comes down to fighting - it's one good thing I have in me. She was playing unbelievable at times, it was a very see-saw match. She'll be top 10 by year's end, if not better."

Seles has virtually owned Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park since debuting 10 years ago as a giggling 17-year-old and sweeping through the first of her four titles [1991, 1992, 1993, 1996].

In Monica's friends group Sunday was Mary Joe Fernandez, loser to Seles here in the 1991 semis and 1992 final. In the former match, Seles was down a matchpoint before making one of her great escapes. Her 1993 three-set victory over archrival Steffi Graf stands as the greatest women's final played at Melbourne Park.

The 1996 Open saw Monica's emotional return to the Grand Slam honor board after the horrific on-court stabbing at Hamburg that put her out of the game for 27 months.

Not until the 1999 semifinals, in her fifth Open campaign, did Seles stumble at the Australian Open, when Martina Hingis ended her winning streak at 33. No other player has gone so long before tasting a first defeat in a Grand Slam.

Earlier in the week, Seles was asked if she ever reflected on her awesome record here as she passed her four victory portraits in the corridors at Melbourne Park. "I don't have time to look back, I'm in a Grand Slam tournament," Monica replied.

"I don't have too much time to look around between practice and matches and getting ready for them. I'm sure when I come back here as a retired tennis player to enjoy the tournament and the city, I'll look at it and remember good memories, without a doubt."

It's a vastly different Monica Seles today from the beaming whizkid who first captivated Australians in 1991. Then, she was the fiercest hitter on tour and would turn up to press conferences in floral dresses, hats and pearls. These days, Monica's on-court uniform owes little to self-expression.

On court, Seles has become a victim of the monster hitting she helped inspire. Who doesn't take the ball on the rise and whack it with almighty force these days?

In terms of foot speed Monica has not kept pace with the physical revolution in the game. Several times on Sunday, the athletic and match-tough Henin had her scrambling over the court. Monica would reach the first volley, but not the next.

Seles continues to pound some of the biggest groundstrokes in the game but because she's a half-step slower, her great strengths - taking the ball on the rise and disguising its direction - have been compromised. Monica contrasted the confidence Henin showed in her game with her own lack of sharpness. "My form is probably a low point, and it's been [there] for a while."

Still a remarkably consistent performer, Seles ended 2000 at No.4 with a 57-13 record. She was a bronze medallist at the Sydney Olympics and a member of the victorious US Fed Cup team. But her failure to pass the quarterfinals in the Grand Slams is a grave disappointment to a champion who once captured eight of nine Grand Slam finals in a three-year period.

The most telling stat is Monica's 0-12 combined record against Davenport, Hingis, Pierce and Venus Williams [she did not meet Serena in 2000]. Hingis even humiliated her 6-0 6-0 in the semi-finals at Miami.

The losing pattern has continued into 2001 and Australia, with Hingis victorious in a three-setter in the Hopman Cup final, and Amelie Mauresmo winning their Sydney quarterfinal in two tight sets. Monica made her escape on Sunday but how much longer can she battle both the top group and the upstarts snapping at her?

"The day I stop really enjoying it, I'll stop," Monica vowed earlier in the week. "I think the practice and traveling part will probably be the first thing I will not like.

"Travelling is probably the most difficult. Financially I'm lucky enough that I don't have to do this. Emotionally, I'm fine leaving the sport. As long as I love to play and can compete at a high level, I'll keep playing."

But Seles already has one eye on post-tennis future. "I'm looking forward to that life because it will definitely be less stressful than this one." She knows what she would do if she retired tomorrow. "But that's so personal, it's not going to be in the public or in the limelight. I just look forward to living my life as a private citizen."

Monica's bio in the media guide says she harbors ambitions to go to college and work with children. If her present funk continues, that other life could be closer than we all think.

January 21, 2001 Seles knocks Henin out of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Four-time champion Monica Seles advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Sunday with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over unseeded Belgian Justine Henin.

Seles, Australian Open champion in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996, kept her remarkable record at Melbourne Park intact as she came from a set down to win in 107 minutes.

Seles has lost just one of 38 singles matches at the Open and will now play fellow American Jennifer Capriati after the 12th seed beat Marta Marrero of Spain 7-5 6-1.

Henin has also been on a good streak, stringing together 14 wins in a row this year including tournament victories at Gold Coast and Canberra.

The 18-year-old Belgian, who won the 1997 French Open junior title as a wildcard, looked to be heading toward the biggest win of her career when she sealed the first set with a second service ace then got an early break in the second.

But Seles broke back and eventually forced the match into a third set. The world number four dropped her service at the start of the final set but again broke back and went on to win.

January 20, 2001 In marquee match, Seles-Hingis beat Capriati-Dokic

MELBOURNE, Australia - The banner in the stands read ``Monica and Martina are leaner, meaner and keener.''

The Seles-Hingis team proved it against Jennifer Capriati and Jelena Dokic, winning 6-3, 6-3 at the Australian Open Saturday.

World No. 1 Hingis dashed and darted across the net for deft returns, and No. 4 Seles unleashed a blizzard of withering groundstrokes. Often, the balls came flying back at them.

``It was very high quality, very high intensity,'' said Hingis, whose critical net play was a sharp contrast with the baseline assaults of the other power hitters, most notably her partner.

``We both had to play well, otherwise, it's just bang, bang. I was the only one who wasn't hitting the ball hard, but I was telling Monica: 'OK, OK, I got to get to the net. I have to cross a lot and make them think and play.'''

It was only a second-round match, but what a group of marquee names with divergent and dramatic histories.

Hingis, with five Grand Slam titles at 20; Seles, a nine-time Slam winner who took a two-year absence after being stabbed courtside by a fan in 1993; Capriati, on a comeback after overcoming adolescent turmoil; and Dokic, whose often belligerent father has helped shroud her career in controversy.

Dokic, No. 26 in the world, was the only player on the court who was unseeded in the singles draw -- she lost to world No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the first round -- and was the weakest player in the doubles match. Some of her lobs sailed long, and she appeared reluctant to intercept at net.

Still, she often held her own, as when she lobbed over Seles' head, and rushed the net and hit Hingis' return into the open court midway through the second set. The point helped break Hingis' service game.

Capriati, who at 14 in 1990 was the youngest player to win a match at Wimbledon, pounded from the baseline and was equally aggressive at net. She questioned line calls with vigor, and when a baby in the stands wailed for too long, she yelled in frustration: ``Baby!''

Hingis and Seles, who beat No. 1 seeds and defending champions Rennae Stubbs and Lisa Raymond in the first round, are unseeded because they have just started playing together. Hingis recently ended a partnership with Russia's Anna Kournikova.

January 17, 2001 Seles thru to third round at Australian Open

Seles has conceded just five games in two matches. Her first round opponent [compatriot Brie Rippner] retired injured after one game, and the No.4 seed effortlessly disposed of Miroslava Vavrinec on Wednesday 6-2 6-3.

Seles, who possesses an almost flawless singles record at Melbourne Park [33 wins on the trot until Hingis beat her in the 1999 semis], is coming off her best year since 1992. Last year, she won three titles and reached the quarterfinals or better in all 15 events she played.

A sentimental favourite here, Seles preferred to think of Wednesday's match against the 88th-ranked Swiss player as her first round.

"I'm feeling OK out there. I just want to get through day by day. I love it here. I've always played well here, I like the surface," said the 27-year-old veteran who has graced the professional circuit since 1988.

Needless to say, the nine-time Grand Slam singles champion is now faced with numerous questions regarding when she intends to retire.

"The day I stop really enjoying it, especially the practise and travelling side, I'll stop. As long as I love to play and can compete at a high level, I'll keep playing.

"This could be my last tournament. If I wake up and don't want to play and I feel like that for a few days, then I'll move on. In some ways I look forward to that," said Seles, who remains adamant that her life after tennis "is not going to be in the public or in the limelight".

"I look forward to living my life as a private citizen."

January 15, 2001 Seles the first winner at Australian Open 2001

Fourth-seeded American Monica Seles was the first player to advance to the second round of Australian Open 2001 when her first round opponent retired injured Monday morning.

Compatriot Brie Rippner was trailing 0-1 in the first set against the four-time champion on Vodafone Arena when she twisted her ankle and was unable to continue.

In the second round, Seles takes on the winner of the Miroslava Vavrinec v Anne-Gaelle Sidot encounter.

January 10, 2001 Mauresmo defies injury to upset Seles

Defending women's champion, France's Amelie Mauresmo, has upset the tournament's third seed Monica Seles in straight sets in the opening quarter-final match of the day.

However, a potential recurrence of the back injury that plagued her 2000 season has put a dampener on Mauresmo's victory.

In a tight tussle between two of the power players of the women's circuit, Mauresmo maintained her concentration better to register last-gasp wins in both sets.

After breaking Seles in the first game of the match, Mauresmo lost her advantage in the seventh when the American broke back.

Games then went with serve until the tenth and final game, when successive miscued backhands by Seles gave Mauresmo a break, and the first set 6-4.

It was then Seles' turn to take an early break, establishing a 3-1 lead at the start of the second set.

But in the sixth game, Mauresmo again demonstrated strength of character to break back and from there, games went with serve until the tie-break.

The see-sawing contest then continued in the tie-break, with Mauresmo first stealing a point on Seles' serve, then the American replying with an unplayable return two points later to bring points back on serve.

However, at five-all with Seles serving, Mauresmo moved in to the net, guiding a stylish backhand volley past her opponent to set up matchpoint.

A powerful deep serve by the Frenchwoman then sealed the tie-break 7-5, and Mauresmo had booked herself a spot in the semi-finals.

But speaking after the match, Mauresmo conceded the back pain she began to feel early in the second set could affect the remainder of her adidas International campaign.

"Hopefully it is just muscle tightness, not the same injury that I had last year," she said. "But I won't know for sure until I get some treatment [later today]."

Meanwhile on court one, Lindsay Davenport has played out a challenging match against compatriot Lisa Raymond, the tournament's number two seed eventually emerging victorious 7-5 6-4.

January 09, 2001 Doubles streak ends for Williams sisters

SYDNEY, Australia - The 22-match winning streak in doubles by Venus and Serena Williams ended Tuesday with a riveting three-set loss to Martina Hingis and Monica Seles.

The Williams sisters squandered four match points in losing 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) in the first round of the Adidas International, a tuneup for the Australian Open.

Hingis and Seles, in their first match as partners, beat the Olympic and Wimbledon doubles champions. Hingis split with longtime partner Anna Kournikova after their Chase Championship title in November.

The showcase match featured four of the world's top six women in singles.

``Four players like that together on the court, we have all won Grand Slams, are all in the top 10 ... it was so exciting,'' Hingis said.

``Monica and I had nothing to lose because we never played together before, so we were just going out to do our best and have fun,'' she added. ``To take away a win in a match like that is great.''

In singles, Serena Williams will play Brie Rippner in the second round and most likely face Hingis in the quarterfinals. Venus Williams is not playing singles but will be a practice partner for her sister.

In the second round Tuesday, Seles, seeded No. 3, defeated Nicole Pratt 6-4, 6-2, and No. 4 Conchita Martinez downed Alicia Molik 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-3. In the first round, No. 6 Kournikova topped Elena Bovina 6-4, 6-4, and defending champ Amelie Mauresmo stopped Anne Kremer 6-1, 6-4.

Among the men, top-seeded Magnus Norman beat Andrei Pavel 6-3, 7-5 in the first round. Also advancing were No. 2 Lleyton Hewitt, No. 5 Arnaud Clement and No. 7 Tommy Haas. No. 3 Wayne Ferreira lost to Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, and No. 4 Cedric Pioline was beaten by Jonas Bjorkman

The winning streak for the Williams sisters started at the 1999 U.S. Open. They took the loss with nonchalance and shrugs.

``I was a little bit shaky sometimes,'' Venus said. ``It's been tough coming back here because the Olympics, it was so exciting.''

Venus Williams won the Olympic gold medal in singles last year as well as the U.S. Open and Wimbledon singles. This was her first match since October.

``Sometimes it's better to lose,'' she said. ``We're confident we'll do a lot better.''

Hingis and Seles captured the first set 6-4. The Williams sisters evened the score in the second set, breaking Hingis to lead 5-3 before Serena held serve to take the set.

The third set swung wildly, with Hingis and Seles grabbing a 5-3 lead and Seles serving for the match before the Williams regained control with successive breaks.

Venus had her first match point at 6-5 and 40-30 before Hingis drilled a cross-court forehand for deuce. Venus had the advantage point another three times but couldn't close the match.

Hingis and Seles tied it with their second break point to force the tiebreaker. They won five consecutive points to capture the match.

Serena, the 1999 U.S. Open champion, said it was good for her and her sister to get this loss out of the way.

``We're going to start again in Melbourne ... and by the French we should we should be back on a roll,'' she said.

January 06, 2001 Hingis and Seles to slug it out

Two of the greats of women's tennis – Monica Seles and Martina Hingis – will lock horns when Switzerland face the United States in today's Hopman Cup final.

The Swiss team of Martin Hingis and Roger Federer beat defending champions South Africa two rubbers to one yesterday, while the American duo of Monica Seles and Jan-Michael Gambill earned their final place with a win over Belgium on Thursday. Those results produce a women's singles match-up tournament director Paul McNamee has been fantasising about for months, if not years – Hingis against Seles.

Both held the world No. 1 ranking during the '90s, with Hingis currently holding top spot atop the rankings and Seles fourth in the world.

In the 13-year history of the tournament, the only singles clash that could hold a candle to today's was the opening rubber of the 1993 final, when Germany's Steffi Graf faced Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

After Hingis again took less than an hour to complete her singles assignment against Amanda Coetzer yesterday, Wayne Ferreira levelled the tie by recovering from a break down in the final set to record his first singles win of the week.

The Swiss pair then capitalised on Coetzer's misfiring serve to win the mixed doubles 6-2 6-3 and clinch the tie.

It capped a miserable day for Coetzer, who didn't hold serve in 10 attempts in the singles and doubles.

Hingis played two sets of almost flawless tennis against the valiant Coetzer and sounded an ominous warning for Seles, winning 6-1 6-0 in 47 minutes.

The performance of Hingis, who has dropped just five games in six sets of singles this week, illustrated the gulf between the top handful and the rest in women's tennis.

The world No. 1 chased everything down and rarely hit a false stroke against the 11th ranked Coetzer – a fact borne out by match statistics which revealed that she didn't make a single unforced error.

Hingis has won 12 of 14 matches against Seles and the pair last met in the final of the WTA Tour Championship in November, when Hingis won in three sets.

Seles will be chasing history as the first player to win the Hopman Cup twice today, having won it for her native Yugoslavia in 1991, while Hingis is looking to lift the mixed teams trophy for the first time.

"I'm looking forward to that – we've had so many exciting games," Hingis said of her clash with Seles.

While the Swiss were facing South Africa on the main court, the hosts were facing Thailand.

Nicole Pratt and Tamarine Tanasugarn produced the longest singles match of the tournament, the local hope losing to her Thai opponent after two hours and 17 minutes on the court, 6-3 4-6 7-5.

The Thais then made it three losses in as many ties for the Australians this week, with Paradorn Srichaphan beating Richard Fromberg in straight sets in the men's singles, 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

January 05, 2001 Seles hires a new coach

Perth, Australia– Seles hopes new coach will propel her back to No. 1.

Monica Seles has employed one of the most respected coaches in the game in a bid to enhance her dream of returning to No. 1 in the world.

Seles, currently at No. 4 in the WTA rankings, linked up with Harold Solomon during the close-season, after Solomon split from Jennifer Capriati in October.

Solomon helped revive Capriati's career last season, after guiding the fallen star back into the world's top 20.

And Seles, whose reign as outright number one ended after her stabbing in 1993, has been impressed by Solomon's success rate.

Over the last 12 months, the American has preferred to travel the circuit with several hitting partners, including her brother, Zoltan, and Bobby Banck.

And although, at 27 years of age, Seles insists she "knows what is required of her", the move for Solomon indicates a change of mood.

"Harry is a great coach with a great reputation and when I heard he was available, I was very excited about having the chance to work with him," said Seles.

"I think we are linking up at the right time for each other. We understand what we want from each other and from the relationship.

"This is a very imprtant year for me. Last season was good and it has given me even more motivation now. But I realise that I have to start beating the top three or four players on a regular basis, so there are still improvements to be made."

The Yugoslav-born left-hander has never left the top ten since returning to the Tour 27 months after her April 1993 stabbing at the Hamburg Open.

But by her own admission, Seles, who was number one in the world at the age of 17, has often lacked sufficient motivation to earn another stay at the top of the women's game.

Solomon has already made adjustments to her game, for her second serve has shown improvement in her appearances at the Hopman Cup in Perth. And her famous grunt has hardly been heard. But Solomon's biggest influence so far has been to persuade Seles - the most famous exponent of the double-fisted grip on both wings - to use a one-handed grip on the forehand at certain times.

The move is designed to enable Seles to deal better with the power and accuracy boasted by the three players above her in the rankings - Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis.

Solomon and Seles will have to wait until the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on January 15, to work together in public for the first time. Solomon has stayed in America because of "family issues", while Seles has travelled to Australia.

January 05, 2001 Swiss Miss sets up showdown with U.S. - and Seles

PERTH- Roger Federer and Martina Hingis brushed aside defending champions South Africa in the mixed doubles decider yesterday to take top seeds Switzerland into a Hopman Cup final against the United States.

World number one Hingis, in superb form, gave Switzerland a perfect start by breaking Amanda Coetzer's serve six times in a 47-minute 6-1, 6-0 trouncing. But Wayne Ferreira levelled the crunch group A tie with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Federer in the men's singles.

Federer and Hingis then joined forces to triumph 6-2, 6-3 in the doubles rubber, leaving South Africa frustrated in their bid to become the first nation to retain the trophy. Both Switzerland and South Africa had won their previous two group ties.

Today's final provides the appetising prospect of an early-season women's singles encounter between Hingis and world number four Monica Seles. Hingis has a 12-2 win-loss record against Seles, dating back to 1996. Hingis won their last encounter at the WTA Tour Chase championships in New York in November in the deciding set.

"Perhaps the way Monica plays suits my game," said Hingis. "I will not change anything in my approach to playing her."

Hingis has dropped just five games in her three singles rubbers at the Burswood Dome, and she is the early favourite to claim the Australian Open title in Melbourne, when the year's first Grand Slam begins on January 15.

Both Hingis and Coetzer exchanged breaks of serve in the opening three games, before Hingis raced away with the next 10 to take the match.

It was Coetzer's heaviest defeat against the five times Grand Slam champion, and her miserable day was completed when her serve was broken four times in the doubles rubber - meaning she had failed to hold serve all day.

By contrast, Hingis, a beaten Hopman Cup finalist alongside Marc Rosset in 1996, said: "I have no complaints with the way I am playing at the moment. In the past, I have been up and down with my form, but now I feel I can maintain my level of play for some time. The increase in speed on my serve is particularly pleasing. That has definitely been one of the aspects of my game I have concentrated on."

Coetzer, ranked 11 in the world, was angered by two line calls that went against her in the second and third games of the first set, but was honest in her ultimate appraisal. "I just wasn't able to get into the match," she said. "I was outclassed."

Ferreira enjoyed an upturn in personal fortunes despite the team defeat. He had lost his opening two singles rubbers, but atoned by retrieving a 2-0 deficit in the final set to beat Federer.

"It was important for my confidence heading towards a Grand Slam," said Ferreira. "My body and fitness has not always allowed me to do as well as I might at the Grand Slams, but I am determined to change that this year."

Federer, who practises with Ferreira regularly and who will meet Jan-Michael Gambill in the men's singles of the final, said: "I think Wayne wanted to show me that, as a young player on the circuit, you have to earn your success all the time. He played a great match and I just lost concentration at the wrong time - especially in the final set."

Switzerland have won the Hopman Cup once before. In 1992, Jacob Hlasek and Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere defeated the former Czechoslovakia. The US have appeared in the final on three occasions, winning in 1997 with victory over South Africa.

January 04, 2001 Seles sweeps United States into Hopman Cup final

PERTH, Australia- Former world number one Monica Seles swept the United States into Saturday's final of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament when she defeated Belgium's Kim Clijsters in a crucial tie here Thursday night.

Showing no ill effects after a security breach at courtside the previous night, Seles won a high-powered women's singles tussle with the 17-year-old Belgian in straight sets, 7-6 (7/4), 6-0.

The United States needed to win only one rubber against Belgium to reach the final after beating Slovakia 3-0 and Russia 2-1 earlier in the eight-day, round-robin contest at the Burswood Dome.

But for good measure the United States' Jan-Michael Gambill clinched the men's singles 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 and Gambill and Seles joined forces to take the mixed doubles 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) as the US won the tie 3-0.

Belgium's only way to the last two in the million dollar (554,000 US) tournament was an unlikely 3-0 beating of the US, because they had won only one of their previous two ties.

In the final the Americans will meet the winners of Friday's mixed doubles clash between top seeds and favourites Switzerland (Martina Hingis and Roger Federer) and reigning champions South Africa (Wayne Ferreira and Amanda Coetzer).

A cautious Seles said either team would provide tough opposition in the final.

"The Swiss are playing awfully well and to my mind are the favorites, but you never know," she said.

"South Africa, as defending champions, are terrific players and it will be a great match Friday."

On Wednesday Seles was startled when a male spectator in his thirties broke through a security cordon to reach Seles at courtside and tap her on the shoulder.

Witnesses said Seles looked briefly shocked but soon became composed and signed an autograph for the intruder. She later dismissed the incident as "all blown out of proportion."

Seles was stabbed by a deranged spectator at a tournament in Hamburg nearly eight years ago, causing her to leave the sport behind for two years.

In her singles clash with Clijsters, Seles, now ranked fourth in the world, had to produce her best to overcome the 19th-ranked teenager whose displays point to a bright future.

Trailing 4-5 in the opening set Seles saved four set points in the 10th game before taking it to a tiebreak.

Buoyed, she romped through the second set with some marvellous shots reminiscent of the power tennis she was known for in the early nineties.

But Seles was not entirely convinced about her own performances and said that Clijsters should be the one to look out for.

"She is terrific. She is a very aggressive player, she hits the ball with so much pace. It felt like when I hit against the guys -- the pace was that fast. For only 17 years old, she is going to be a champion.

"Sometimes I played really well and sometimes I played really badly," she said. "It was a very see-saw match. In the second set the score was 6-0, but it could have gone either way. I am just happy we are in the final."

In another match Thursday night, Russia beat the Slovak Republic 2-1.

Slovakia's Karina Habsudova beat Elena Likhovtseva 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 6-3 in the women's singles, but Russia's world number two Marat Safin overcame Dominik Hrbaty 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 in the men's singles and Safin and Likhovtseva claimed the decisive mixed doubles 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4).

January 04, 2001 Seles given wild card for Sydney tournament

SYDNEY- Former world No.1 Monica Seles has been given a wildcard for next week's Sydney International, meaning six of the women's world top 10 will play in Sydney.

Seles, the world No.4, is in Perth, representing the United States in the Hopman Cup.

World No.1 Martina Hingis headlines the women's field which includes No.2 Lindsay Davenport, No.5 Conchita Martinez, No.6 Serena Williams and No.8 Anna Kournikova.

France's Amelie Mauresmo will be back to defend her title.

Organisers have granted Serena and Venus Williams a wildcard to play doubles, although Venus, the world No.3, will not play singles under an unofficial agreement between the sisters that they will not risk competing against each other except in major tournaments.

The pair are the reigning Olympic and Wimbledon doubles champions.

Seles won the Sydney tournament in 1996 and had success at the new venue, winning a bronze medal in the Olympics at the International Tennis Centre at Homebush Bay in September.

In the men's draw, Australia's Jason Stoltenberg, who was a finalist last year, has also been granted a wildcard.

January 03, 2001 Seles startled by autograph seeker

PERTH, Australia - Monica Seles, who was stabbed in the back by an obsessed Steffi Graf fan in Germany in 1993, was startled by an autograph seeker who approached her from behind at the Hopman Cup on Wednesday.

Seles was sitting courtside after her mixed-doubles match between the United States and Russia when a middle-aged man tapped her on the shoulder for an autograph.

Witnesses say the tennis star appeared unnerved by the approach and immediately grabbed playing partner Jan-Michael Gambill, who ushered her from the area.

Security officials at the venue, Perth's Burswood Dome, escorted the man from the scene, but there was no action taken against him.

Tournament director Paul McNamee would not comment on security at the event. McNamee said he had spoken to Seles and she had not complained about the incident.

He also said Seles had later signed the autograph for the man and had left the arena in good spirits.

Reporters did not see what happened and Seles was not asked about the matter at her post-match news conference. She seemed relaxed, giggling occasionally while answering questions.

Seles was the world's top-ranked player on April 30, 1993, when she was playing in Hamburg, Germany. Seles was sitting courtside during a changeover when Guenter Parche - a deranged fan of Seles' rival Graf - reached over a railing and stuck a knife between her shoulder blades.

Seles missed 18 months of tennis and has never regained the No. 1 ranking.

Before the Hopman Cup started, Seles said she still was bothered by the attack.

"I don't know how many tournaments I want to play this year," she said. "Obviously a lot of tournaments have moved to Germany and I'm not playing them. That is going to hurt my rankings a little."

The Hopman Cup is an exhibition and thus not ordered to stage the same level of security that has surrounded Seles at WTA Tour events since her return, where guards are placed behind her chair and watch the crowd throughout the match.

Hopman organizers have a guard behind her chair but there is no barrier between the crowd and the players. Fans have to walk on the edge of the court surface when they enter and exit the stands, and the crowd Wednesday was a near-capacity 8,000.

The United States beat Russia 2-1 on Wednesday, with Seles figuring in both victories. She won the first match, beating Elena Likhovtseva 6-3, 6-3. Seles then teamed with Gambill in the closing mixed doubles, downing Marat Safin and Likhovtseva 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

January 03, 2001 Seles, Gambill beat Russians in Hopman Cup marathon

PERTH, Australia- Americans Monica Seles and Jan-Michael Gambill boosted their hopes of reaching the Hopman Cup tennis final while ending those of Russia in a bruising six-and-a-half hour duel here on Wednesday.

During a thrilling deciding 105-minute mixed doubles confrontation, Seles and Gambill edged out men's world number two Marat Safin and partner Elena Likhovtseva to clinch the crucial tie 2-1 after the singles clashes had been shared.

The Americans, third-seeded of the eight nations in the round-robin contest, beat the Russian pair - seeded second - 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

It was the United States' second win in the competition, following their sweeping 3-0 drubbing of Slovakia on Monday.

Russia registered their second successive loss, having lost 2-1 to Belgium in a shock result on the same day.

Safin, 20, had kept the Russians in the tie at the Burswood Dome when he defeated 23-year-old Gambill, ranked 33rd in the world, in the men's singles in three sets, 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 after Seles had overcome Likhovtseva in the women's singles.

Seles, 27, ranked fourth in the world, used her vast experience to grind down a plucky Likhovtseva, 25, ranked 21st.

Seles, the former world number one, got home in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.

"I am playing pretty well and I am happy with my form," Seles said.

"I just hope I am not going to get into top form too soon - because I want to be playing well in two weeks during the Australian Open."

Seles said she would love to help her adopted nation win the Hopman Cup, having helped to guide her native country, Yugoslavia, to the title 10 years ago when she partnered Goran Prpic.

In that success the Yugoslav pair defeated the United States, represented by David Wheaton and Zina Garrison, in the final.

Safin was relieved to wear down the hard-working Gambill in the singles after he had lost to Belgium's Olivier Rochus two days earlier.

"I just wanted to win today and I managed that, even though it was a difficult match," he said.

"I am happy, though sometimes I was making a lot of mistakes. Jan-Michael is a good player, and he was a bit unlucky."

January 01, 2001 Seles leads US to opening sweep

PERTH, Australia -- Monica Seles returned to the Hopman Cup after a 10-year absence Monday, leading the United States to a 3-0 victory over Slovakia in the mixed-teams tournament.

Seles played for Yugoslavia in 1991 and is the first player to represent two countries in this tuneup for the Australian Open.

She beat Karina Habsudova 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, and teammate Jan-Michael Gambill defeated Dominik Hrbaty 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. In mixed doubles, Seles-Gambill downed Habsudova-Hrbaty 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

``I was so sluggish and my goal was just to wake up and get some points going, get my feet moving,'' Seles said.

The Americans, seeded third, are in Group B with Slovakia, Russia and Belgium.

Seles had a more successful day than Marat Safin, the Russian ranked No. 2 in the world. The U.S. Open champion was upset by little-known Belgian Olivier Rochus 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

That gave Belgium the decision over Russia in the round-robin event following Kim Clijsters' 6-1, 6-4 win over Elena Likhovtseva. Safin and Likhovtseva teamed for a 6-3, 7-6, (3) doubles victory over Clijsters and Rochus, but the Belgians won 2-1.

Seles started slowly, struggling to find her range. She faced three break points to go down 3-0 before coming back. At 1-3, she won 16 of the next 17 points to go up 5-3.

``I was very flat coming out. ... I couldn't find my rhythm at all,'' Seles said.

Rochuso lost to 164th-ranked Takao Suzuki on Sunday as Belgium beat Japan to qualify for the competition. He almost decided not to make the trip to Perth after injuring his wrist.

``I just tried to play and enjoy,'' he said. ``And in the first tournament of the year it's good for me to play like this and to beat Safin.''

On Tuesday, Australia plays defending champion South Africa, and Slovakia faces Belgium.

January 01, 2001 Gambill and Seles lead American sweep

PERTH, Australia -- Monica Seles returned to the Hopman Cup after a 10-year absence Monday, leading the United States to a 3-0 win over Slovakia in the mixed-teams tournament.

Seles, who played for Yougoslavia in 1991, became the first player to represent two countries in this event. She began the day with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win over Karina Habsudova. Jan-Michael Gambill defeated Dominik Hrbaty 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, and in mixed double, Seles-Gambill beat Habsudova-Hrbaty 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).

The Americans, seeded third, are in Group B with Slovakia, Russia and Belgium.

Seles, an American citizen, started slowly, struggling to find her range, and faced three break points to go down 3-0 before staging a comeback. Then at 1-3, she won 16 of the next 17 points to go up 5-3.

``I was very flat coming out,'' Seles said. ``Being 3-0 down immediately would have made a huge difference to the match. I couldn't find my rhythm at all.''

In the evening session, a Marat Safin-led Russia played qualifiers Belgium.