MIAMI– The result was so unexpected that Monica Seles heard boos from the fans.
For the first time in 535 career matches, Seles failed to win a game, suffering a stunning 6-0, 6-0 loss to top seed and world No. 1 Martina Hingis of Switzerland in the women’s semifinals at the $5.725 Ericsson Open.
“I’m pretty pleased with having a win like this going into the final,” Hingis said. “I just have to play my game and hold my serve. I was able to do that and break her (Davenport) two weeks ago in the final (Indian Wells, California). I hope I can continue what I was doing there.”
The nightmare ended for Seles when she double-faulted on match point as Hingis needed only 39 minutes to advance to her fifth straight WTA Tour final this season.
“I definitely feel very disappointed,” said Seles, who fell to 2-10 lifetime against Hingis. “I think she played well and I wasn’t playing well and I had a hard time moving. A combination of that was not good today.”
Bothered by a twisted ankle, Seles won only 22 points. A two-time champion here, she was sidelined for six months with a stress fracture in her foot before making a successful season debut by capturing her 45th career singles title earlier this month in Oklahoma City.
“I think serving two double-faults at the end definitely didn’t help,” said Seles on the booing. “It’s hard not to be down after a performance like today. It’s the semifinals. I really expected a lot more of myself than what I showed today.”
Seles said she took chances on some shots because of her poor mobility.
I had a hard time moving sideways,'' she said.I started making many more errors, and I could not bend down for balls. A combination of that against someone as consistent as Martina is not going to work.”
Hingis agreed that Seles wasn’t 100 percent.
She made some faces sometimes,'' Hingis said.She looked like she was in pain. I was almost surprised she didn’t quit.”
Seles said she didn’t think about defaulting, even after falling behind 5-0 in the first 13 minutes.
Perhaps the ugliest moment came on the final point of the first set, when Seles’ momentum carried her off the court as she chased down a drop shot. She stood helplessly next to her changeover chair as Hingis hit a winner into the open court.
Seles won only eight points in the opening set and 14 in the second. The drubbing eclipsed her worst previous defeat 11 years ago, a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Steffi Graf at Wimbledon.
Seles was 15 then. On Thursday she looked a lot older.