STANFORD, California – Lisa Raymond upset third-seeded Monica Seles 6-4, 6-2 Friday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic.
Seles, a nine-time Grand Slam champion who reached the quarterfinals of the French Open and Wimbledon this year, was simply overpowered by her U.S. Fed Cup teammate on a hot day at the Taube Family Tennis Center.
“I feel great about going out there and maintaining that level of tennis for two straight sets,” Raymond said. “I know it’s been in me. It was just a matter of believing in myself. When I get out there with a top player, I don’t believe I should be out on the court with them sometimes.”
In Saturday’s semifinals, Raymond will face the winner of Venus Williams match with Anna Kournikova later Friday night. Williams beat Raymond 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round at Wimbledon earlier this summer.
Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters, who both easily won their quarterfinal matches earlier Friday, will meet in the other semifinal. The second-seeded Davenport defeated No. 5 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia 6-2, 6-2, while Clijsters beat wild card Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 6-3.
Raymond, a doubles specialist who won her third career singles tournament at Memphis earlier this year, hit serves reaching 104 mph and rarely made errors. She needed just 58 minutes to earn her second career victory over Seles, a two-time winner at Stanford.
“She just played really well,” said Seles, ranked No. 4 in the world. “She was serving well and hitting her forehand, and whenever I had chances, I made a lot of unforced errors. I have to play a better level of tennis if I want to beat a player like that.”
Earlier, Davenport looked as comfortable as she did in earning the world’s top ranking in 2001 before a right knee injury ended her season in November.
“I have far exceeded my expectations by the way I’m playing,” said Davenport, who fell to No. 9 in the world while she was out. “I’ve been off for more than nine months, and I didn’t know how I’d react.”
Davenport reacted with grace and fluidity on the court, overpowering the sixth-ranked player with hard ground strokes and placement in 48 minutes.
“I had the same problems against her I had before,” said Dokic, who fell to 0-7 against Davenport. “I didn’t see a difference. It seems like she’s hitting the ball better. I’m very surprised at the way she’s playing. I didn’t think she’d be playing that well coming back.”
Davenport, who was 5-of-6 on break points against Dokic, returned to action with two Fed Cup matches last weekend against Israel.
“I’m amazed. These are new waters for me,” Davenport said. “I’ve had two really good matches, and I’m proud of the way I’ve come back. Now I have to try and keep playing at this level.”
Clijsters, the defending champion and fourth seed, was impressed by her 17-year-old opponent’s mobility. But with her boyfriend, No. 1 men’s star Lleyton Hewitt, watching from the stands, Clijsters easily advanced to the semifinals.
“I felt like I had to be a little bit more aggressive, because she was getting to all the balls I was hitting,” said Clijsters, who asked her younger sister for a scouting report on Jankovic. “She runs really well, and she hits the ball hard.”