Rubin, Seles give U.S. Fed Cup lead over Croatia

RALEIGH, North Carolina, April 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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