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 estyle.com 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.