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.