By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Away most of the year with an injured foot, Monica Seles wanted to play lots of matches to test her game. She got an extended workout Thursday in the estyle.com Classic.
Seles needed four match points and more than two hours to beat Sandrine Testud 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the third round.
She and I always play these marathon matches,'' said Seles, who has beaten Testud seven consecutive times and holds a 9-3 lead in the series.Both of us have similar style games and we’re both huge competitors.”
Third-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium defeated Alicia Molik of Australia 7-6 (3), 6-3. Top-seeded Martina Hingis and No. 4 Serena Williams were idle Thursday.
No. 2 seed Lindsay Davenport played 18-year-old Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic in a later match.
Seles advanced to the quarterfinals against two-time defending champion Serena Williams. It’ll be her second meeting with a Williams sister in five days, having lost to Venus in the Acura Classic final Sunday.
Seles, the sixth seed, is playing just her third tournament since May. A stress fracture in her right foot kept her out of the French Open , and she still can’t incorporate running into her workouts.
Five months is a long time not to do anything with your foot and then you're playing world-class competition,'' she said.When you come off an injury you don’t know how your foot is going to hold up. I’ve stayed in shape and now it’s important to stay healthy and try to get the timing back on my groundstrokes.”
Testud, the 10th seed from France, led 6-3, 4-3 with a break point to go to 5-3, but Seles hit one of her six aces at 105 mph to even the second set at 4.
Testud saved two break points for a 6-5 lead. Seles came up with another big serve to hold at 6-6 and force the tiebreaker. Tied 5-5, Testud hit a backhand long and a forehand wide to lose the set.
The players traded breaks to start the third. Seles saved four break points to hold at 3-2, served a love game for 4-3, and then wasted three break points on Testud’s serve as the Frenchwoman tied it 4-4.
Seles used a 104 mph ace for a 5-4 lead, then hit a backhand passing shot down the line on her fourth match point to win. The players exchanged hugs at the net.
It was such a see-saw match,'' Seles said.We both gave our heart out there. It could have gone either way. I was really sluggish coming out. Not playing five or six months and then playing every week until the end, it’s tough.”
Other third-round winners were No. 5 Nathalie Tauziat of France, who beat No. 11 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia 6-0, 0-6, 6-2; No. 7 Elena Dementieva of Russia, who defeated Virginie Razzano of France 6-4, 6-4; and No. 12 Amy Frazier, who beat Wynne Prakusya of Indonesia, 7-5, 6-3.