Seles routs Panova, reaches Brazil Open semifinals

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Top-seeded Monica Seles routed Russia’s Tatiana Panova 6-1, 6-0 Thursday to advance into the semi-finals of the Brazil Open.

In the last four, the American will meet Slovakia’s Henrieta Nagyova, the number five seed, who beat third-seeded South African Amanda Coetzer 6-1, 6-4.

Seles said she had intentionally produced a high-paced game on the day to reduce playing time in the stifling Costa do Suaipe heat.

“I’m trying to play in an aggressive way, keeping the points short. That’s why today’s game was faster,” she said.

But Seles, who is ninth in the latest WTA rankings, admitted her semi-final opponent would pose a real threat.

“(Nagyova) is an aggressive and intelligent tennis player…I’ll have to play an attacking game,” she said.

In Thursday’s other quarter-final matches, number two seed Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia beat American Samantha Reeves 6-3 6-2 while unseeded Paraguayan Rossana de los Rios defeated Silvia Farina-Elia of Italy 6-3, 6-2.

Meanwhile, in the ATP men’s tournament Thursday, Brazilian wildcard Ricardo Mello beat Chile’s Nicolas Massu 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.

Fifth-seeded local favorite Fernando Meligeni overcame Argentina’s Federico Browne 7-5, 6-4.