WIMBLEDON (Reuters) – Fourth seed Monica Seles was barely tested as she marched into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon with a 6-2 6-2 demolition of Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn on Monday.
The ruthless manner of the win would have sent warning signals to her last-eight opponent, 2001 runner-up Justine Henin, who survived two tiebreak sets to get past Elena Dementieva.
“Justine loves to play on grass and it is a difficult match for me so I will have to play some great tennis against her,” said nine-times slam champion Seles who is still looking for her first Wimbledon title.
Seles will also go into the match with the mental edge as she has beaten the Belgian in each of their four previous meetings.
“This is the surface that suits her game the best and she will want to repeat last year’s performance and maybe go one better,” said Seles.
“I’m just looking forward to a very tough match.”
Seles, who had started her warm-up on court two before being forced off for two hours because of heavy rainfall, quickly got into her stride and applied pressure on the Thai’s serve from the very first game.
While the 24th-ranked Tanasugarn managed to stave off one break point by wrong-footing Seles at the baseline and driving an easy forehand winner into an empty court, she had no answer to the 28-year-old American’s scorching service return two points later and misfired it into the crowd.
With the break in hand, the former world number one efficiently went about her task and Tanasugarn dropped her serve again in the seventh game after Seles forced her into a chain of forehand errors.
Unleashing a barrage of stinging serves, Seles wrapped up the first set in 24 minutes after yet another one of the Thai’s forehands sailed long.
The boisterous crowd, whose enthusiasm was barely dampened by the rain delay, tried to spur on 25-year-old Tanasugarn in the second but to little avail.
The 1992 Wimbledon finalist, who had never lost a set to Tanasugarn in four previous meetings, kept attacking the Thai’s brittle forehand and reeled off seven straight games from 3-2 in the first to race to a 4-0 in the second set.
Bidding to reach her first grand slam quarter-final, Tanasugarn tried to stop the Seles charge but had to make do with winning just two service games in the 28-minute set and meekly surrendered the match by netting yet another forehand.