Williams, Davenport advance to semifinals, Hingis ousted

Friday, August 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) _ Fifth-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland completed her first three-set match since returning from a three-month injury layoff but it wasn't enough against an energized Anastasia Myskina.

The unseeded Russian beat Hingis 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-0 by winning the final 11 games in their Pilot Pen quarterfinal match Thursday night. Hingis was up 4-1 in the second set and was a break point away from 5-1 but couldn't close out Myskina. Hingis said she just lost steam.

``I played pretty well until that point,'' Hingis said. ``She just lasted longer in the end.''

Hingis said she couldn't remember the last time she lost 11 straight games. Ankle surgery in May kept her off tour for three months. Despite the loss, the former No. 1 player said she was pleased with her overall play as she prepares for next week's U.S. Open.

``I'm just trying to keep my head up and look forward to the Open,'' she said.

It was the furthest Hingis had been pushed in her comeback, which began in Montreal last week. She made it to the quarterfinals there, playing two-set matches with no tiebreakers throughout. Prior to Thursday's match, Hingis said she felt she finally had the stamina to go three sets.

She needed it against the Russian's steady, pinpoint ground strokes that ran Hingis from sideline to sideline. Myskina was just as effective at the net, running down Hingis' drops and slices.

Neither player had overwhelming serves, but Myskina's five aces came in her final two service games. She had three in the last game and closed out the match with a 148 kph (92-mph) ace.

When she was down 1-4 in the second set, Myskina said her father, Andrey, who is also her coach was angry over the number of unforced errors to that point. That spurred her.

``I thought I had to fight for sure, because otherwise there would not be a lot of nice talk after the match,'' Myskina said.

She'll play America's Lindsay Davenport in a semifinal on Friday. Davenport advanced with a 7-6 (7), 6-3 win over Amelie Mauresmo of France.

Three-time defending champ Venus Williams of the United States breezed into the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-1 win over little-known U.S. qualifier Laura Granville. She'll take on Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova in the other semifinal.

It was the first meeting between the No. 2-ranked Williams and Granville, 62nd in the world. Williams opened with a shaky service game and was broken. She broke Granville the next game, then pounded away with her serves, which reached speeds up 190 kph (118 mph).

The top-seeded Williams closed out the match with a 187 kph (116-mph) ace. The mismatch gave her an opportunity to tinker with her game, but she was always in control.

``I was going for a lot more shots and trying different things,'' Williams said. ``At one point I did see where my unforced error count was getting a little high. I tried to clean it up some.''

For Granville, who won two straight college championship women's titles for Stanford, the quarterfinals at New Haven was a career-best. She reached that round the hard way, playing three qualifying matches and three main draw matches in seven days.

``I'm pretty worn out physically and mentally,'' Granville said. ``I'm glad I have the next three days off before the Open.''

Hantuchova, the seventh-seeded player, advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Switzerland's Patty Schnyder.

Second-seeded Davenport combined nine aces with a solid baseline game against No. 6 Mauresmo, who picked up her eighth singles title last week in Montreal.

``She's very, very talented,'' Davenport said. ``She's going to be a tough player for the U.S. Open with a couple of days of rest behind her.''

Davenport is playing in her fourth tournament back following knee surgery in January. She struggled with Mauresmo's powerful serves and said her return game remains a bit rusty.

``Returning is so reactionary, and it's definitely something when you don't do it for so many months you lose a little bit of your feel,'' Davenport said.