Tennis: Hingis surges past Pierce

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The Independent Online
MARTINA HINGIS wanted revenge, Lindsay Davenport a little less drama. They both got their wish as the world No 1 and No 2 advanced to the semi-finals of the Chase Championships. The second seed Hingis overcame Mary Pierce 7-6 6-4, avenging her loss to the big-hitting baseliner at the same stage of last year's tournament. "I was pretty ready to play her because I know I lost against her last year," said Hingis, who surrendered her No 1 ranking to Davenport last month.

Earlier, Davenport, who was two points from losing her first-round match on Wednesday, cruised to a 6-0 6-3 romp over the eighth-seeded Wimbledon runner-up, Nathalie Tauziat of France, in just 54 minutes. Davenport, who will finish the year leading the world rankings, said: "The first set I played really great tennis." Of her opening-round scare against Sandrine Testud, Davenport said: "Sometimes when you get through a match like that you kind of loosen up and you play better tennis the next time out."

Davenport now faces the resurgent former No 1 Steffi Graf for the second time in a week. The pair tangled last Sunday in Philadelphia with Graf picking up her 106th career title. "She's obviously playing the best tennis right now and you always want to go up against the best," Davenport said of Graf, who is unbeaten in 12 matches since her return from wrist surgery.

The Australian Open champion Hingis, in search of her first title in six months, faces the 15th-ranked Romanian Irina Spirlea, who has yet to win in five meetings with the Swiss teenager. The outcome of the Hingis- Pierce quarter-final was something of an upset, based on their recent form. Pierce was on a 10-match winning streak going into the match, winning titles in her last two tournaments in Moscow and Luxembourg, but Hingis burst her bubble. "I just have to give Martina credit. I haven't really seen her play that well in a long time," Pierce said.