Tennis: Novotna's retirement hastened by defeat

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The Independent Online
JANA NOVOTNA will retire from professional tennis earlier than planned following her defeat to Magdalena Maleeva in Luxembourg this week. Novotna said that the WTA tournament in Filderstadt, starting on 4 October, will be her last after a bout of poor form brought about by chronic injury problems.

The Czech, who has fallen to No 18 in the world rankings, has won 23 singles and 75 doubles title, including the Wimbledon singles crown in 1998. "I have thought a lot recently about my future in tennis," Novotna said. "At 31, and after 12 seasons spent on the professional circuit, I consider that it is time I should retire."

In Tokyo, strong winds buffeting the centre court did little to bother the top seed Lindsay Davenport, who beat the fifth-seeded Amelie Mauresmo 6-1, 6-1 yesterday to advance to the Princess Cup semi-finals. Also reaching the last four were the second seed Monica Seles, the No 7 seed Amy Frazier, and the No 8 seed Ai Sugiyama. Today, Davenport takes on fellow American Frazier, while Seles, also of the United States, meets Sugiyama, Japan's leading player, who won the mixed doubles title at the US Open two weeks ago.

Serena Williams and Martina Hingis, who met in the singles final at Flushing Meadows, could contest another title at next week's Grand Slam Cup. Williams and Hingis are in different halves of the draw for the lucrative eight- player tournament, which starts on Tuesday at Munich's Olympic Hall. Hingis is seeded No 1, with Davenport No 2, Williams No 3 and her sister Venus No 4. Serena and Venus are also in opposite halves, clearing the way for a possible all-sister final.