Tennis: Seles makes the best of anti-climax

Monica Seles last night moved into her fourth US Open final, easing past the fourth seed, Conchita Martinez of Spain, 6-4, 6-3.

"I'm just really happy to be in the final again," said Seles, who tomorrow will play her 12th career Grand Slam final.

In nine meetings, Martinez has yet to win a set from Seles. Seven games is the most the Spaniard has won. "I played good and I was aggressive sometimes and coming to the net and then suddenly she would come up with a great shot. There's nothing you can do," Martinez said.

After the drama of Pete Sampras staggering to a fifth-set tie-break win on Thursday, the Seles-Martinez match was something of a let-down. And the spate of errors - 31 for Martinez and 24 for Seles - added to a feeling of anti-climax.

Playing under extremely windy conditions due to an approaching tropical storm may have contributed to the number of balls sailing long and wide, but neither player looked especially sharp in the first set, which at 49 minutes was nearly as long as some of Seles's previous matches.

Part of Seles's inability to keep the points short comes from a shoulder injury that has turned her serve from a weapon into a weakness. "I served way too much in the 60s [miles per hour] and I used to be in the 90s," she said. Even so, belting two-fisted groundstrokes from both wings and punctuating her shots with shrieks and grunts that grew louder as the match wore on, Seles never lost a service game.

Martinez failed to convert five break points in the first set while Seles dropped just three points on her serve in the entire second set. She broke Martinez in the first game of the match and, after saving four break points in the next game, maintained that advantage through the rest of the error- filled first set.

In the third game of the second set, Martinez let a 40-0 lead slip away, putting Seles a break up early. However, in a marathon seventh game, the Spaniard displayed some of the fighting spirit that had been missing from her game earlier in her career.

In a game that went to deuce seven times, Martinez fought off six break points, finally drilling a forehand down the line to keep Seles from serving for the set.

Then came a letdown for Martinez as a series of forehand errors gave Seles the only match point she would need. She hit a lunging forehand volley that Martinez got back, but the No 2 seed put another forehand volley into an open court.

In the men's doubles final, the top seeds, Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde of Australia, fought back after losing the first set to beat the Dutch pairing of Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. America's Lisa Raymond and Patrick Galbraith won the mixed doubles title with a 7-6, 7-6 victory over Manon Bollegraf of the Netherlands and their compatriot, Rick Leach.

News
Howard Marks has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he has announced
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
Rowan Atkinson at the wheel of his McLaren F1 GTR sports car
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us