Tennis: Seles stands in way as Graf pursues a sixth title

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The Independent Online
STEFFI GRAF and Monica Seles will command centre stage in the semi-finals of the French Open today when they meet for the 15th time, and for the fourth time at Stade Roland Garros.

Recalling their last meeting at the French championships, in the 1992 final, Graf enthused about "a memorable match - I think it was 8-6 in the third." Told that Seles actually won the third set 10-8, Graf responded: "Okay, I missed a few at the end."

The 29-year-old German has not missed many points on the clay courts of Paris, winning more singles matches, 82 of 92, than any other woman, including Chris Evert, who won 72 matches in gaining a record seven singles titles. Graf is chasing a sixth title here, Seles a fourth, having won 46 of 50 matches.

Youth meets experience in the other semi-final between Martina Hingis, the 18-year-old world No 1, who has yet to win the French title, and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, the 27-year-old defending champion, who won the first of her three championships 10 years ago. Sanchez-Vicario has won 66 of her 70 matches here, but has only defeated Hingis once, in the first of their 10 meetings.

Hingis will play doubles with Anna Kournikova at the Direct Line International Championships in Eastbourne from 15 to 19 June. The pair won the Australian Open title in January. In April, Hingis told Jana Novotna, with whom she won the Wimbledon doubles championship last year, that she wanted Kournikova to be her regular partner. "I had heard rumours," Novotna said, "and when I asked Martina, she told me I was getting too old and slow."