Seles advances to semifinals

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The Independent Online

Monica Seles methodically marched into the semifinals of the Pilot Pen in New Haven, Connecticut with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Dominique Van Roost today.

Monica Seles methodically marched into the semifinals of the Pilot Pen in New Haven, Connecticut with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Dominique Van Roost today.

Enjoying one of the best starts of her career, Seles won three tournaments in the first half of the year and rose in rankings from No. 14 to No. 3 from February to April.

She's the sixth seed going into next week's U.S. Open and is using the hardcourts of New Haven to sharpen her game. It's Seles' fifth appearance at the Pilot Pen, a tournament she's won once; she's never been worse than a quarterfinalist.

In fact, she's made it to at least the quarterfinals in all her 12 tournaments this year.

"I think I really worked hard on my consistency. I think that has been lacking the last few years," she said.

Hall-of-Famer Martina Navratilova, 43, was making her first U.S. tournament appearance since coming out of retirement this spring. She and 19-year-old Katarina Srebotnik later faced the fourth-seeded team of Cara Black and Elena Likhovtseva.

Seles dispatched sixth-seeded Van Roost in under an hour, taking advantage of the Belgian's late-match swoon.

Tied at 1 in the second set, Van Roost led 40-30 in her service game. The next point triggered her downfall, as she lost 16 straight points.

She had Seles out of position, but missed a kill shot with a wide-open court. An unforced error pulled them to duece, and Van Roost then double-faulted the game away. She didn't win her next point until the sixth game, but by then Seles was up 5-1.

After Van Roost held, Seles served out the match, sealing it with a 105 mph (169 kph) service winner.

Seles, seeded second in New Haven, won their only previous meeting, a straight set victory in Sydney in 1996.

"She's a streaky player because she goes for it," said Seles. "She goes for so much, so she only hits amazing shots, amazing angles or she's going to miss it."

Rain delayed much of the day session. The Seles match was one of two completed. Patty Schnyder ousted Elena Dementieva, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. Schnyder takes on defending champ Venus Wiliams in the semifinals.

Schnyder said Dementieva started so fast in the first set that she could not get comfortable on the court. She fought back in the second set and capitalized on Dementieva's errors in the third set to win.

"I was moving better and I could dominate the rally," Schnyder said.

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