Seles retires from match with tendinitis

Top seed Monica Seles dropped out midway through her semifinals match today against Julie Halard-Decugis, who will now meet second-seeded Serena Williams in the final of the Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo.

Top seed Monica Seles dropped out midway through her semifinals match today against Julie Halard-Decugis, who will now meet second-seeded Serena Williams in the final of the Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo.

Seles, winner of the Sydney Olympic bronze medal, lost the first set 6-4, and was leading 3-2 in the second set when she started limping at moments on the hard, cement court of Ariake Colosseum.

Following a brief court-side treatment by her trainer, Seles resumed playing but decided to retire when she was trailing 4-3.

A doctor's report said she was suffering from tendinitis in both feet.

Williams, who won the Sydney Olympic doubles gold medal with her sister Venus, ousted Czech teen-aged qualifier Daja Bedanova 6-1, 6-4.

Halard Decugis, of France, will also play Sunday for the doubles title. She and Japan's Ai Sugiyama, top-seeded after winning the U.S. Open title, reached the final with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Tathiana Garbin of Italy and Janette Husarova of Slovakia.

The pair, top-ranked in the world, take on Nana Miyagi of Japan and Paola Suarez of Argentina, who beat fourth-seeded Jelena Dokic of Australia and American Corina Morariu 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.

In the singles action, Halard-Decugis built an early lead and went on to take first set without much problem, with Seles moving somewhat slower than usual.

"I didn't notice she was hurt," said Halard-Decugis, seeded fourth and ranked No. 19. "I was just trying hard to focus on my own game."

"But, if I hadn't played as well as I did today, she still could have won in two sets to reach the final," she said.

Seles said she now plans to have some treatment and rest before competing in Austria's Linz. "I'm going to Europe and have a week off getting treatment and rest," she said. "If it is still painful a week from today, I'll pull out. If not, I'll go on playing."

In her eight appearances at Toyota Princess, Seles has won the title five times, and was the runner-up last year to Lindsay Davenport, who is sitting out the tournament due to an injury to her left foot that she suffered while practicing for her second round in the Olympics.

Williams, ranked eighth, wasn't serving well but bothered her 17-year-old opponent throughout with some big ground shots, including whizzing forehands, sharp-shooting down the line and double-fisted backhand cross court.

"I couldn't get my first serve in the whole match, but I hung in there with my ground strokes," said Williams, the 1999 U.S. Open champion. "When you're not serving well, it's nice to have something like that to fall back on."

Williams is making her debut in Toyota Princess. She said she once considered skipping the event because of her tight schedule and the tournament's proximity to the U.S. Open and the Olympics.

"But everyone has welcomed me with open arms here, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world," she said.

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