Originally created 09/01/01

Hingis escapes upset; Seles advances



NEW YORK -- Top-seeded Martina Hingis survived a major scare from old nemesis Iva Majoli on Friday, winning a third-set tiebreaker to reach the round of 16 at the U.S. Open.

Hingis, her No. 1 ranking in jeopardy, was struggling, looking a step slow and a bit out of synch against Majoli before recovering to steal a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory. Hingis won the last three points of the match.

At first, it seemed like the final of the 1997 French Open all over again, when Majoli gained her only major championship and deprived Hingis of a Grand Slam sweep that year.

Injuries sent Majoli's ranking tumbling as low as 466 in April 2000. She built it back to 47 by the Open and looked better than that for much of the match against Hingis.

The 20-year-old Swiss, who has stayed at No. 1 despite going more than two years since her last Grand Slam tournament victory, seemed in big trouble, especially when Majoli broke her to win the first set.

But Hingis battled back. She squirmed out of a jam, breaking Majoli at 4-4 and winning the second set on her serve. Hingis broke Majoli twice in the first three games of the third set. By then, a blister and sore thigh forced Majoli to request an injury timeout.

Down 0-3 in the third set, Majoli would not go away quietly. Playing the remainder of the match with her right thigh heavily taped, she got those breaks back and another as Hingis served for the match. That forced the tiebreak.

Majoli led 5-4 before Hingis, facing the earliest elimination for a No. 1 seed since Billie Jean King lost in the third round in 1973, swept the next three points to end it.

"When you play a player like Iva, there is a little history there from the past," Hingis said. "She has nothing to lose against me. Everyone knows she can play. I mean, she did it four years ago, so why not today?

"Today's match was just not the best I ever played. I won the last point and I'm very happy about that."

Friday's other winners included No. 8 Monica Seles, 6-2, 6-3 over Eleni Daniilidou; No. 16 Tommy Haas, 6-1, 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-3 over Felix Mantilla; No. 14 Jelena Dokic, 6-4, 7-5 over No. 20 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario; and No. 7 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 over George Bastl.

Later matches had No. 3 Lindsay Davenport against No. 27 Angeles Montolio, and No. 18 Andy Roddick against Jack Brasington.

Seles, a two-time U.S. Open champion, advanced to the fourth round by using a 104 mph serve and taking advantage of 26 unforced errors and seven double faults by Daniilidou.

Seles, who missed the French Open and Wimbledon during five months off to heal from injuries, continued to look fit in her victory, completed in 57 minutes. After finishing the match, she went out to hit on the practice courts at the National Tennis Center.

"I just wanted to hit because it was tough to get a rhythm with her," she said. "I always like to do that after a match."