WASHINGTON -- When Zina Garrison's second serve skipped off the top of the net and sailed out for a double fault on match point last night, it was the end of a dismal evening for the fifth seed in the Virginia Slims of Washington tennis tournament.
Garrison had just been blown away by second seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain, 6-3, 6-2, in a quarterfinal match before 5,436 at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.
So much for a complete turnaround of Garrison's tennis fortunes.
Garrison, a crowd favorite in Washington, will have to wait until next week's U.S. Open to continue righting what is wrong with her game.
"I thought I played better than I did last week [in Los Angeles Virginia Slims]," said Garrison. "The reason I came here was because I was so down in L.A. I had more chances here in this match than I could have expected the way I played last week."
However, Garrison didn't walk away quietly from the loss in just 1 hour, 7 minutes to Sanchez, who is ranked fourth in the world.
"I don't totally believe she is better than me," said Garrison. "Arantxa has a way of sticking her finger in the air and getting the calls to go her way. It worked in her favor at least twice in the first two games of the first set after long points. I started to get upset, but I decided it wouldn't help."
Garrison also said: 'It's up to the umpire to take charge when those things are happening."
Sanchez bristled a little at Garrison's accusations, saying: "It's not true that I help make calls. The linespeople and umpires know what they're doing. I'm not doing my finger in any way to get a call. I might make a motion when the ball is obviously out or after the point is over. It's not my fault she missed the shots."
Sanchez holds a 4-1 advantage in matches against Garrison.
Sanchez advances to today's noon semifinals, meeting seventh seed Leila Meskhi.
In the other semifinal tonight at 7, third seed Mary Joe Fernandez will take on sixth seed Katerina Maleeva.
In yesterday afternoon's quarterfinals, there was a mild upset when Meskhi of the Soviet Union turned back fourth seed Jana Novotna of Czechoslovakia, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
In the other afternoon quarterfinal, sixth seed Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria cruised past unseeded Judith Wiesner of Austria, 6-4, 6-2, in 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Novotna, No. 9 in the world, fell apart in the last two games of the third set to virtually hand the match to Meskhi, No. 13 in the world.
Novotna made a total of seven unforced errors in the ninth and 10th games after winning the previous two games to tie the third set at 4.
Novotna tried to force the action in the last two games, continually going for winners even though she kept missing wide and long.
"I should have stayed back instead of going for winners in those two games," said Novotna. "I overdid it a little bit at the end. In all, I guess it was a matter of her playing a little better than I expected and I couldn't produce my game because my timing was off."
Novotna said her problems began in the first set, "but I still believed I could win."
For Meskhi, it was her first match victory over Novotna in three tries.
In a doubles quarterfinal match, Pam Shriver of Lutherville, Md., entertained the crowd for a few brief moments after her partner Magdalena Maleeva had to retire after the first set due to a sore right shoulder.
Shriver and Magdalena Maleeva had lost the first set, 6-3, to the top-seeded team of Gigi Fernandez and Natalia Zvereva when Maleeva decided she couldn't continue.
At that point Shriver waved Maleeva off the court and jokingly pretended to take on Fernandez and Zvereva by herself, even though the match was officially over.
Shriver played one-on-two for a few points before her coach, Hank Harris, came out on the court to help her. Shriver and Harris continued the fun match for a few minutes before both teams called it quits.
Leila Meskhi (7), Soviet Union, def. Jana Novotna (4), Czechoslovakia, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4; Katerina Maleeva (6), Bulgaria, def. Judith Wiesner, Austria, 6-4, 6-2; Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (2), Spain, def. Zina Garrison (5), Houston, 6-3, 6-2.