WASHINGTON -- Each said the other let her fingers do th talking and it must have left some wondering what women's tennis is coming to.
"Arantxa has this way of pointing her finger at the linesmen to influence their calls," said No. 5 seed Zina Garrison, after losing 6-3, 6-2 to the top-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the quarterfinals of the Virginia Slims of Washington.
It was a strange complaint, given Garrison herself had made an obscene gesture to the umpire before quickly covering it by clenching her fist.
The incident occurred in the first set at a time when the match was getting away from Garrison, who would be broken three times in each set.
"I do nothing with my fingers," countered Sanchez Vicario, who did occasionally point when she thought the ball was out. "I do not give the umpire the finger. It's not my fault Zina misses her shots."
Today at noon, Sanchez Vicario will meet Leila Meskhi, who made the semifinals by upsetting the No. 8 player in the world, Jana Novotna, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
In the other semifinal, Mary Joe Fernandez will face Katerina Maleeva at 7 p.m.
The finals will be played at 1 p.m. tomorrow and will be carried live by Home Team Sports.
Sanchez Vicario and Meskhi, a 23-year-old from the Soviet Union, have met twice before, with Sanchez Vicario winning both times on clay.
"I don't know if I can beat Arantxa," said Meskhi, smiling. "But until this match, I hadn't been able to beat Jana in three tries. Now, to do this, to make it this far before the U.S. Open, it is a confidence builder no matter what."
Surprisingly, Garrison said her loss was a confidence builder, too.
"I decided to play here at the last minute, because I was so down on myself for the way I played last week in Los Angeles," said Garrison, who has struggled most of this season. "You just have to get [this kind of play] out of yourself one way or the other. I thought I had more chances than I expected to have and I'm working hard on my attitude. I thought I did a pretty good job of controlling myself on court. I finally realized that getting upset wasn't going to make a difference."
Aside from the one fist, several trips to speak to the umpire and one scream at herself in the second set, Garrison just played tennis.
"I wouldn't say she was out and out better than me," Garrison said. "I think I made her work for her points and we had some really good points. She was a step faster. But I wouldn't agree she was out-right better.
"I still feel I'm a great player and I know I can play better, but it's a mental battle right now. I have to work on my mind. I have to exercise it and get it in working order, because this game is 90 percent mental and it can be the difference between winning a third set 7-5 and losing."