Dogged determination puts S. Williams back in the hunt

No. 10 has buckled down since Wimbledon defeat


U.S. Open

September 03, 2001|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - Serena Williams and her dog, Jackie, looked each other in the eye after her quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon in July and got down to basics.

"I was pretty disappointed and I said, `We can't afford to eat anymore because mommy's not doing well right now.' I looked in her eyes. We were both hungry. Ever since then, I've been doing a little better."

So here she is in the U.S. Open quarterfinals after a dominating second set against No. 6 Justine Henin that propelled her to a 7-5, 6-0 victory yesterday.

"I was very down after the first set and after she broke me at 1-0 in the second, maybe I knew that it was too difficult to win the match," said Henin. "She's playing good tennis. She won Toronto two weeks ago, so she plays well at this time."

To get to her first Grand Slam semifinal of the year, Williams, seeded 10th here, will have to beat No. 3 Lindsay Davenport, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 win over No. 21 Elena Likhovtseva.

No. 21 Daja Bedanova advanced by upsetting No. 7 Monica Seles, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, and will play No. 1 Martina Hingis, who dispatched No. 14 Jelena Dokic, 6-4, 6-0.

Seles' summer run ended with her earliest Open exit since 1990. Seles, who had five wins over top-10 players last month, committed 51 unforced errors.

"I didn't feel comfortable out there from the first ball hit," Seles said. "It's disappointing to lose after playing so well coming into here."

A kiss goodbye

Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic was trying everything he could to stay alive in his third-round match against Albert Costa. When he made a great shot, he'd skip or smile or bounce the ball all over his body like a soccer ball. And once, he ran over to the television camera and kissed the lens.

He wound up losing, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), but was still a happy man.

"It's not that I play bad and I had to call [Emergency Goran]," said Ivanisevic, who has entertained the tennis world by describing his multiple personalities - Good Goran, Bad Goran, Emergency Goran. "I was playing good tennis. I just miss some easy shots. You can't call anybody when you miss easy shots. You just have to figure it out. ... I could win easy three sets, but I lost three sets. That's life. I gave my best, tried everything and lost.

"But life is good. I won Wimbledon. My tennis is improving. I am improving. I'm happier, playing good tennis. ... I leave as a happy man from New York."

Ivanisevic will have shoulder surgery during the off-season.

Rankings race

Hingis, who fell behind 3-0, played her best match in some time by winning 12 of the final 13 games in beating Dokic. She has won four tournaments this year but no Grand Slam tournaments since 1999, so she is in danger of losing the top spot to No. 2 Jennifer Capriati.

If Hingis loses in the quarterfinals and Capriati loses in the final, Capriati will become No. 1. And, if Hingis and Capriati play each other in the final, the winner will be No. 1. If Hingis loses in the quarterfinals and Capriati loses in the semifinals, Capriati might go to No. 1, but officials say it is too close to calculate at this time.

Net cords

Australian Lleyton Hewitt continued to be grilled over an on-court remark that some interpreted as racist. Hewitt has apologized and discussed the incident with James Blake, his opponent. He said they have moved past it, asked everyone else to do the same and said he'd learn from it.

Hewitt, who beat Albert Portas, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4, was not introduced before his match, an effort, evidently, to cut down on boos. ...

No. 12 Arnaud Clement beat No. 17 Carlos Moya, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-0, and will face No. 7 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who beat David Nalbandian, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

Feature matches

Men's singles

Andre Agassi (2) vs. Roger Federer (13)

Patrick Rafter (6) vs. Pete Sampras (10)

Marat Safin (3) vs. Thomas Johansson (14)

Women's singles

Jennifer Capriati (2) vs. Barbara Schett (19)

Venus Williams (4) vs. Sandrine Testud

Kim Clijsters (5) vs. Elena Dementieva (11)

Amelie Mauresmo (8) vs. Nathalie Tauziat (9)

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