2 points from exit, Seles hangs on

9-time Grand Slam champ rallies to defeat Schwartz


August 30, 2002|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - Sixth seed Monica Seles and Barbara Schwartz matched each other grunt for grunt. Louder and louder they wailed, as Schwartz came within two points of pushing the nine-time Grand Slam winner out of the U.S. Open in the second round.

Schwartz used a strong backhand slice to win the first set and reach 5-5 in the second-set tiebreaker, but Seles forced a third set and went on to win, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Seles broke Schwartz twice in the second set and clinched the match on an ace.

Second seed Venus Williams advanced, 6-1, 6-2, over Alicia Molik and No. 9 Martina Hingis continued her comeback with a matter-of-fact, 6-4, 6-1, victory over Antonella Serra Zanetti. Unseeded Amy Frazier upset No. 8 Ai Sugiyama, 6-4, 6-2. On the men's side, French Open champion and the No. 8 seed Albert Costa was upset, 1-6, 6-7 (10), 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, by Wayne Ferreira.

Just killing time

Justin Gimelstob, ranked No. 130 in the world, knew he had to play Andre Agassi sometime yesterday if the rain stopped. With nothing to do for hours, Gimelstob went on USA Network and did a play-by-play of his first-round match.

That was in stark contrast to No. 1 Leyton Hewitt, who reportedly would not do a television interview because he might have to play later in the day.

Gimelstob perhaps should have rested, too. Agassi ushered him out of the tournament in 1 hour and 6 minutes: 6-0, 6-1, 6-1.

"He's one of the best in the world and I'm not," Gimelstob said. "It was a struggle out there for me today. Like I said, he was way obviously too good for me."

Then Gimelstob swooned.

"Did we even play out there?" he said. "It went so quickly. I don't even remember. It didn't rain? We didn't get rained out?"

Title IX? What's that?

A reporter told Jennifer Capriati during her news conference that President Bush is in the process of holding town meetings across the country to discuss possibly changing Title IX, the landmark legislation that equalized sports opportunities for women in colleges.

The reporter then asked her what she'd tell the president about such an idea.

"I'm sorry," Capriati said. "I have no idea what Title IX is."

Told of Capriati's response, Billie Jean King said in a statement released by her agent:

"Jennifer's comments present a great opportunity for us to teach more young women and men about the important benefits of Title IX and the impact it has not only on the world of sports, but our society in general.

"We need to expose more people to the work being done by the Women's Sports Foundation, the National Women's Law Center and other organizations who support the true meaning of Title IX. Even though Title IX was enacted 30 years ago, we can never stop teaching people about the importance of it."

Strong anchor

Anyone watching the broadcast of Agassi's match yesterday got a rare view of his wife Stephanie, better known as Steffi Graf, and their son Jaden, who sports beautiful blond hair.

As Agassi watched a replay of those pictures, his features visibly softened.

"It's so great to have a great support team," he said. "Stephanie gives me the opportunity to come out here and be focused."

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