Switzerland's world number one tennis player, Martina Hingis, has been defeated by the United States' Monica Seles in the semi-final of the Acura Classic tennis tournament in San Diego. Hingis' Saturday loss against Seles was the first in over three years.
Although Hingis used her usual tactic of trying to exhaust Seles in long rallies, her efforts on Saturday proved to be vain.
"She was always on the offensive," Hingis said after the match. "I could have won against Seles last year, but now she's playing very well," she concluded.
Seles rapidly took control of the match. She held two set points with Hingis serving at 2-5, but then committed a backhand error, which gave the Swiss player a chance to come back at three games.
But Hingis' resistance in the first set was short-lived. Serving at 5-3, Seles cashed in on her third set point, leaping backward to hit a crashing winner.
After taking the first set 6-3, Seles won the three first games in the second set. However, she was not able to hold on to her lead after she double faulted, allowing the top seed to tie at 3-3.
Hingis then double faulted, giving Seles an opportunity to take a 4-3 lead. The American finally won Saturday's match 6-3, after a discouraged Hingis hit a backhand wide.
Switzerland's top player was more successful in the semi-final's doubles game. Along with her Russian teammate, Anna Kournikova, she defeated other semi-finalists Jennifer Capriati and Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in three sets, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
In Sunday's final, Seles faces her compatriot Venus Williams, who defeated Lindsay Davenport 6-2, 7-5.
swissinfo with agencies