Martina Hingis has marched into her sixth consecutive Australian Open final with a three set victory over Monica Seles.This content was published on January 24, 2002 - 08:21
Switzerland's top player won her hardest earned victory in the tournament so far, faltering in the first set and struggling through the third.
In the opening set, Seles broke the Swiss player's serve and moved into an early 3-1 lead. The American's serve dominated the early exchanges but Hingis fought back to level at 4-4.
"I had to lift something," said Hingis. "There was nothing I could do at the beginning. She was hitting winners. I was trying to make her move as much as I could and wait for my chances."
Hingis got into her stride in the second, racing to a 3-0 lead, saving three break points in the fourth game, before wrapping up the set 6-1, as Seles produced more unforced errors.
In the final set Hingis immediately broke serve and moved into a 5-2 lead before Seles rallied with one final break.
Hingis served for the match a second time, putting an easy smash wide at 30-0, but she held on to take the decisive set 6-4.
The last Grand Slam title for Hingis came at the 1999 Australian Open, but the Swiss player is confident she can repeat that performance. "It's very different going in to the final this time having played some good matches and then against Monica," she said.
"I believe in it now and it's a nice feeling."
As a teenager, Hingis won five grand slam titles, including three consecutive Australian Opens, but she hasn't won a major in three years.
She lost her number one ranking last year when she tore three ligaments in her left ankle but has made a strong return to the game, winning last week's Sydney International to warm-up for the Australian Open.
Hingis faces top seed Jennifer Capriati in Saturday's final.
swissinfo with agencies
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