Hingis claims third-round win in tie-breaker
Saturday, September 1, 2001
NEW YORK -- Martina Hingis and Iva Majoli slugged it out for 2 1/2 hours in sweltering heat Friday in the U.S. Open, and when they finished it was difficult to tell the winner from the loser.
The two players met at the net, grinned and embraced, just glad to still be standing.
In a match that was sloppy but grueling, Hingis blew a 3-0 lead in the final set, then rallied from a 4-2 deficit in a winner-take-all-tiebreaker for the victory, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
A loss would have allowed Jennifer Capriati to overtake Hingis for the No. 1 ranking by reaching the semifinals next week. Instead, Hingis moved unsteadily into the fourth round, where she'll face 14th-seeded Jelena Dokic.
"Today's match was just not the best I ever played," Hingis said. "Being two points away from losing, it can't get much worse."
After losing a rally in the tiebreaker to make the score 5-all, Majoli grimaced, grabbed her stomach and put her arm to her mouth. She said began feeling ill several points earlier.
"At 4-2, I really felt like I was going to throw up," the former French Open champion said. "I just looked at the chairperson about what I should do, and she was just like, 'Come on, let's play.' And for the next two or three points I was rushing because I wasn't really there. I was really exhausted."
Another victim of the heat was wild card James Blake, a former Harvard standout.
Blake delighted an overflow crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium by taking a lead against fourth-seeded Lleyton Hewitt. But with temperatures in the mid-80s on a sunny, humid afternoon, the 21-year-old American threw up during a changeover midway through the fourth set and struggled to finish, losing 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.
"I've come a long way," Blake said. "I'm about as proud as I could be. I couldn't have done anything else out there."
Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic swept American Justin Gimelstob 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. No. 1-seeded Gustavo Kuerten beat Kristian Pless 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. No. 7 Yevgenvy Kafelnikov improved his career record in five-setters to 18-8 by rallying past George Bastl 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
"I just proved another time to myself that no matter how big of a hole you're in, you still have a small chance to come out of there," Kafelnikov said.
In other women's play, No. 7 Monica Seles and No. 10 Serena Williams easily advanced. Seles beat Eleni Daniilidou 6-2, 6-3. Williams beat Martina Sucha 6-1, 6-0.
No. 14 Jelena Dokic eliminated 1994 champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-4, 7-5. American Meghann Shaughnessy, seeded 12th, lost to Daja Bedanova 6-4, 6-1.