Seles, Williams Lose at Wimbledon
Seles, Williams Lose at Wimbledon
Jul. 01, 1998
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ Screaming with fury and crying over disputed line calls, Venus Williams' bid for the Wimbledon title ended today with a quarterfinal loss to Jana Novotna.
The 18-year-old American lost her composure and the match, 7-5, 7-6 (7-2).
Williams played aggressive, serve-and-volley tennis, trying to beat Novotna at her own game. But she failed to win the key points as Novotna, a two-time Wimbledon finalist, showed her experience on grass.
Novotna advanced to a semifinal against defending champion Martina Hingis, who overcame Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in three sets to set up a rematch of last year's final.
Reaching the other semifinal were Nathalie Tauziat and Natsha Zvereva. Tauziat upset No. 2 Lindsay Davenport while Zvereva ousted Monica Seles, both in straight sets.
In men's play, Richard Krajicek and Goran Ivanisevic won their quarterfinals in straight sets.
Krajicek, the 1996 champion, cruised to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over 65th-ranked Davide Sanguinetti of Italy. Ivanisevic, a former two-time finalist, beat Jan Siemerink in three tiebreakers.
Defending champion Pete Sampras faced Mark Philippoussis, and Petr Korda played Tim Henman in the two remaining matches.
Williams twice became enraged at chair umpire Mike Morrissey after shots by Novotna were not called out.
``That was so far out,'' she shouted in the first game of the second set, then went up to the lineswoman and continued arguing.
Even more dramatic was her reaction to a non-call in the seventh game.
``I know it's out, she knows it's out, everyone knows it's out. But you don't know it's out,'' Williams, her face contorted in anger and tears, screamed at Morrissey.
After double faulting on the next point to go down 4-3, Williams cried during the changeover.
Williams lost her temper again in the 11th game, standing indignantly with her hands on her hips and complaining about a ball that wasn't called long. When the next shot was called out, Williams clapped her racket, mocking the lineswoman.
Williams seemed to regain control but, in the tiebreaker, she played carelessly and made a series of unforced errors as Novotna closed out the match.
Williams had raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set but lost three straight games. Novotna broke for a 6-5 lead and served out the set in the next game.
Seles, the No. 6 seed, fell behind quickly and never recovered as the unseeded Zvereva, known mainly as a doubles specialist, moved her around the court and won 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.
Zvereva, who ousted seven-time champion Steffi Graf last week, beat Seles for the first time in five matches. She reached a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time since her 6-0, 6-0 loss to Graf in the 1988 French Open final.
Seles, whose father died in May after a long battle with stomach cancer, reached the French Open final three weeks later, losing to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.
Seles won her first four Wimbledon matches in straight sets and appeared to be a legitimate threat to win the only Grand Slam title to elude her. But Zvereva, wearing red-tinted wraparound sun glasses, forced her into repeated errors and made her look ordinary.
``I just didn't feel anything was going well,'' Seles said. ``I just couldn't put two points together today. ... I was missing my backhand all over the place.''
Hingis lost a set for the first time in the tournament but outlasted French Open champ Sanchez Vicario 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
The featured long rallies and seemed more appropriate to the clay of the French Open than the grass of Wimbledon. Several times in the final set, Hingis appeared out of breath.
The fifth-seeded Spaniard, known for her tireless retrieving, pushed Hingis to the brink, saving nine consecutive break points over the second and third sets.
Hingis finally converted on the 10th break point, ripping a backhand pass that ended a long, corner-to-corner rally and gave her a 4-2 lead in the third set. She raised her arms and caught her breath by sitting on a linesman's chair at the back of the court.
Although Sanchez Vicario broke back in the next game, Hingis won the next two games to close the match. She smiled with relief and pumped both fists after hitting an inside-out forehand which the Spaniard returned wide.
Tauziat downed Davenport 6-3, 6-3 to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal. The 16th-seeded Frenchwoman had lost her last seven matches to the American.
``That was by far the best she ever played against me,'' Davenport said. ``She just outplayed me completely today.''