Hingis' streak of six straight U.S. Open quarters ends
Posted: Wednesday September 04, 2002 3:18 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Her ankle healing, her game returning, Martina Hingis made it into the second week of the U.S. Open, which is about as much as the former champion could have expected.
That Hingis was playing in the season's final Grand Slam at all was an accomplishment in itself after she underwent surgery on torn and damaged ligaments in her left ankle on May 20. That followed surgery on her right ankle last October.
Monica Seles ended her run at the Open in the fourth round Tuesday, 6-4, 6-2. Hingis was broken five times, hit just eight winners and had no aces, not the kind of numbers she was accustomed to when she was at the top of her game.
Still, the former Open champion who was top-seeded in this tournament for five straight years and won it in 1997, had to be encouraged by her progress.
"I felt pretty good, starting to play, playing tournaments," she said. "Obviously, it will take time to recover 100 percent physically. That's the biggest problem at this point."
Recovery from the surgery went more smoothly than expected and Hingis entered warmup tournaments at Montreal and New Haven, reaching the quarterfinals each time, and requested a wild card for the Open. A win over Seles would have meant another quarterfinal match, this one against two-time defending champion Venus Williams. It was probably just as well that Hingis didn't face that hurdle at this stage of her recovery.
"I thought maybe, looking at the draw, I had a chance of making at least the quarterfinals, then play Venus," she said. "You can't compare my game right now to Venus."
So Hingis presses on, trying to reconstruct the game that once made her No. 1 in the world for 209 weeks. The only way to do that is to play matches, so getting in four at the Open was a plus. She also played doubles, more chances to get on the court.
"Now I have three or four weeks to train until the next tournament, so I know where I'm at," she said. "Probably that was pretty much what I was looking forward to. That's why I played these tournaments, to see how the game has developed and what I have to work on until the next tournaments."
She has a shopping list for the things she must look after.
"Everything," she said. "Endurance in my body and do a lot of cardio and things. I definitely have to work on the all-around game and the serve -- everything."
Then there is the matter of speed. Hingis sometimes is amazed by how fast the game has become since she showed up.
"It was slower," she said. "You have more time to think where you're going to hit the shot. Today, you have to react so fast. It's so much speedier. Sometimes, it's like 'OK, wait a minute. I need to think where I'm going to hit the next shot.' Sometimes, you've just got to hit it back. That is the difference."
Those are all physical issues. What about the mental part?
"The mental part is the least I'm thinking about right now," Hingis said. "If you have the rest of the game, the mental part will come automatically."
I have this feeling that martina is gonna come back really strong this fall and 2003!