Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
By JIM ARMSTRONG
Associated Press Writer
TOKYO (AP) -- Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova and Silvia Farina Elia advanced to the semifinals of the Toray Pan Pacific tennis tournament with victories on Friday.
Hingis, the top seed, defeated Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-3, 6-2; Seles beat Alexandra Stevenson 7-6 (9), 7-6 (9); Kournikova was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Anne Kremer; and Elia defeated fourth-seeded Sandrine Testud 6-4, 6-3.
Tied 3-3 in the first set at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Hingis served two straight aces to win the seventh game and then broke Tanasugarn before serving out the set.
``I think that was the turning point in the match,'' Hingis said. ``I didn't serve that well at first, but I was able to lift the level of the game when I needed to, and then I cruised through the second set.''
Hingis, currently fourth in the world rankings, is looking to win this event for the fourth time in six years. She will face the fifth-seeded Elia in Saturday's semifinal.
``I'll have to be mentally tougher in the next match,'' Hingis said. ``But I've played a lot of tennis recently and I feel pretty confident about my chances here.''
Hingis lost to American Jennifer Capriati in the final of the Australian Open on Saturday.
Kournikova, who has never won a pro tournament, will play Seles in the semifinals.
``I've had some tough opponents here,'' Kournikova said. ``I played well today in both sets and I'm looking forward to playing Monica. She's an unbelievable player and it's always nice to play a top 10 player.''
The hard-hitting Stevenson had 11 set points, but was a victim of too many unforced errors and some bad luck against Seles.
``It was a very close match,'' Seles said. ``I got a few lucky breaks. She was up 6-5 in the second set and missed a volley, which allowed me to get back in it.''
Leading 10-9 in the second tiebreaker, Seles finally won the 1-hour, 55-minute match when Stevenson's backhand return went out.
Stevenson, who had to qualify to get into this tournament and is 49th in the world rankings, had the crowd in her corner for most of the match. She had 13 aces, but also double-faulted eight times.