Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seles Rolls, but with a So-So Effort after Blowout, Foe Calls Her Vulnerable

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seles Rolls, but with a So-So Effort after Blowout, Foe Calls Her Vulnerable

Article excerpt

Crouching low, squinting in the sun, the swirling wind tossing her curly hair, Monica Seles stood poised to pounce on serves, then hesitated as if unsure, the familiar suddenly alien.

She pushed balls back softly instead of slugging them, and when it was her turn to serve, she settled for safety rather than power.

Against any of the top 20 players, Seles might have been knocked out of the U.S. Open on Thursday, her comeback interrupted in the second round on a day when upsets were not uncommon.

Luckily for her, she played Erika de Lone, ranked No. 113 and playing at the Open for the first time in four years after taking a hiatus from Harvard. Seles beat her easily when they played once as 17-year-olds in 1991, and she beat her just as easily again this time, 6-2, 6-1.

The score aside, Seles was not as impressive as she's been in winning all her matches since returning to tournament play two weeks ago. It wasn't a case of nerves, which might have accounted for her breathlessness Monday night in her first-round match. She looked unusually tentative, and the only reason she could give was the breeze.

"The only thing today that was really bugging me was the wind, because it was swirling," Seles said. "I couldn't control the ball, where to go, or the ball toss, or everything."

Despite getting clobbered, de Lone left the court unimpressed by Seles and convinced that one of the better players might beat her.

"She didn't serve particularly well today, compared to the match I saw her in the first round," de Lone said. "Her second serve is pretty vulnerable. I tried to take advantage of it, but sometimes went for too much and missed the returns.

"I really didn't feel like she took complete and total charge until 4-1 in the second set. Then she just started hitting her first serves a lot harder, hitting aces, hitting winners off the second shot. …

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