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Seles survives extreme heat in three-set win

August 6, 1997

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ Monica Seles outlasted on-court temperatures of 96 degrees and a determined Sandrine Testud to post a 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 second-round victory Wednesday in the Acura Classic.

Seles, the No. 2 seed, needed 2 hours and 23 minutes under wilting sunshine to put away Testud, who was up a set and serving for the match at 5-3 when Seles started her comeback.

In other matches Wednesday, 1994 champion Amy Frazier had a 6-1, 6-3 victory over third-seeded Amanda Coetzer of South Africa, who had reached at least the semifinals in eight tournaments this year; defending champion Lindsay Davenport defeated Yayuk Basuki of Indonesia 6-1, 6-1 in 48 minutes; and Natasha Zvereva of Belarus defeated Ruxandra Dragomir of Romania 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4).

Top-seeded Martina Hingis, who owns a 54-1 record this year, played Anne-Gaelle Sidot of France in a night match.

Daytime temperatures were so hot, the WTA Tour invoked its extreme weather condition rule, which allowed a 10-minute break between the second and third sets. The heat radiating off the hard courts at Manhattan Country Club reached 122 degrees.

The players, the chair umpire and many in the crowd sought shelter under umbrellas. A breeze picked up late in the second set of Seles’ match and continued in the third, making conditions more tolerable.

``It was such an up-and-down match. It was very hot and I couldn’t end the points as fast as I wanted to,″ said Seles, who lost a three-setter to Testud in the third round at Wimbledon.

For Testud, it was a match filled with missed opportunities. The Frenchwoman blew a 6-2 lead in the first-set tiebreaker, but hung on to close it out 8-6 on consecutive backhand errors by Seles.

``I’m having trouble deciding what I want to do,″ she said. ``Even when the ball is coming, I’m thinking of four different shots I can hit instead of just hitting the ball hard, which is my game.″

Seles, ranked third in the world, was an unwitting victim of the UPS strike. She couldn’t use the delivery company because of its labor strike, and when her rackets showed up, the hotel misplaced them.

``My rackets didn’t arrive, so I was in a total panic,″ said Seles, who played the first set with a loosely strung racket she reserves for practice.

Her agent delivered the rackets between the sets, allowing Seles to go back to the high-tension racket strings she prefers.

Testud went up 5-3 in the second set, but she won just one point on her serve and Seles pulled to 5-4 with a backhand into the open court.

Testud was serving into the sun at 5-3, and unlike Seles, she didn’t wear a baseball cap.

``I had to move my toss to the right and I couldn’t hit the ball as hard as I did before,″ Testud said. ``I was almost there. In the third, she was more consistent than me.″

Buoyed by chants of ``Mon-ica, Mon-ica,″ Seles broke Testud in the eighth game of the third set, then served out the match when Testud’s backhand sailed long.

Davenport, raised in nearby Palos Verdes, raced by Basuki, who beat the Californian in three sets here in 1995.

Davenport lost just seven points on her serve, and won 52 of the match’s 74 points.

``I seem to play really well when it’s hot and not windy,″ Davenport said. ``She wasn’t at her best, but because I was playing well, she didn’t know what to do.″

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