NEW YORK -- No. 1 seed Steffi Graf will try again this afternoon in the women's U.S. Open semifinals to get her game in hand. If she does, it probably will be bad newsfor the U.S. Open's sensational No. 16 seed, Martina Hingis.
If she doesn't, Hingis, the 15-year-old who has captivated all who have seen her, certainly has the talent to make Graf sweat.
In the women's first semifinal, at 1: 30 p.m., one wonders if No. 4 seed Conchita Martinez can do the same to No. 2 Monica Seles.
Martinez, the 1994 Wimbledon champion, never has beaten Seles in eight tries. In fact, she never has taken even one set from Seles, who lost in the finals here a year ago to Graf.
"I can't think of anybody who is having a more difficult time than Steffi," said Judith Wiesner, after her quarterfinal loss to Graf. "I 00 don't know what she is thinking, but sometimes I am amazed how anybody can shrug off all that stuff and go out and play that well. It must be very difficult, but obviously, she can do it."
For years, it has been Graf's forte. Compile a list of her off-court troubles, and for every one she will lift her game to a higher plane.
But here, with her father's trial now under way in Germany for tax evasion in connection with her earnings, Graf continues to have lapses.
"I am a little disappointed by the way I'm playing," Graf said. "I guess that is why maybe I am not as positive out there as I should be."
The attitude is completely the opposite of Hingis'. The No. 16 seed has beaten No. 3 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and No. 7 Jana Novotna in back-to-back matches to reach this meeting with Graf. She flashes her vivacious smile, and says calmly, "I've got TTC nothing to lose against Steffi and I've done very well in this tournament so far. So I will try my best."
It's a final
No. 3 seed Lisa Raymond and Patrick Galbraith won the U.S. Open mixed doubles title yesterday, beating No. 4 seed Manon Bollegraf and Rick Leach, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-4).
"This was fun," said Galbraith. "Lisa and I played together at the French, but lost our first match. Here it came together and today, Lisa proved how solid she is. She was the key because the men always try to break the women and she was a brick wall."
For Raymond, from Wayne, Pa., it was her first Grand Slam mixed title, while her partner, Galbraith, got his second, having carried off the championship honors here with former partner Elna Reinach in 1994.
Going for it
The finalists for today's men's doubles match were determined in two highly entertaining matches.
In a dual among Australians, the No. 1 seeded Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde beat No. 13 Mark Philippoussis and Patrick Rafter, rallying from a set down for a 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4 victory.
Their opponents in the finals, scheduled for 11 a.m. today, will be eighth-seeded Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis.
Eltingh and Haarhuis survived by upsetting the tournament's fourth seed, Guy Forget and Jakob Hlasek, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6, (10-8).
Women in waiting
No. 1 women's double seed Novotna and Sanchez Vicario did together what neither could do alone -- beat Hingis in a tennis match. Hingis and her partner, Helena Sukova, who won the Wimbledon doubles crown, could not keep pace with the No. 1 seed and fell, 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.
Novotna and Sanchez Vicario, who do not speak to each other off the court, will face No. 2 seed Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva tomorrow for the women's doubles title.
Fernandez and Zvereva ousted No. 6 seed Lori McNeil and Gabriela Sabatini, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
Pub Date: 9/06/96