With her razor-sharp groundstrokes once again accompanied by grunts, Monica Seles continued her Grand Slam domination Saturday, capturing the U.S. Open with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.
The victory, Seles' second straight at the National Tennis Center, was her seventh Grand Slam title, including her third of 1992. She also captured the Australian and French opens.The victory was worth $500,000, the largest prize in tennis. Sanchez Vicario collected $250,000 as runner-up.
This was the 13th Grand Slam tournament Seles has played, and the eighth time she has reached the final. At Wimbledon in July, Seles reined in her loud grunting after several players complained. She took home the second-place prize.
This time, the grunting and the winning form returned, although it took 11/2 hours.
Where the first men's semifinal, when defending champion Stefan Edberg beat Michael Chang, lasted a record five hours, 26 minutes, the women began at almost a record pace, Seles ripping out to a 5-0 lead in 18 minutes.
But Sanchez Vicario, the 1989 French Open winner, lifted her game and began battling evenly at that point, holding serve twice and breaking Seles in the seventh game. She could only stem the tide for a little bit, though.
It wasn't easy, but Seles held at 30 in the ninth game to close out the opening set 42 minutes after the two began.
By then, Sanchez Vicario had shaken off the nerves that had plagued her at the start of the
match and began playing her own game - running everything down and hitting her groundstrokes deep with sharp angles. The problem for the Spaniard is that's Seles' game - and she hits the ball harder and deeper with even sharper angles.
Then there was the fact that in their last meeting, Sanchez Vicario had beaten the world's top-ranked woman, a fact that rankles Seles.
Seles began the second set with yet another service break, then held for a 2-0 lead. By then, however, the points were longer and harder to come by. The match was even, even if the score wasn't.
Sanchez Vicario wasn't quick enough to catch up with the laser-sharp strokes that repeatedly came her way. Yet she kept the pressure on Seles, making her play one more stroke, race to the corner one more time, hit a second volley on her rare ventures to the net.
And, in mirror fashion, Seles made Sanchez Vicario work just as hard.
Seles found it hardest just as she was about to wrap up what would look like an easy set - easy, that is, as far as the score would indicate. She was broken in both sets when she was serving for the set.
But both times she broke right back - to 5-3 in the first set and in the final game of the match.