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SELES PLAYS FLAWLESSLY AT CANADIAN

Monica Seles continued to defy her own expectations Saturday, demolishing sixth-seeded Gabriela Sabatini 6-1, 6-0 to reach the final of the Canadian Open.

The destruction was complete and took just 49 minutes as Seles displayed flawless tennis. Her serves, her returns, her placement of shots were all awesome.It was the best she's been in this first tournament back after 21/2 years. She said before it began that it would be unrealistic for her to expect to reach the final. The way she played Saturday, it would have been foolish to expect otherwise.

She will meet the winner of Saturday night's semifinal between Amanda Coetzer and Jana Novotna for the championship today.

"I played some great points," Seles said. "She kept mixing her shots up and I had to work on every point and do a lot of running."

From the start, Seles took charge. Every shot in her arsenal was working perfectly - slams, drop shots, passing shots. Sabatini could do nothing about it and she was suitably impressed with the way Seles had taken her apart.

"She was playing very well, making a lot of winners and not giving me a lot of opportunities. I don't think I played badly. She just played very, well, very close to the level she was at before.

"After two years, it's hard to just start playing tournaments again. She's playing like nothing happened."

Seles has been brilliant all week, and nothing, not even a gimpy left knee, has interfered. She covered the net effortlessly against Sabatini and on a number of occasions raced from baseline to net to hit winners.

There was some thought that Sabatini might challenge Seles. She had won three of 12 previous matches against her, one of just five players to have beaten Seles more than once. Three of the others - Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Jennifer Capriati - are no longer playing, and the other, Steffi Graf, was a first-match loser here.

Each player won her first service game at love. It was, however, the only time all day Sabatini was able to handle Seles. After that, Seles' serves and returns were just too much.