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 Saturday, September 11
Hingis: no intention of igniting verbal feud news services

  NEW YORK -- Martina Hingis and the Williams sisters engaged in their fair share of verbal warfare before calling a truce last week and Hingis has no intention of igniting the feud.

After beating Venus Williams in the semifinals and preventing an all-Williams final, the Swiss teenager did her best to answer questions diplomatically.

Asked if she had additional incentive to win the match after Serena Williams earned a berth in the final, Hingis replied, "They're three against me. With talking, I can't beat them. I know that."

Hingis was referring to the Williams sisters and their father, Richard, who boldly predicted an all-Williams final.

"I just go out there on the court and try to beat them," Hingis said. "That's all I can do. I don't want to fight with words. I can't beat them with words."

But when asked if she feels slighted by comments made by Richard Williams, Hingis fired a brief salvo.

"I'm not going to say that because the results and the rankings show it all," said Hingis, the No. 1 player in the world.

Double the fun
Having two daughters playing in separate semifinal matches was Richard Williams' goal coming into the Open, but it made for a difficult day.

Williams, who coaches both offspring, warmed up Serena Williams before her match with Lindsay Davenport, then watched from the stands as Serena took the opening set. But he couldn't stay.

Early in the second set, he and older daughter Venus left to get ready for her match with Hingis. As they practiced, Serena dropped the second set.

Richard Williams returned midway through the third set of Serena's match and cheered his youngest daughter on to victory.

"I think he wasn't there at first and then he was there at the end," Serena Williams said. "I guess I noticed him coming."

The elder Williams watched Venus' match and was joined by Serena in the third set.

"I guess he feels pretty good," Venus Williams said after losing to Hingis. "Fifty percent go to the finals."

Delay diminishes doubles crowd
A five-hour rain delay Friday afternoon resulted in the men's doubles final being moved to Louis Armstrong Stadium and played opposite the first women's semifinal.

Instead of having center stage for two hours, the finalists played before a sparse crowd. But that didn't matter to American Alex O'Brien, who teamed with Canada's Sebastien Lareau to defeat the Indian team of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.

"We honestly didn't care," O'Brien said. "We knew it was going to be a small crowd, a large majority of Indians. We had our small rooting contingent. We won. Doesn't matter what court we played on. We're the champions."

Ballboys try to mop up
When the rain finally stopped Friday afternoon, an army of ballboys descended on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Equipped with towels and hot-air blowers, they cleared away any and all moisture from the court, the area outside the playing surface and even the walls surrounding the court. The goal was to dry anything that could come in contact with a ball.

The thought process was the same on the practice courts, but there were no ballboys on the job.

Dean Goldfine, Todd Martin's coach, was on mop-up duty as Martin prepared to hit in preparation for Saturday's semifinal match with Cedric Pioline. Goldfine went around the court with towels, rubbing the wet spots that were quickly drying thanks to a brief appearance by the sun. He seemed to be enjoying the manual labor.

"This way," Goldfine joked, "I don't have to chase down all the balls to keep them out of the water."

Playing for No. 1
By beating Yevgeny Kafelnikov 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Saturday, Andre Agassi assumed the No. 1 ranking.

Agassi will be No. 1 when the new ATP Tour computer rankings are compiled on Monday, while Kafelnikov will be ranked No. 2.

Pete Sampras, who was ranked No. 1 when the year's final Grand Slam tournament began two weeks ago, will be No. 3. Sampras withdrew before the opening round with a back injury.

With his victory over Slava Dosedel on Thursday night, Todd Martin assured himself of a career-best ranking.

Previously ranked as high as fifth in the world in July 1994, the 29-year-old American will jump to No. 4 when the updated rankings are released Monday. Regardless of his performance the rest of the way, Martin cannot move higher than fourth.

Patrick Rafter took over the No. 1 ranking briefly this summer, but he will fall outside the top 10 on Monday. Rafter, who won the U.S. Open each of the last two years, retired in his opening-round match with Cedric Pioline and will lose almost all of the ranking points he earned here last year. He came in to the U.S. Open ranked fourth in the world.

Happy birthday to you...
Two seeded players celebrated birthdays today. Fifth seed Gustavo Kuerten, who lost to Pioline in the quarterfinals, turned 23. Women's ninth seed Julie Halard-Decugis, a fourth-round loser to Lindsay Davenport, is 29.

Davis Cup draw
The draw for the 2000 Davis Cup will be held Oct. 7 in London.

The first round will be held Feb. 4-6.

Currently, there are only eight nations that are certain to play in the World Group next year: France, Belgium, Russia, Australia, Switzerland, Slovak Republic and the United States.

Joining the World Group will be the winners of the qualifying round matches to be held Sept. 24-26. Those matches pit the Czech Republic at Uzbekistan, Germany at Romania, South Africa at Great Britain, Finland at Italy, the Netherlands at Ecuador, Sweden at Austria, Spain at New Zealand and Chile at Zimbabwe.

American juniors
Americans playing in the junior events at the U.S. Open had a lot of problems on Friday.

In the boys singles, Mardy Fish of Vero Beach, Fla., lost to Demetriy Vlasov of Russia 6-2, 6-4 and Phillip King of Long Beach, Calif., lost to Nicolas Mahut of France 7-5, 6-4.

In the girls singles, Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan beat Jenny Hopkins of Leawood, Kan., 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 and Lina Krasnoroutskaia of Russia beat Laura Granville of Chicago in a walkover.

However, Tres Davis of Lubbock, Texas, teamed with Alberto Francis of McAllen, Texas, to beat Mario Ancic of Croatia and Steve Berke of North Miami Beach, Fla., and advance to the boys doubles championship match.

Hingis halts all-sister final, faces Serena for U.S. Open title

Top-seeded duo of Paes, Bhupathi falls in men's doubles

Garber: One Williams down, one to go for Hingis