The predictable almost never happens at the French Open. So it shouldn't be a surprise that Marcelo Rios, the consensus favorite on the men's side, was ousted in the quarterfinals.
But at least one predictable phenomenon remains on course: the onward march of Martina Hingis, the world's undisputed best woman player.Hingis defeated Venus Williams on Tuesday with such ease that it put to rest any talk of a great rivalry - at least for now.
Hingis next faces a newly inspired Monica Seles, a three-time champion here, in one of Thursday's semifinals. No. 2 seed Lindsay Davenport plays two-time champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the other.
On the men's side, Rios, the No. 3 seed from Chile, blew his chance to overtake Pete Sampras as the world's No. 1 player when he lost 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to Carlos Moya.
Rios held that spot for a month earlier this year, and could have reclaimed it with a quarterfinal victory.
Today, 14th-seeded Alex Corretja defeated Filip Dewulf 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal. He became the third Spaniard to reach the men's semifinals, joining Moya and Felix Mantilla.
The fourth semifinalist would be the winner of today's match between France's Cedric Pioline and Hicham Arazi of Morocco.
With Davenport and Seles advancing, there are two American women in the French Open semifinals for the first time since Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert reached the final four in 1987. But there were none of the hoped-for echoes of Evert and Navratilova when Hingis and Williams took the court for their much anticipated match.
In a swirling wind that hampered both players, Hingis used her deft touch and uncanny court sense to dictate play throughout.
Never in the 6-3, 6-4 victory did the Swiss star appear out of control, off balance or rushed.
Williams, for her part, hurt herself with 38 unforced errors.
"I don't think I was as patient as I should have been. I guess everyone knows I like to hit," Williams said. "I suppose I got a little too excited, really wanted to hit a winner."
Hingis came into the match with a 5-2 career record against the eighth-seeded Williams, but the two 17-year-olds were 2-2 this year.
The match promised to be an intriguing battle between power and smarts. But, just as in their only previous Grand Slam tournament encounter - a 6-0, 6-4 win by Hingis in the U.S. Open final last summer - the match turned into a one-sided affair.
"It's probably good for me to lose so I can really see what I'm doing wrong and really look at myself and say, `Venus, you're not there,' " she said.
Moya, seeded 12th here, is ranked 12th in the world, but has been as high as fifth. He's hoping to crack back into the top 10 this week.
He became the talk of the tennis world at last year's Australian Open - for both his dashing good looks and his talent. He upset defending champion Boris Becker in the first round, then went straight through to the final, where he lost to Sampras.