NEW YORK, SEPT. 9 -- Okay, Lori McNeil thought it was great to beat third-seeded Chris Evert, but forgive her if she was still thinking about the doubles.

Minutes after the 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Evert that put her in the semifinals of the U.S. Open, she was pulled over for a television interview. So, how about beating the winner of the most Open matches ever?

"Well, I've got a {mixed} doubles match," she began.

Later, at a news conference, the 23-year-old, five-year tour veteran said she was happy, sure, but there was that match with partner Dan Goldie later in the day.

"It really hasn't hit me. I'm excited that I won. I have to play tomorrow. I have to put it behind me and I guess next week I will realize what I have done," said McNeil, the 12th-ranked woman in the world and 11th seed here.

She didn't yet understand the enormity of it all: that she, not Martina Navratilova, not Pam Shriver, not Steffi Graf (whom she will face Friday), ended two of the most remarkable records in sports -- Evert's 16-year streak of reaching the Open semifinals and her 13-year streak of winning at least one Grand Slam event.

McNeil's win was especially ironic considering she was here by the grace of a net cord. Monday, Zina Garrison had match point at 6-5 against McNeil. McNeil hit a forehand that cracked the top of the net before falling in. She came back to win that match over her doubles partner, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6.

"When Zina and I played, I was having a good time that day, too," she said. "Beating Chris is much more than beating Zina. Zina is different. Chris has so much history behind her."

Today's match was a study in Evert futility and McNeil agility. Evert played badly, not holding serve after the second game of the second set. McNeil reeled off four games from 1-all in the second set to take control, charging the net, pressing Evert every time she could.

"It is tough being indecisive with a player like Chris. You have to do one or the other. I just made up my mind that is what I wanted to do," McNeil said.

Then the fun began. Four games, four breaks made it 2-2 in the third set, the last break coming after Evert double faulted three times, twice from 0-30.

After that, John Wilkerson, one of McNeil's two coaches, started thinking ahead. "Oh hell, I've got to get ready for Steffi {Graf} now," he said of his thoughts at the time. "I knew she {Evert} couldn't win it when Chris hit those {double faults}. I knew she was going to have a long day."

From then on, it was obvious that McNeil only had to occasionally hold serve to win. She did -- once -- in the fifth game. From 15-30: a smash off a forehand approach, an ace and a service winner. Game. Set and match to follow.

"I felt this is the time to beat Chris, in the quarterfinals. I think if it was the finals I don't think she would feel as much pressure. I felt that I had a great chance," McNeil said.

McNeil's career has been steady, if not spectacular. Two tour victories to date, both last year, along with a quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon.

This year, she made the finals at the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma and the U.S. Women's Indoor Championships, and the semifinals at Dallas, San Diego and Geneva, where she lost to Evert, 6-0, 6-2. But her Grand Slam success consisted only of a quarterfinal appearance in the Australian Open, losing in the first round of the French Open and second round of Wimbledon.

Inevitably, the subject of race came up. McNeil and Garrison are the only two women among the top 15 who don't have endorsement contracts of any kind. And both are black.

"It's a fact, you can't deny the fact, I'm a black man, she's a black player," said Wilkerson, who also coaches seventh-ranked Garrison. Wilkerson said McNeil is about to negotiate with International Management Group, which also represents Evert, Navratilova and Mats Wilander. Garrison is close to a deal with Wilson.

"If things {endorsements} were coming, I think this win will hurry it up," said Wilkerson, who has coached McNeil since her family moved to Houston from San Diego in 1975.

Just about then, Graf walked past on the way to her news conference. Wilkerson said hello, Graf waved. Friends for today, but Friday is another story.

"Lori's got the game to beat Steffi," Wilkerson said. "If Lori's game can't beat Steffi, nobody's can."