Serena Williams, blasting serves and charging down nearly out-of-reach balls, upset Martina Hingis, 6-3, 7-5, in the Acura Classic semifinals last night in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
No. 1 seed Lindsay Davenport also was upset, losing, 6-3, 7-5, to Julie Halard-Decugis of France as both of the world's top two players were beaten on the same day.
Williams, the sixth seed, took out the world's top-ranked player in just over an hour for her second win over Hingis in five meetings.
"She surprised me. She played very well, attacked and didn't miss anything," said Hingis, who beat Venus Williams for the TIG Classic title last week. "It's kind of depressing. You get in good position, and she would just bounce back and hit a winner."
Williams established a powerful presence from the start, serving a love game to open the match. She gained the set's only service break in the fourth game with a crosscourt backhand winner for a 4-1 lead.
"My plan was to make sure I stayed focused the whole time and make the shots I'm supposed to make and not lose concentration," Williams said.
ATP CHAMPIONSHIP: Pete Sampras beat arch rival Andre Agassi, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, in the semifinals of the $2.45 million event in Mason, Ohio, for his 21st straight victory.
And defending champion Patrick Rafter of Australia beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, 6-4, 6-2, in just 55 minutes to set up a repeat of last year's final.
Sampras is 8-4 against Rafter, but Rafter has beaten Sampras three straight times, including here and in the U.S. Open last year.
This was the first tournament since the 1993 Wimbledon in which the top four in the ATP Tour rankings reached the semifinals. Sampras is No. 1, Kafelnikov No. 2, Agassi No. 3 and Rafter No. 4.
TENNIS INTERNATIONAL: Today's title match at the $275,000 tournament in San Marino will be an all-Spanish affair.
Albert Portas qualified for the final by beating Juan Antonio Marin of Costa Rica, 6-2, 6-4, before Galo Blanco eliminated Italy's Andrea Gaudenzi, 6-2, 6-2.
Portas, ranked 73rd in the world, needed just over an hour to down the 78th-ranked Marin.