Martina Hingis - Dominates Women's Tennis
Dominates Women's Tennis
In 1997 Hingis dominated the tour. She became the first player since Graf in 1993 to reach the finals of all four Grand Slam singles events, winning three of the four. Hingis went undefeated through her first 37 matches, tying Navratilova's 1978 second-best record (Graf went 45-0 in 1987). On March 31, 1996, after defeating Monica Seles in the Lipton Championships, 6-2, 6-1, Hingis attained the No. 1 ranking, the youngest player to do so since computer rankings were instituted in 1975. She walked through the Australian Open without losing a single set and won her first Grand Slam singles title by defeating Pierce in the finals, becoming the youngest player (16 years, 3 months, 26 days) in the twentieth century to win a Grand Slam title. In April 1997 Hingis took a fall from her horse, suffering a slight tear of the posterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. Undergoing surgery to repair the knee, she sat out several tournaments but returned in time to reach the finals of the French Open, but lost to surprise finalist Iva Majoli. Once again at full strength, Hingis won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, defeating Jana Novotna (2-6, 6-3, 6-3) and Venus Williams (6-0, 6-4), respectively.
Named the Female Athlete of the Year for 1997 by the Associated Press, Hingis became only the fourth player in history to sweep the Grand Slam doubles, winning all four in 1998. She managed to defend her Australian Open title by defeating Martinez, 6-3, 6-3, but failed to win another Grand Slam the remainder of the year and went on a six-month, nine-tournament winless drought before claiming the season-ending Chase Championships. She was eliminated from the French Open and Wimbledon in the semifinals and reached the finals of the U.S. Open, which she lost to Davenport, who took over the No. 1 ranking in September.