What the Martinez-McNeil match lacked in marquee value, it made up in dramatics. The third set was especially taut, with the American going up, 8-7, before Martinez evened the score by holding serve.
That done, Martinez broke McNeil's serve and then won the match a game later on a seeing-eye backhand cross-court shot.
McNeil, who upset Graf in the opening round, was trying to become only the third African-American finalist in Wimbledon history. Instead, she'll have to settle for almosts and what-ifs.
"I'm disappointed always after (a loss)," she said. "I'm disappointed and I thought I was pretty close and yet not quite there."
Today's men's semifinal lineup: Top-seeded and defending champion Pete Sampras vs. No. 6 Todd Martin and No. 7 Boris Becker vs. No. 4 Goran Ivanisevic. Sampras leads Martin, 3-1, in head-to-head meetings, but Martin recently beat Sampras in the final at Queen's Club. Becker leads Ivanisevic, 6-3. Neither Martin nor Ivanisevic has won a Grand Slam event title. Sampras has won four, and Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion, five. . . . Conchita Martinez leads Martina Navratilova in their series, 3-1. All her victories, however, were scored on clay.