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THE HOT CORNER

Inside Track

September 08, 1997|LISA DILLMAN

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: U.S. Open tennis web sites

Now that the last ball has been struck at the U.S. Open, it's time for another set of rankings--web sites.

1. http://www.usopen.org/

2. http://www.tennis.com/slams/open97/

Information flow is the logic behind the Open rankings. For instance, after a dramatic day Tuesday--Monica Seles lost to Irina Spirlea and Michael Chang gutted out a five-setter against Cedric Pioline--the information was nowhere to be found at the tennis.com site at 5 p.m. (Pacific time).

Evidently, results were updated at the end of the day, a virtual eternity in cyberspace.

Swiftness was not the problem one click away with the usopen.org folks, the official USTA site maintained by IBM. There, long before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the fact that Seles had lost was duly noted, as was the fact Spirlea hit nine aces and Seles was one for eight on break-point opportunities.

The same held true Sunday. No results from the finals were found late in the afternoon at tennis.com. The USTA site had the hat trick--stories, pictures and statistics.

It was also revealing to look at the always entertaining predictions by Italian journalist Rino Tommasi. He had Martina Hingis winning in two sets, Patrick Rafter in four. Two for two.

Tennis.com, maintained by Tennis magazine, was not a total washout, however. Of particular interest last week were remarks from the players and commentators in memory of the late Princess Diana.

Michael Chang recalled that he was afraid to meet her when he was 17, saying: ". . . I was so intimidated to meet her."

Said John McEnroe: "One time when I was going through my divorce with my first wife, I saw Princess Diana at Wimbledon and she asked me how I was doing--as if she didn't have enough problems."

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