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TENNIS ROUNDUP

Hingis Looks Like No. 1 Player

November 20, 2000|From Associated Press

Martina Hingis declared herself worthy of her No. 1 ranking in women's tennis after surviving a 2-hour 21-minute match Sunday to win Chase Championships' last appearance at New York.

"This is like the fifth Grand Slam," Hingis said. "I think I deserve now the respect of being No. 1."

When Seles buried a service return into the net, ending the 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 battle, Hingis wept with joy and relief.

"I played some great tennis," Seles said, "but Martina was just too tough there at the end."

The first set, which included a 24-point 12th game, took 56 minutes. The tension was only starting.

"I just needed to believe in what I was doing out there and keep the faith, basically," Hingis said. "I felt like I was tired, so I was like, 'Come on, she can't play like this all the time.' But she would throughout the whole match. It was not too many ups and downs in the whole match."

Seles finished with 53 winners--four more than Hingis--but had 31 unforced errors--five more than Hingis. "I think my serve let me down a little bit and Martina picked up her game," Seles said. "That's what champions do, and that's why she won today and that's what I missed today."

After being held at Madison Square Garden since 1979, the event will be in Munich next year.

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A bloodied and bandaged Marat Safin of Russia won the $2.95-million Paris Masters by defeating Mark Philippoussis of Australia, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8), in the 3-hour 28-minute final.

Safin will have battle scars to remember this victory. In the third set, down 4-3, the top-seeded player dived headfirst for a backhand return, hitting himself with his racket as he fell.

He lay face down on the court. Philippoussis, seeded 13th, crossed the court and tapped a motionless Safin on the shoulder. Two physicians tended to the Russian. Eight minutes later, Safin returned to the court with a butterfly bandage taped to his eyebrow.

"I think I need stitches," he said. "It hurts a lot."

An emboldened Safin came back to break serve and take the set. Philippoussis said the delay threw off his game.

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At Rancho Mirage, former Harvard standout James Blake beat former USC star Cecil Mamiit, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the final of the Acura USTA Pro Tennis Classic. . . . At Pattaya, Thailand, third-seeded Anne Kremer of Luxembourg won the Volvo Women's Open, beating Tatiana Panova of Russia, 6-1, 6-4.

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