Tennis: Davenport sweeps Hingis aside

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The Independent Online
LINDSAY DAVENPORT, the reigning Wimbledon champion, beat Switzerland's world No 1, Martina Hingis in the final of the WTA Chase Championships here yesterday.

Davenport, the world No 2, overpowered Hingis, playing at the top of her game from start to finish, to post a lopsided 6-4, 6-2 victory in just 61 minutes, reversing last year's final in which Davenport was runner- up to the Swiss teenager.

"Today I played probably my best match ever. And to end the year with that is really great," said the 23-year-old Davenport of her third appearance the finals.

This marked the second week in a row that Davenport has beaten Hingis in straight sets in a final and leaves the towering Californian tied with the Australian Open champion with seven 1999 titles and one Grand Slam each.

"Yesterday I had a great win against Venus [Williams]. Lindsay was just a level too good today," said Hingis, 19, who earned pounds 156,000 as runner- up and finishes 1999 with more than pounds 1.875m in tournament earnings for the third successive year.

The pair had both produced outstanding performances in their semi-finals on Saturday. Hingis, the defending champion and top seed, defeated the American Williams 6-4, 7-6 while Davenport overcame Nathalie Tauziat, of France, 7-6, 6-0.

"I think that was one of my best matches ever," Hingis said after a struggle that lasted 1hr 51min for the 300th victory of her career. "It was great stuff. I'm really happy I came out on top."

Davenport swept past Tauziat in 49 minutes in the opening set and needed only 18 more to sweep aside her French opponent in the second.

In Pattaya, Thailand, the former world No 4, Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, lifted her first WTA title in four years, beating Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the final of the Volvo Women's Open. Maleeva, 24, who is campaigning to rejoin the tennis elite after nearly two years of injuries, succumbed to the fourth-seeded Kremer's aggressive groundstrokes in the first set, but then cruised to victory in 1hr 35min.

"This is so special to me as it is my first title after many injuries. It is unbelievable that at 24 I'm still able to come back and win a tournament," said Maleeva.