Tennis: Williams takes her third title of year

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VENUS WILLIAMS destroyed an injured Mary Pierce 6-0, 6-3 in a one-sided final in Hamburg yesterday.

Pierce, who received treatment for back pain after going 5-0 down in the first set and again after losing the first game of the second set, was never in contention. Williams, the second seed, relied on on her power game to subdue the struggling Frenchwoman in just 63 minutes.

Pierce, the fourth seed, did not win a game until Williams netted a forehand to give her the fourth game of the second set. Pierce managed to win two more service games before Williams earned three match points on her own serve. The American wasted the first by hitting a forehand wide, but a return long by Pierce on the second gave her victory.

It was Williams's third title this year after Oklahoma City and Key Biscayne. She will move up two places to fifth in today's new WTA rankings.

"I've been playing really well all week," Williams said.

"I really love clay, especially the red one, which is the real stuff," added the American, who is looking forward to the French Open later in Paris this month.