Alex Corretja, his game a model of consistency, took a methodical 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Thomas Enqvist in the final of the Tennis Masters here yesterday.
In a tournament where the favourites, such as top seed Andre Agassi and the No 2, Pete Sampras, fell by the wayside, the unseeded Corretja was steady if unspectacular against the 10th-seeded Enqvist. The Spaniard actually hit fewer winners, 15 to Enqvist's 23, but committed just 13 unforced errors to 51 by the Swede. Typically, the match ended on Enqvist's seventh double-fault; Corretja had one.
Corretja, 25, was No 3 in the world in 1998 but was weakened by a lingering virus and fell to 26th last year. The title was his first since November 1998 although he made it to three ATP finals in 1999. Going into the week, Corretja was 53rd in the points race, but jumped to No 6 with his performance here.
Enqvist, like Corretja appearing in his first Indian Wells final after five previous appearances in the desert tournament, hit some excellent groundstrokes in the final, but killed his chances by spraying shots into the net or out.
Agassi lost to Hicham Arazi in the opening round, and Enqvist eliminated Sampras in the quarter-finals.
Lindsay Davenport may have conceded the top ranking to her great rival, Martina Hingis, but she left little doubt that she is currently the best player in women's tennis with a three-set victory over the world No 1 in the Masters Series final. Davenport repeated her triumph over Hingis in the Australian Open in January after rallying from a set and break down, winning the final 10 games for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory.
"It's a little depressing, losing to her all the time," Hingis admitted, who has now lost five in a row to Davenport and eight of their last 10. "I usually have the advantage over other players. Right now, Lindsay has that over me."
The Swiss player failed to nail her opponent in the second set when she led 4-2 and was 30-15 up on her own serve. "I know my game is running and the defence, but I was too defensive at the end when I had those chances," Hingis admitted.
The American, playing in her sixth consecutive final, claimed her 16th singles victory in a row and the 19th out of 20 this year. She also handed Hingis her first whitewash since her first-round defeat by Jelena Dokic at last year's Wimbledon.
Davenport also teamed with Corina Morariu to take the doubles championship with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Anna Kournikova and Natasha Zvereva. Davenport earned $200,000 for winning the singles, $31,000 as her share of the doubles title.Reuse content