Hingis power show denies Kournikova first title

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The Independent Online

Martina Hingis snuffed out Anna Kournikova's hopes of a first career title with a 6-3, 6-1 victory in Moscow yesterday while Yevgeny Kafelnikov claimed his fourth successive men's title at the Kremlin Cup.

Martina Hingis snuffed out Anna Kournikova's hopes of a first career title with a 6-3, 6-1 victory in Moscow yesterday while Yevgeny Kafelnikov claimed his fourth successive men's title at the Kremlin Cup.

Kafelnikov, the Olympic champion, beat unseeded German David Prinosil 6-2, 7-5 in his sixth Moscow final.

It was the third straight title for Hingis, who won in Filderstadt and Zurich earlier this month, and the 34th of her career but the match spelled more disappointment for Kournikova, the fourth seed, who has gone 78 tournaments without winning a title.

Kournikova had set the early pace, breaking the top seed and world No 1 in the opening game. Hingis broke back immediately and the match remained even until Kournikova, her doubles partner, committed eight successive unforced errors, losing the last two games at love to hand the first set to Hingis.

The Swiss pulled off another break of serve to start the second set and when Kournikova double-faulted in the third game to give her opponent a 3-0 lead the outcome was effectively decided.

Hingis swept through the last three games, winning the final game to love to end the match in 46 minutes.

Hingis said: "It's always difficult to play your doubles partner. I knew I had to play really well to beat her because she had nothing to lose."

Kafelnikov broke Prinosil, who defeated the US Open champion Marat Safin in Saturday's semi-final, twice in the first set then scored a decisive break in the 11th game of the second set to win his 22nd title.

* In the seniors Cathay Pacific Champions tournament in Hong Kong, three-time Wimbledon and four-time US Open champion John McEnroe beat Australian Peter McNamara 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) in his opening match yesterday.

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