Kiefer's coolness proves decisive

Nicolas Kiefer coped expertly with the powerful service game of Mark Philippoussis to win the Hong Kong Open 7-6,2-6, 6-2 yesterday.

Nicolas Kiefer coped expertly with the powerful service game of Mark Philippoussis to win the Hong Kong Open 7-6,2-6, 6-2 yesterday.

Kiefer, whose stated aim before the match was to complete a weekend of German sports glory, survived a mid-match slump before emulating Germany's football team in their 1-0 defeat of England on Saturday and Michael Schumacher, who yesterday won the Formula One world drivers' championship.

"It's a great feeling. First our soccer team, then Michael Schumacher and now me. We did it," said Kiefer.

An erratic Philippoussis, the third seed, lost the first set on a tie-break to the second-seeded German. The big-serving Australian came back strongly in the second set, however, breaking Kiefer twice to win it 6-2.

In the first game of thedeciding set, Philippoussis lost his serve for the first time in the match after two double-faults. The Australian then smashed his racket on the ground and earned a code violation.

Kiefer stayed cool to win the next game and then broke Philippoussis again in the third game to take a 3-0 lead. The double break was enough toensure his victory.

In Tokyo, Serena Williams won the Princess Cup yesterday, coolly dismantling the Frenchwoman Julie Halard-Decugis 7-5, 6-1. It was the eighth tour singles victory for Williams, the American No 2 seed, who last month won the Olympics double tournament with her sister, Venus.

Williams raised her game for the final after struggling with her serve throughout the week. After taking a crucialservice break to win the first set, the American never looked back.

Martina Hingis made short work of the unseeded KimClijsters to win the Filderstadt Grand Prix yesterday. The Swiss No 1 seed won the first set 6-0 in just 19 minutes, withClijsters, a surprise finalist, unable to get into the game at all.

Hingis's concentration faltered in the second set. But after the 17-year-old Belgian had levelled at 3-3, Hingisreasserted her dominance, breaking Clijsters to take the second set 6-3 and wrap up the match in just 52 minutes.

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