Williams and Hingis advance to du Maurier Open final

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The Independent Online

Serena Williams set up a title match with top-ranked Martina Hingis in the du Maurier Open in Montreal, beating Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-2, 6-4.

Serena Williams set up a title match with top-ranked Martina Hingis in the du Maurier Open in Montreal, beating Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-2, 6-4.

Hingis, the defending du Maurier champion, defeated Conchita Martinez of Spain 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday. Hingis is seeking her fifth tournament victory this year, but has only won three times in seven matches against Williams.

"My advantage is that I'm quicker," Hingis said. "I don't carry that much muscle and weight around. But I have to be the first to attack, not her."

The hard-serving Williams has won the last three meetings, including a three-set victory last week in the semifinals at Los Angeles.

Serena and her sister Venus have won four consecutive tournaments and have not lost to anyone except one another in 29 straight matches. Venus did not play in the du Maurier.

"You always want to play the best and they are playing really well now," said Hingis, who said before Williams played that she hoped to play Serena in the final.

"You want to see how you're doing, whether I've improved from last week and how it will be at the U.S. Open," Hingis said of the upcoming tournament in New York. "I think it was quite close last week, but maybe I didn't believe it enough to beat her."

Williams, addressing the crowd in French, said she was "very happy.

"It's the first time I've played in Montreal, so I'm very excited."

An hour after her singles match, Hingis teamed with Nathalie Tauziat of France to beat Kimberly Po of the United States and Anne-Gaelle Sidot of France 6-1, 6-3 in a doubles semifinal.

"It feels good, just like the old days," said Hingis, who won the du Maurier doubles title in 1998 with former partner Jana Novotna.

In singles, Martinez went up 3-1 in the first set before Hingis started hitting the lines with her shots and won the next seven games.

"It felt like everything changed after I went up 3-1," said Martinez, ranked No. 6. "I was playing well and it looked like she didn't have patience.

"But then, all of a sudden, I started missing and then the patience changed around. It was tough."

Hingis improved to 9-3 against Martinez and avenged a loss from their last meeting in the semifinals of the German Open.

"When I lost to her last time I was too passive," Hingis said. "Today, I rushed too much at the beginning, I wanted to get it over, and after a while, I figured out that I had to be patient."

Sanchez reached the du Maurier final the last four times it was held in Montreal, winning in 1992 and 1994 and losing to Monica Seles in 1996 and 1998.

Results from the $1.08 million Omnium du Maurier Sanex WTA Tour hard-court tournament:

Singles - Semifinals

Martina Hingis (1), Switzerland, def. Conchita Martinez (3), Spain, 6-3, 6-2. Serena Williams (4), United States, def. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (7), Spain, 6-2, 6-4.

Doubles - Semifinals

Martina Hingis, Switzerland, and Nathalie Tauziat (2), France, def. Kimberly Po, United States, and Anne-Gaelle Sidot, France, 6-1, 6-3. Julie Halard-Decugis, France, and Ai Sugiyama (1), Japan, def. Chanda Rubin, United States, and Sandrine Testud (3), France, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.