Williams beats Halard-Decugis in Toyota Princess final

With a big serve and some big groundshots, second seed Serena Williams pounded out a 7-5, 6-1 victory over fourth-seeded Julie Halard-Decugis in the Toyota Princess final in Tokyo today.

With a big serve and some big groundshots, second seed Serena Williams pounded out a 7-5, 6-1 victory over fourth-seeded Julie Halard-Decugis in the Toyota Princess final in Tokyo today.

In the doubles, top-seeded and the world's top-ranked pair of Halard-Decugis and Japan's Ai Sugiyama won the title with a 6-0, 6-2 win over second-seeded Nana Miyagi of Japan and Paola Suarez of Argentina.

Sugiyama previously won the doubles with Monica Seles in 1997.

Halard-Decugis and Sugiyama have moved into the No. 1 spot on the doubles point standings for the Chase Championships in New York Madison Square Garden Nov. 13-20 after their victory in the 2000 U.S. Open doubles event.

Williams, who came to Japan after winning the Sydney Olympic doubles gold medal with her sister Venus, scored 10 aces, against Halard-Decugis' none, and often used powerful shots to force the Frenchwoman to go out of position, especially in the second set.

The 19-year-old from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, needed only 65 minutes for the victory in her first tournament in Japan.

She opened the match holding her serve at love, and repeated the same performance in the third game that featured two consecutive aces.

Williams, ranked eighth in the world, was in control, but the 30-year-old, 19th-ranked Halard-Decugis played superbly even in defeat.

The match went with serve until a decisive turning point came in the first set's 12th game.

Leading 6-5, Williams broke the game on a couple of errors on Halard-Decugis' part and her own winners, including a backhand crosscourt and a ripping forehand to within inches of the baseline. Again, it was a love game.

In the second set, Halard-Decugis lost speed and momentum, never threatening again.

After tying at 1-1, Williams won five straight games, serving out the match in the seventh with an ace and two powerful serves that her opponent slapped wide or long.

"Her serve was good in the beginning, and then it became stronger and stronger," said Halard-Decugis. "In the second set it was unbelievable, and I had less and less chances."

Williams said: "Yes, today my serve was better for sure. I had a few more aces and I was getting the contact point a little better. Overall it was better because whenever you're playing in any final, no matter what tournament, I always step up my game a notch."

The victory, Williams' third this season, was worth $87,000. The runner-up won $43,500.

A near-capacity crowd of 10,000 laughed and cheered wildly when Williams spoke in Japanese in her court-side victory statement. She said, in good Japanese, "I'm glad that I came to Japan. I'll come back for sure. Thank you very much."

She said she learned the Japanese words from Ruth Shiraishi, an official translator for the event.

Williams has said she almost skipped the Toyota Princess because of her tight schedule and the tournament's proximity to the U.S. Open and the Olympics.

She told reporters that from now on she will invest her prize money in the stock market, her new hobby.

Asked if she plans to go shopping to celebrate the victory, she said her days of splurging are gone. "Last year, I went through a 12-step program to stop. I had a couple of relapses in Australia, but I'm now investing in stocks and IPOs (initial public offering)."

Williams said she may compete in the "Generali Ladies Linz" In Austria Oct. 16-22. "My next tournament? I might go to Linz," she said.

Williams and Halard-Decugis were the highest survivors in a week in which top seed Monica Seles and third-seeded Amelie Mauresmo were eliminated.

More than 15 singles players will stay and compete in the Japan Open Oct. 9-15. They include Halard-Decugis, Amy Frazier, Kristina Brandi, Jelena Dokic, Tamarine Tanasugarn and Daja Bedanova.

Sugiyama, Japan's top player ranked No. 32, will sit out the singles event.

After the doubles match, Suarez said: "It was tough to play against them (Sugiyama and Halard-Decugis). We did not feel so good today, and I did not return so well. They played so good that they put a lot of pressure on us."

The winners received a total of $27,000, while the Suarez-Miyagi pair won $13,800.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy