Little wonder that 11 years later, Martina Hingis is the top-ranked player in the world.
"She's by far No. 1," Lindsay Davenport said after Hingis beat her 6-3, 6-4 Saturday to win the State Farm Evert Cup. "She just is so dominant, she really is."
"As long as she is playing as well as she is right now, she's going to stay there for a while."
Davenport speaks with authority; she's ranked second in the world.
After rain delayed the start of their final for two hours, Hingis breezed through the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup.
On one point, Hingis sprinted far to her left, switching the racket from her right hand to her left and drilled the ball crosscourt to keep the rally going.
"When I was around six, I won a tournament for 9s (year olds)," she said. "I had a broken finger and couldn't play with my right hand."
She did not win that final left-handed, however.
"That girl (the other finalist) was just very scared of playing me because she was afraid I would beat her left-handed," Hingis explained. "So after two weeks I was ready to play with my right hand. I beat her."
Asked what compelled her to play left-handed, Hingis grinned and said, "I wouldn't have been able to play. It was just so I could keep playing."
In the Newsweek Champions Cup running concurrently at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Greg Rusedski, the new "big boomer" on the men's tour, overwhelmed Thomas Muster with 11 aces one clocked at a record 149 mph to win their semifinal 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.
After another two-hour rain delay, Marcelo Rios ended the surprising run of Jan-Michael Gambill, playing in his first ATP Tour semifinal, 7-6 (6-3), 6-3. The rain began with the score tied 6-6 in the first set. When play resumed, Gambill won the first point in the tiebreaker, then Rios took charge by winning six straight points.
Gambill had reached the semifinals by upsetting Mark Philippoussis, Francisco Clavet, Jim Courier and Andre Agassi.
In the Evert Cup final, Hingis dictated play, hammering groundstrokes that sent Davenport scurrying from sideline to sideline.
Hingis won the Australian Open in January and has lost just twice this year, to Venus Williams in Sydney and Davenport in Japan. She avenged both those in the Evert Cup, defeating Williams in the semifinals.
Hingis, playing in her first Evert Cup, breezed through the tournament without losing a set. The title was the 16th career championship for the 17-year-old Swiss star, who came within one title the French Open of winning the Grand Slam last year.
The 6-foot-4 Rusedski, a left-hander who was born in Montreal and lives in London, hit a serve clocked at 146 mph in his quarterfinal victory over Thomas Enqvist. That ha bettered his 143-mph mark set at the U.S. Open last year.
In the Champions Cup semifinal, he closed out the 11th game of the first set with a 149 mph ace. Rusedski also had serves clocked at 144, 142 and 140 mph against Muster, whose fastest serve was 122 mph.
Muster, who had ousted top seed Pete Sampras, was slowed by soreness in his right hip flexor muscle, a pain he first felt during his quarterfinal win over Andrei Medvedev on Friday.
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