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Venus Tops Hingis At Swiss

Venus Williams can manage quite nicely on her own.

Playing for the first time at a tournament without a family member with her, she routed top-ranked Martina Hingis 6-3, 6-4 Sunday to win the Swisscom Challenge.

She did not drop a set all tournament in earning her ninth career title. She also denied Hingis the chance to win a title in her home country for the first time.

"My parents had confidence in me and I'm glad I didn't disappoint them," said Williams, whose family remained in Florida, caught up in the swirl of studies, work and Hurricane Irene. "I was a little nervous being without them at the start of the tournament."

"Naturally, as everybody gets older you have to start doing things on your own," she said. "That's what I did here, so I really deserved this title."

Williams, seeded second, scored her second consecutive victory over Hingis. She beat her in the Grand Slam Cup semifinals two weeks ago.

"I played my game and I have a lot of power," said Williams, who lost last year's final to compatriot Lindsay Davenport. "I've played her enough to know what to expect from her."

"Martina doesn't give you much when you play so you have to become selfish and not give her anything, either."

Hingis reached the final in Zurich only once before in 1996.

"I had my chances, especially in the second set, but I was simply unable to close out the points," said Hingis, who last week won her seventh title this season in Filderstadt, Germany.

"I can't say I'm really disappointed because she was playing better than me, but with some more physical training I can beat her again."

Before 6,000 fans crammed into the Kloten sports hall, Hingis had trouble with Williams' power game in the first set and struggled to hold serve. Williams broke to lead 4-3 and again at 5-3 to win the set.

Hingis then squandered two break points in the opening game of the second set. Williams moved ahead 4-2 but Hingis surged back and drew to 5-4.

Then Hingis made her fatal error: Offered an easy point when Williams' ball tipped the net, Hingis sent a forehand wide, giving the American the break, set, match and title.

Hingis last defeated Williams in the U.S. Open in September. Hingis won that semifinal before losing the final to Venus' sister, Serena.

Hingis still holds an 8-5 advantage in the series between the 19-year-old stars. However, Williams leads 3-2 this season, having also beaten Hingis in the Italian Open semifinals.

Hingis' only other victory over Williams this year was in the final in San Diego this summer when she regained her No. 1 ranking from Davenport.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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