Monica Seles won her second consecutive title at a 535,000-dollar WTA clay-court event, defeating Spain's Conchita Martinez 6-3, 6-2 for her second crown of the year.
"It has been very hard on all the players with so many matches we have had to play," Seles said. "All of us had two matches back-to-back It's truly unbelievable. I thought we might never finish this tournament."
Two Sunday morning semi-finals finished with the exact same score as the championship match. Seles rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Argentina's Paola Suarez and Martinez, the 1995 champion here, beat Elena Likhovtseva of Russia.
"I knew I had to come out really crisp," Seles said. "This morning match was really tough. This afternoon I just felt I had to start well."
Seles did not lose a set on her way to the title after suffering her worst career loss, 6-0, 6-0, to Martina Hingis at Miami. She came back from a broken foot to win her 45th career singles title at Oklahoma City in February.
Seles broke Martinez in the final game of the second set as well, capitalizing on her first match point when the Spaniard miss-hit a forehand long to hand Seles her second consecutive crown here.
"I'm so thrilled to win this title," Seles said. "When you win, there is a lot of pressure to repeat. This event seems to bring out the best tennis in me."
Martinez, celebrating her 28th birthday, settled for a chorus of "Happy Birthday To You" from the crowd.
"This is a great present to celebrate my birthday, to play in the final here," she told the crowd. "Thanks for supporting me," -- Florida (AFP).
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