Spain's Conchita Martinez overcame South Africa's Amanda Coetzer (6-1, 6-2) Sunday to regain the German Open title she won in 1998 - just hours after she withdrew from Monday's Italian Open with an injury.
The third seeded Spaniard cited a right Achilles tendon strain for her pullout from Rome.
It occurred during her semifinal win over Switzerland's Martina Hingis, and was aggravated in her doubles semifinal played later that day.
The 28-year-old Spaniard decided it was not painful enough to prevent her playing the final in Berlin, but that it was too tender to risk further damage with the French Open looming in two weeks time.
"Even though the score was like that I thought it was a really tough match. The points went long and the result was not the way it was," said former Wimbledon champion Martinez.
"The injury is a problem when you have the French Open coming up. I've been going non-stop and it's not only my foot. It's my body can't hold out another week like that.
"Believe me, I'm not happy about pulling out of Rome. I love Rome and I've been very successful there and I'm playing great tennis. But the French Open is coming up and I don't want to miss it.
"I want to be fit for that, and if I play Rome, who knows. I could get injured and that wouldn't be very smart."
Her victory over 10th seeded Coetzer, also aged 28, not only earned Martinez $166,000, but means she will soar from eight to three in the new world rankings to be published Monday.
It is her highest ranking since November 1996, and comes after she reached the Australian Open semifinals and finished as runner-up on the Gold Coast and in Amelia Island earlier this year.
Hingis also withdrew from Rome because of left plantar fascitis, which is an inflammation of connective tissue on the bottom of her left foot, and she has returned to the Czech Republic for treatment.
"I have played a lot of tennis in the last two weeks, and my foot was bothering me last week in Hamburg also," said Hingis. "I had an x-ray and the doctor told me that I would have to rest my foot for a week or so. My main goal is to be 100 per cent fit for the French (Open)."
Coetzer gave Martinez all the encouragement she needed in the first set, despite breaking the Spaniard to lead 1-0. Martinez then claimed the next six games and the set as the South African not only lacked a weapon to hurt Martinez, but also her usual persistence.
She won just three points on her own serve, made a succession of volleying errors, and at one stage a serve even failed to reach the net as she double-faulted.
By contrast, Martinez was patient in the rallies, mixing high looping balls with a powerful forehand while waiting for the opportunity to work her way into the net and put away a volley.
Coetzer briefly threatened to offer greater resistance in the second set, hitting the ball more positively and making several winning volleys. But once Martinez broke to lead 3-2 and held serve comfortably Coetzer was unable to respond.
The disappointed South African said: "It was a question of her playing her game really well and me not having the chance to have a say in it. I felt the first set went a little bit too quickly, but right from the start of the second set I felt I had a pretty good chance.
"I felt good physically and there were a few crucial games that could have turned the match. I felt for a while I was dictating some of the points" - (AFP).
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)