Wed, Nov 10, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Mauresmo defends a title for first time in her career

AFP , PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

World number two Amelie Mauresmo of France defended a title for the first time in her career, beating Russia's Vera Zvonareva 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the WTA Advanta Championship final on Sunday.

Top seed Mauresmo won US$93,000 at the US$585,000 event and took her fifth title of the season after triumphs at Berlin, Rome, Montreal and a week ago in Linz, Austria.

"I've never held a title before and it's excellent for my confidence," Mauresmo said.

It was the 15th career crown for the Athens Olympic silver medalist, who surrendered a break in the seventh game of the first set but did not allow her rival another such chance the rest of the way.

Mauresmo took control of the pace and rhythm of the match, seizing a 3-0 edge to start the second set, then breaking Zvonareva in the third and fifth games of the final set.

Mauresmo benefited by reaching the final on a walkover when Wimbledon champion and third seed Maria Sharapova withdrew from a Saturday semifinal with a right shoulder strain.

Now Mauresmo will advance to next week's season-ending WTA Tour Championship in Los Angeles, where she will challenge top-ranked Lindsay Davenport of the US for year-end world number one honors.

Zvonareva, the sixth seed, was seeking her second title of the year, having won the St. Jude in Memphis in February. She also lost to Davenport in August at the Cincinnati final.

Ranked 11th, Zvonareva also has secured a berth in next week's Los Angeles showdown, the fifth Russian in the lineup.

Mauresmo, Davenport and Serena Williams will join Zvonareva, Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina in the field for the event, which begins today.

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