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Hingis celebrates first Swiss title

Finally a home win...Martina Hingis celebrates victory

(Keystone)

Switzerland's Martina Hingis has been celebrating her first major title win on home soil, following her three sets win over Lindsay Davenport in the final of the Kloten Swisscom Challenge.

The world number one said it had been "a great feeling" to win the final at her third attempt. "It means twice as much to win a tournament at home," she continued. "It's overwhelming. It just feels great."

Hingis's triumph in front of 6,000 noisy Swiss fans was far from easy though. After taking the first set 6-4, the 20-year-old from St Gallen lost the second set by the same score.

She then appeared to run into trouble in the third set, losing her service game to trail 4-3. But Davenport was unable to take advantage as Hingis broke back in the very next game.

If Hingis's supporters sensed a fightback, they were forced to wait a little longer. The Swiss player fared even worse in her next service game, failing to take even a point.

With Hingis 4-5 down, Davenport had only to hold her serve to take the match. Afterwards Hingis admitted that even she thought it was over.

"I almost wanted to cry," she said. "But then I said 'Come on, hang in there, do everything possible to turn it around.'"

Turn it around she did. Davenport incredibly lost the next game, the fourth in a row to go against serve.

Hingis then took control, winning her next service game with an ace. Two unforced errors from Davenport and a blistering cross court shot from Hingis were enough to decide the next game and the match.

Exhausted as she was after an encounter that lasted almost two hours, Hingis appeared to have taken strength from the 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory.

"I think I earned the victory," she smiled. "I worked and trained very hard during my break while the Olympics were on, and I think I have found out what is necessary to beat the power players like Lindsay."

Hingis's triumph makes her only the second Swiss woman to win the Kloten singles tournament. Seven years ago Manuela Maleeva-Fragnière became the first Swiss winner, beating Martina Navratilova in straight sets.

By Mark Ledsom


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