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More grand slam grief for Hingis

Martina Hingis contemplates her defeat while Jennifer Capriati celebrates her victory

(Keystone)

Swiss world number one Martina Hingis has suffered a shock defeat in the final of the women's Australian Open tennis final.

Hingis was beaten in straight sets (4-6, 3-6) by American 12th seed Jennifer Capriati. The defeat means Hingis has now gone more than two years without winning a grand slam event.

The Swiss player went into the showdown with Capriati as the clear favourite. As well as holding a 5-0 lead from their previous meetings, Hingis has a formidable record in Melbourne, having won three of the last four finals there.

But the possibility of an upset was apparent very early on in Saturday's match.

With just 13 minutes played Hingis trailed 4-0 and although she then threatened a fightback the Swiss star suffered from an unusually high number of unforced errors.

After failing to survive the first matchpoint of the encounter, Hingis said exhaustion rather than complacency had taken its toll on her.

"I didn't have any more energy today," she insisted. "And the way she played didn't give me any chance. I also made far too many errors at the start."

A gruelling month of preparation in Australia followed by a demanding last week in Melbourne which saw Hingis take on and beat both Williams sisters seemed to have worn the Swiss player down.

"I was constantly getting more and more tired," Hingis recalled. "In the last three days, I could barely walk. It was just after that match against Serena, going out there against Venus the next day, playing the doubles - I was dead after that."

When speaking of her opponent, Hingis refused to accept the idea that Capriati should have given her little trouble in the final.

"She was very determined and she's a great player," said Hingis of her Florida training partner. "Going into this match I never thought that it was already won."

Hingis now has until the end of May to prepare for the next grand slam fixture, the French Open. All eyes are likely to be on the world number one as she bids to end her grand slam drought at the only major tournament which has so far eluded her.

swissinfo with agencies


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