Sugiyama Wins Two Matches To Claim State Farm Title
Sugiyama Wins Two Matches
To Claim State Farm Title
.c The Associated Press
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (March 2) -- Enduring more bad weather, Japan's Ai Sugiyama won her semifinal match Sunday and then beat Kim Clijsters 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 for a hard-earned title in the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic.
The final was delayed 45 minutes by rain and hail that arrived just before the start of the third set.
Saturday's semifinal between Sugiyama and Alexandra Stevenson was rained out, so the players came back Sunday, and Sugiyama won 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 7-6 (9-7). By the end of her match against Clijsters, Sugiyama had played six sets to get her fourth WTA title.
"I felt tired when I was playing,'' she said. "Actually, it worked good, because I didn't feel pressure because I was too tired. I just focused on every point.''
Sugiyama still wasn't done. She and Clijsters are doubles partners, and they had to play in the semifinal, which also was held over from Saturday. If they win that match, Sugiyama will have the option of coming back and playing the final on Monday. A WTA rule requires the player's permission to play more than three matches in a day.
Sugiyama, ranked 25th in the world, last won a singles title in 1998, when she captured the Gold Coast in Australia and the Japan Open.
"Last time I won a tournament was Tier III,'' Sugiyama said. "This is Tier II, a big tournament. I just couldn't believe it. Today's tennis was maybe my best match ever.''
Leading 2-1 in the third set, Sugiyama broke service to take control. The victory raised Sugiyama's career mark to 3-2 against Clijsters, who's ranked third in the world.
"She didn't make many mistakes,'' Clijsters said. "She played too good today.''
03/02/03 20:32 EST
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