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Hingis eyes Roland Garros after Rome win

Martina Hingis hopes the recent history to repeat itself as she returns to Roland Garros for the first time in five years.

india Updated: May 22, 2006 16:01 IST

Martina Hingis will be hoping that recent history repeats itself as she returns to Roland Garros for the first time in five years a week after winning the Rome Masters.

The 25-year-old Swiss capped her remarkable return to tennis and set her sights on the French Open after overcoming late resistance from Dinara Safina to lift her first title since reversing her retirement last January, winning 6-2, 7-5 on Sunday.

The former world number one, who began the season with no ranking, had quit the sport in late 2002 due to foot and ankle injuries.

She will enter Paris with on estimated world ranking of 14.

"I always like Roland Garros because it plays more like a hard court," said Hingis, who was considering breaking training with a celebratory glass of wine on her last night in the Eternal City.

"And I love the city (Paris). The stadiums are very nice; they always play well. Now I just hope to play the same tennis as I did this week."

Hingis won the Rome title for the second time after a victory in 1998 over Venus Williams.

"They say never give up hope and keep fighting, and here I am," said the champion. "It's just great to be back on top of the game. I never thought I'd be here again."

Hingis, 25, claimed the 41st singles title of a career, which began with five Grand Slam crowns all earned as a teenager.

She last won on clay in Hamburg six years ago and claimed her last title on any surface in Tokyo ten months before her October 2002, retirement.

She stands 31-10 since returning to the game in January.

While not touting herself as a Paris protagonist, the confidenct Hingis is not discounting her chances either.

"You can't go in and think like, 'I'm gonna lose' before you go out there. I've played great matches against the top players."

"And the pressure is on them, it's not on me. But a Grand Slam is a different time to play. There are definitely players who have been around for the last three years when I was gone and they've won the majors," she said.

"They've been out there and playing well. But I think I'm very close," she added.
Hingis will be expecting more of herself now that she's bagged another title less than six months into her against-the-odds comeback.

"With winning this event, I know that I can do it again. Everyone was asking and probably I was asking myself as well: Can I really win another tournament? Can I get it that far and actually do it?"

"Now I did it, the ball is in my court. I feel like I definitely have it in me," Hingis said exultantly.

First Published: May 22, 2006 16:01 IST