Hingis to face Ivanovic in Pan Pacific final
Former world number one Martina Hingis beat defending champion Elena Dementieva for a place in the final.Updated: Feb 04, 2007, 17:10 IST
Former world number one Martina Hingis beat defending champion Elena Dementieva on Saturday for a place in the final of the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament against Ana Ivanovic.
The Swiss second seed, seeking a record fifth Tokyo indoor title this week, avenged her loss in last year's final with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over the Russian third seed.
Ivanovic, the fifth seed from Serbia, received a free ticket to the final after current world number one Maria Sharapova of Russia pulled out of her semi-final match with a left hamstring injury at 6-1, 0-1.
"I know I'm playing 10 occasions and it's my eighth appearance in the finals and the chance to make it a record five, so of course I'm excited about it. I'm gonna play my best possible tennis tomorrow against Ana," said Hingis.
Hingis attacked Dementieva's backhand side and chalked up a 5-1 lead in first set. She was never in danger afterwards, forcing a break in the eighth game of the second set and wrapping up the win in 70 minutes.
"That's my strategy for most of the time," Hingis said of her attack on Dementieva's backhand -- because I feel like my backhand is a stronger part. "She also hit a lot of backhand cross-court rallies. I also tried to change up to go down the line. It's definitely my big weapon, my backhand cross court."
Dementieva said: "She was solid. She was very consistent during the whole game, playing very smart as usual.
"I think I didn't play my best. I made too many unforced errors. I just didn't take an advantage of short balls to come to finish the points. I think she was better by playing a lot of rallies," she added.
Ivanovic, who had beaten her compatriot and fourth seed Jelena Jankovic in three sets on Friday, said her victory over the injured Sharapova was not a good way to win a match.
"From the beginning of the match, I didn't notice anything, because she was moving pretty well and also serving OK," said the Serbian.
"I was really surprised that at the end of the set she called a physician and straight away retired. It was surprising that she had a problem."
Ivanovic added: "It's never nice to win the match that way. I felt pretty confident and I was happy that each match I played better and my serve was working really well -- that's very important to play against top players.
"I also think I was moving pretty well on the court and I was very aggressive, which is very important to play against Maria, not to give any time, and I was pretty happy with my performance today."
Sharapova said: "It's always disappointing to end a tournament that way. I definitely tried to find the way, hoping the pain was settled and would get better. That's why I tried to play the first set."