Dementieva denies Hingis title with straight-sets win

TOKYO -- Martina Hingis got a taste of the power game in women's tennis, losing her first singles final since making her comeback.

The Swiss star, who has five Grand Slam singles titles, had no
answer for ninth-ranked Elena Dementieva's big serves and returns,
falling 6-2, 6-0 Sunday in the final of the Pan Pacific Open.

Hingis upset No. 4 Maria Sharapova in the semifinals, but she was broken three times in the first set and had a series of unforced errors in her fourth tournament of 2006 after a three-year retirement.

With the tone set early, Dementieva took the last three games of the set.

"I'm not looking for any excuses," Hingis said. "She was just too good today. I've had a very good start to my comeback and I will go home with my head up."

Hingis, who retired because of foot, heal and ankle injuries, is a four-time winner in Tokyo. She last played in the tournament in 2002.

Hingis won her first mixed doubles Grand Slam title at the Australian Open after reaching the singles quarterfinals in Melbourne last month.

Dementieva won her first Tier 1 WTA Tour singles title and fifth career title. Dementieva finished runner-up in the final at the French Open and the U.S. Open in 2004.

"I'm happy to have played such a good game in the final," Dementieva said. "I played very solid today, and I hope this will give me confidence for the rest of the season."

Hingis wasn't discouraged by the one-sided score.

"I've exceeded my own expectations and am happy to be playing good tennis once again," she said. "I've got a couple of things I have to work on and I'll go where this takes me."

Dementieva frustrated Hingis with lobs that she had no chance of reaching.

"I love to do passing shots," Dementieva said. "When she started to come to the net I could see she didn't like my ground strokes and was trying to change the pace. I was able to use those lobs effectively."

Hingis said she will play in United Arab Emirates this month and in Qatar next month. She declined to discuss long-term plans.

"I just want to pace myself and see how my body copes with it," she said.