TOKYO -- Martina Hingis won her record fifth Pan Pacific
Open title Sunday, beating 19-year-old Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-2.
Hingis, who lost to Elena Dementieva in the final last year,
relied on solid groundstrokes to beat the fifth-seeded Serb in just
over an hour.
"It's twice as sweet to win the second time around," Hingis
said of her return to competitive tennis in 2006. "It used to be
so normal back in '97 and '98. This time around I feel like I
really deserve it, I feel more proud to win now and it's more
Hingis, who won in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002, broke a tie with
Lindsay Davenport for the most titles in the event.
Ivanovic advanced to the final when top-ranked Maria Sharapova
was forced to retire during their semifinal match because of a
Tied 4-4 in the first set, Hingis made 14 straight points to
take control of the set and the match.
Ivanovic double-faulted three times in the first game of the
second set and never recovered as Hingis raced to a 4-0 lead.
It was only the second meeting between the two players. Ivanovic
beat Hingis 6-2, 6-3 in Montreal last year.
"I played really well in the beginning of the match," Ivanovic
said. "Then at 4-4 my legs started to feel heavy and I couldn't
move. I started to play better near the end of the second set, but
by then it was too late."
The victory was Hingis' first Tier I singles title since winning
in Rome last year and 43rd singles title of her career.
The 26-year-old Hingis said being in shape allows her to compete
with the younger players on the tour.
"You have to be strong if you want to survive in today's
tennis," Hingis said. "I knew coming back that I needed to get
better physically, and I feel I have made a lot of improvement."