DOHA (Reuters) – Top-seeded American Monica Seles relied on her impressive serve to beat fourth seed Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 7-6 6-3 and win the Qatar Open Sunday.
Seles was made to sweat by her courageous opponent as the pair slugged it out shot-for-shot, but the American’s vast experience and better service game made the vital difference.
Seles, who had a marathon semifinal Saturday, lacked her characteristic mobility and even looked sluggish at times.
By contrast, the Thai star got into her groove from the start and played some brilliant shots past Seles, who was left looking at her opponent in disbelief at times.
Tanasugarn broke Seles in the first game, forcing her to fire the ball wide, but the American broke back in the next game and it went with serve through the rest of the set.
The Thai had the first chance to win it but missed a golden opportunity to get ahead as she frittered away two break points in the seventh game.
The tiebreak was level at six-all when Tansugarn hit the ball into the net and Seles seized the chance by hitting a winner down the line on the next point to clinch the set.
The second set followed the pattern of the first as Tanasugarn broke Seles in the first game but lost her own serve straight away before the American broke again in the seventh.
Another break in the ninth put the issue beyond doubt and gave Seles a winner’s check of $27,000.