TOKYO (TICKER) — Lleyton Hewitt and Monica Seles took all the suspense out of the Japan Open.
The top seeds did not drop a set this week as Hewitt extended his winning streak to 14 matches and Seles captured her 50th career title Sunday at the $870,000 hardcourt tennis tournament.
Seles needed just 64 minutes to dispatch second seed Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, 6-3, 6-2, for her second title in as many events and third of the year.
“I’m very happy to get through today’s match,” said the American, who pocketed $27,000 for winning her sixth event in Japan. “I wasn’t sure how my foot (injured during Friday’s semifinal) would react today, but it performed great. It was a fairly close match and I’m just happy to win it.”
The former world No. 1, who won the Brazil Open two weeks ago, was told of reaching the 50-title mark by a television commentator.
“I really didn’t know that I had a chance to win my 50th career title coming into the match, but I’m really happy about it,” she said. “It’s one of those milestones in your career. While you are playing, I don’t think you really think about it, because you just worry about the matches not necessarily the titles. I still play tennis because I love the game, not for how many titles I can win. But I’m very proud of the accomplishment and hopefully I can add a few more titles to that number before I retire.”
Seles will have only one more chance this year — next week in Shanghai — to notch No. 51. She will not play in the WTA Tour Championship in Munich later this month as she has boycotted playing in Germany since the stabbing incident in 1993.
“I only have one more tournament this year and then I will be done until Australia,” she said. “I think it’s been a great second season for me. In the beginning of the year, I was injured and out for five months. By not playing, my ranking fell, but since I started back in July it’s been really good.”