OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Monica Seles completed her return from a foot injury by beating Nathalie Dechy of France in straight sets Sunday to win the $180,000 IGA SuperThrift Tennis Classic.
Seles won 6-1, 7-6 (3) in 75 minutes to cap a week in which she didn’t lose a set and was broken just twice. Sunday’s match was the only one of her four that lasted more than an hour.
Seles, ranked No. 14 in the world and seeded No. 2, had not played in a tournament since losing the final of the Princess Cup in Tokyo to Lindsay Davenport in late September. Since then, she has been recovering from a stress fracture in her right foot.
She said the foot gave her no trouble this week. She moved well, although she hasn’t returned to her peak playing weight.
I think I'm just really happy that I have no pain anywhere in my feet,'' she said.Hopefully the doctor’s going to clear me in about 10 days so I’ll be able to run and do sprints, and I think that’s going to help my general conditioning.”
Dechy, the No. 5 seed and ranked 26th, had not dropped a set before Sunday. But she lost all three of her service games in the first set, which ended in just 24 minutes.
The two stayed on serve until the sixth game of the second set, when Dechy broke Seles to take a 4-2 lead.
Trailing 3-5, Seles broke Dechy at love to get the set back on serve. She took control of the tie-breaker by winning the first three games and eased to the victory, which was worth $33,000.
I just knew it was one break down and I was returning terribly in the second set,'' Seles said.Again at 5-all I had a terrible return game so I was really lucky to win that match. I think my serve pulled me out in those couple games.”
Seles was a late replacement for two-time defending champion Venus Williams, who withdrew due to injury. It was Seles’ first appearance in Oklahoma City, one she said turned out to be a perfect fit.
I didn't play for five months and I really coming in here didn't get that much chance to practice and I was a little bit unsure of my game,'' she said.It’s just great to know that in a short period of time I can play well.”