Seles clinches Japan Open title


Monica Seles captured her 50th title when she beat Thai star Tamarine Tanasugarn to win the women's singles at the Japan Open tennis tournament today.

The American former world number one, who needed court-side treatment to her right ankle in the semi-finals Friday, stormed to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the second seed.

"It's feeling fine. I'm able to move on. I was very lucky it' a light sprain. So I had no problems with it," Seles said of her right ankle.

"I like to play on this centre court. Fans are terrific. I'm very happy to win this title for the first time. I hope to be back here next year to defend it. Hopefully you come out again and see some wonderful tennis like this week," she told spectators.

As for her 50th title, Seles said: "That's nice. I have really fantaxstic support here and my company yonex is probably the most supportive ever. I'm very happy that I came her."

The match went with serves until 3-2 for Seles in the first set with the Thai saving five break points in the second game and the American saving three in the fifth.

But Seles soon moved into top gear and never faced a single break point against her in the remainder of the match, finishing off the struggling Tamarine with her sixth ace.

Overall, Seles converted three out of her 14 break points, breaking sixth game in the first set and third and seventh in the second set.

It was a third straight win over Tamarine, all played in Tokyo on the Ariake Coliseum centre court. Seles collected the winner's check of 27,000 dollars.

It was also her third title of the season, following her victories at Oklahoma in February and the Brazilian Open last month, and a sixth title in Tokyo. She has won the Princess Cup in 1991, 1992, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

For Tamarine, who has yet to win a WTA title, it was her first appearance in a final on the tour this season and a third overall. She received the runner-up prize of 14,500 dollars.