Dokic clinches Rome Masters

ROME, MAY 20. Yugoslavia's Jelena Dokic clinched her first major title here on Sunday, defeating France's Amelie Mauresmo 7-6 (7- 3) 6-1 in the final of the $1.2 million tennis Masters series tournament.

The 18-year-old 14th-seed, who dumped her Australian citizenship earlier this year and returned to the Yugoslav flag, had surprised even herself by reaching the final in Rome on the red clay she detests.

However, this was another fine performance by Dokic against in- form Mauresmo, seeded four, who last week won the German Open.

The first set was a tightly-contested affair but Dokic took control in the tie-break to win 7-3. The second set was quite the opposite as Dokic wrapped it up in little more than 20 minutes while in the later stages 21-year-old Mauresmo gave up the chase, refusing to move for balls that were played down the line.

This was the first ever tournament title at Masters series or Grand Slam level for Dokic who reached the Wimbledon and Olympic semifinals last year when she was representing Australia.

On Saturday, Dokic beat doubles partner Conchita Martinez of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in the first semifinal and was later joined by fourth-seed Mauresmo, who dispatched top-seed Martina Hingis of Switzerland 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).

The results: Final: Jelena Dokic bt Amelie Mauresmo 7-6 (7- 3), 6-1.

Semifinals: Jelena Dokic bt Conchita Martinez 6-3, 6-2; Amelie Mauresmo bt Martina Hingis 6- 4, 7-6 (7-5).