SPORT

Serena's winning streak continues

Serena Williams poses with the trophy after winning the women's singles title at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Key Biscayne on Saturday. — AFP

Serena Williams poses with the trophy after winning the women's singles title at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Key Biscayne on Saturday. — AFP  

KEY BISCAYNE March 30. Serena Williams extended her 2003 unbeaten streak by beating American countrywoman Jennifer Capriati for the seventh consecutive time 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win the Nasdaq-100 Open on Saturday. Williams, who is ranked No. 1 and 17-0 this year, had beaten Capriati in the 2002 final.

In the men's section, No. 2-seeded Andre Agassi advanced to the final by beating No. 9 Albert Costa of Spain 6-2, 6-4. His opponent in the final will be No. 5 Carlos Moya of Spain, who had advanced by defeating Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand 6-4, 6-2 on Friday.

In the doubles final, the seventh seed pair of Roger Federer of Switzerland and Max Mirnyi of Belarus defeated sixth seed India's Leander Paes and his Czech partner David Rikl 7-5, 6-3.

Playing on her 27th birthday, the No. 6-seeded Capriati won four games in a row to take charge of the first set, and an erratic Williams appeared susceptible to an upset. It was the first set Williams had dropped in the tournament.

The noisy stadium crowd was firmly in Capriati's corner, but Williams steadied her game in the second set and won nine consecutive points early in the third to grab the lead. Taking a big swing on almost every shot, Williams finished with 42 unforced errors to 21 for Capriati, but compensated with a big advantage in winners — 33 to 13.

On match point, Capriati pulled a backhand wide, and Williams raised her arms and hopped up and down with glee. Capriati now is behind 8-4 in the all-time series against Williams. She hasn't beaten Williams since the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2001.

Williams earned $393,000, while Capriati received runner-up money — $206,000 — for the third year in a row.

Agassi, bidding for his sixth Key Biscayne title and his third in a row, won a 17-minute first game and led Costa the rest of the way. Agassi finished with 29 winners and just 18 unforced errors in the one-hour, 42-minute match.

Moya, who fell out of the top 40 in 2000 because of a back injury, will climb to fourth in next week's rankings regardless of Sunday's outcome.

The results:

Women's singles (final): Serena Williams bt Jennifer Capriati 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Men's singles (semifinal): Andre Agassi bt Albert Costa 6-2, 6-4.

Men's doubles (final): Roger Federer & Max Mirnyi bt Leander Paes & David Rikl 7-5, 6-3. — AP

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