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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pierce Tops Seles to Take Kremlin Cup




Mary Pierce beat Monica Seles in straight sets in the final of the Kremlin Cup in front of a packed center court in the Olympic sports complex. The No. 5 seed beat the No. 2 seed 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to win the $165,000 top prize.


Pierce, a self-confessed "slow starter," found herself facing a 3-0 deficit at the second changeover Sunday, but as she pointed out, there are three sets in a match.


The first turning point came in the fourth game of the first set when the Frenchwoman, the world No. 11, saved three break points to hold serve. The decisive rally came in the fifth game when Seles just managed to get to a Pierce miss-hit and fired a cross-court backhand that seemed to be a sure winner. But somehow Pierce got her racket to it and unleashed a killer topspin forehand down the line and broke serve.


In the tie-break Pierce took the second of four set points when the American made another of the unforced errors that increasingly littered her play.


In the first game of the second set Seles failed to convert three break points and Pierce, courtesy of some unreturnable serves, survived. Pierce broke for 4-2 and Seles was struggling. Her six double faults to Pierce's one are telling. Seles saved match point in the eighth game but then Pierce wrapped up the match with a love game..


Speaking of her victory Pierce said, "It always feels great winning a tournament. I have been struggling, even in this tournament. When you're not playing well it is good that you can still win. To beat Monica ? you have to take advantage of any opportunity she gives you." Pierce, when asked about how she planned to celebrate her victory said: "I will get a flight this evening as I'm playing in a tournament next week."


Seles was critical of her performance, "I came out really good but became sluggish. Today was just an off-day," she said.


Pierce added the doubles title to this victory, as she and Natasha Zvereva overcame Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs in the final 6-3 6-4.