HAMBURG, Germany (AP) _ Martina Hingis regained her No. 1 ranking from Lindsay Davenport on Saturday by blasting Germany’s Anke Huber in straight sets at the Betty Barclay Cup.
Hingis took back the top ranking from her American rival after five weeks by breaking the German’s serve at will in a 6-3, 6-2 victory in the semifinals of the $535,000 event.
Huber’s forehand sailed long at match point as Hingis clinched the match against the world’s 14th-ranked player in one hour, keeping the German off-balance with sparkling drop shots and perfectly placed shots that hugged the line.
``I heard yesterday I could be No. 1 if I win, but it’s more important to me to do well in tomorrow’s final,″ said Hingis.
She faces the winner of Saturday’s second semifinal between South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer, who ousted Venus Williams on Friday, and Spanish veteran Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.
Hingis, coming back after a month layoff, lifted the level of her play against the 14th-ranked Huber after opening her clay court season with two easy wins, where rust showed in her play.
Huber, a former Australian Open finalist, was riding an 11-match winning streak and coming off her first title since 1996, having won at Estoril, Portugal, two weeks ago.
But Hingis, after Huber played her even to start the match, broke the German’s serve three straight times to decide the first set and jump to a decisive 2-1 lead and serving in the second.
Hingis, now 19, will spend her 137th week at No. 1 when the new rankings are released on Monday. She first hurdled into the top spot on March 31, 1997, as a 16-year-old.
``Lindsay didn’t stay No. 1 very long, but I had a very good hard court season,″ said Hingis. ``It’s nice _ you don’t get to be No. 1 for nothing.″