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Talaja Wins First Pro Tennis Title

January 8, 2000

GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) _ Croatian Silvija Talaja beat former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez 6-0, 0-6, 6-4 Saturday over to win her first singles title at the Australian Women’s Hardcourt tennis championships.

The 21-year-old Talaja, who beat second-seeded Anna Kournikova and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario to make the final, defeated the Spanish tour veteran in 1 hour, 40 minutes at Royal Pines Resort.

The seventh seed walked over to thank her Croatian fans in the sellout crowd at the 1,522-seat stadium. It was her fourth finals appearance on the WTA tour since turning professional six years ago.

Talaja won the opening set in just under 20 minutes, taking a 3-0 lead when Martinez double-faulted twice at the start of the third game.

Martinez, whose right ankle was strapped following an injury in Friday’s semifinal, won the second set 6-0.

Talaja, who last year became Croatia’s No. 1 player ahead of Wimbledon semifinalist Mirjiana Lucic and Iva Majoli, took a 4-0 lead in the final set before closing out the win.

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