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Seles Wins Fourth du Maurier Title

August 23, 1998

MONTREAL (AP) _ Monica Seles won her fourth consecutive du Maurier Open women’s tennis championship Sunday with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 victory over Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain.

Seles, 24, needed only 76 minutes to win the $150,000 top prize for the hardcourt tournament at a sold-out, 10,500-seat Jarry Stadium. Sanchez Vicario pocketed $60,000.

``I just think I have a good time here,″ said Seles about the hardcourt tournament that alternates between Toronto and Montreal. ``I love both Toronto and Montreal and I’ve always thought that if you’re relaxed off the court, you’re probably more relaxed on the court, too. It just seems to work for me.″

It was the first tournament title of the year for Seles, the former world No. 1 currently ranked sixth in the world, who showed she is in top form heading into the U.S. Open in two weeks.

Seles broke service for a 2-0 lead in the opening set and served out for the win. She broke Sanchez Vicario to open the second set and again for a 5-2 lead, while closing out the match without losing her service.

``Monica wasn’t missing much today,″ Sanchez Vicario said. ``She served really well and didn’t give me many chances. I had a break point in the second set and really, that was my only chance. I don’t think I played badly, she just played much better.″

Seles faced only one break point in the match and lost only 10 points on her serve during the match.

Seles, who upset top-seeded Martina Hingis in the semifinals, and Sanchez Vicario, who had ended Jana Novotna’s 19-match winning run, were each competing in their fifth du Maurier final.

Sanchez Vicario won in 1992 _ beating Seles in the final _ and 1994. Seles also beat Sanchez Vicario in the 1996 final en route to her four straight titles.

While Seles has struggled to regain her form since a fan stabbed her in the back during a tournament in 1993, she has dominated the du Maurier, beginning her comeback with a victory in the 1995 final over South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer.

Her record in five du Maurier appearances is 24-1.

It was a baseline battle from the beginning, but Seles hit the ball harder and came up with the more inventive shots than the 27-year-old Sanchez Vicario.

Sanchez Vicario, also a former world No. 1 and now ranked fourth, defeated Seles in the French Open final in June for her third career title at Roland Garros. But Seles holds a career 16-3 record against the Spaniard.

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