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Year in Review: 1997

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Re-rank the list of top sports stories of 1997

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Tiger Woods takes
golf world by storm

Pedro Martinez signs
record deal with Sox

Latrell Sprewell
assaults coach, gets ax

Rick Pitino becomes
Celtics coach, president

Bill Parcells quits after Patriots' banner year

Martina Hingis
rules women's tennis

Florida Marlins win World Series

Women's pro hoop
meets with success

A Patriots surprise:
Super Bowl XXXI berth

Wil Cordero charged
with assaulting wife


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Check out the top news stories of 1997

Hingis captures US Open

She beats Williams, 6-0, 6-4, for 3d grand slam title of year

By Allen Lessels, Globe Staff, 07/08/97

Martina Hingis leaps into the air in celebration after defeating Jana Novotna in the Women's Singles final at Wimbledon, Saturday July 5 1997. Hingis won the final 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. (AP Photo)

FIND OUT MORE

Age of Hingis dawns

This could be the start of a
beautiful foe-ship

NEW YORK -- Venus came crashing to Earth.

Martina Hingis, the world's best player until -- perhaps even when -- Steffi Graf gets back, had a lot to do with that.

Three out of four is not bad.

Hingis won the Australian Open, finished second in the French, won Wimbledon, and yesterday -- with a resounding 6-0, 6-4 win over Venus Williams -- won her first US Open championship.

She made the most of the 1997 majors; never lost a set here; and has a 65-2 match record for the season.

So what does Hingis, who turns 17 this month, do for an encore?

``I just had a great year,'' Hingis said. ``What can I improve? Sometimes I ask myself. It's a little scary. I haven't won the French Open so that's kind of my goal.''

Yesterday, Hingis had it all over Williams, who was game but overmatched. Hingis's touch and movement, her all-around game, were way too much for her powerful but unseeded and largely untested opponent.

Hingis collected $650,000 with the win to run her earnings for the season to a women's record $3,058,811. Williams, who had won $73,861 this year coming into the Open, made $350,000.

It was harder than it looked, Hingis said.

``I didn't think it was very easy,'' Hingis said. ``I just played very good tennis out there, especially in the first set.''

And there's no such thing as a set being ``too easy'' Hingis said.

``I liked the way it was,'' Hingis said. ``It's like, you know, the US Open finals. If you win the first set 6-love, OK, I'll take it.''

Hingis dominated into the second set, faltered just a bit and recovered quickly to finish off Williams.

By the end of the first set, Williams was having trouble getting points on her service games -- she had a single point in each of her last two.

``I was just trying to think of what I could do to get in the match, what I could change,'' Williams said. ``I just felt that I should have pulled my game together, maybe slow it down, do something a little different.''

Williams had 17 unforced errors in the first set to seven for Hingis. That's been a problem before and something she needs to work on, she said.

Down a service break and 2-4 in the second set, Williams rallied. She held serve for only the second time in the match and broke Hingis for 4-4.

Williams served and took it to 30-love.

Not to worry.

``She wasn't missing at all, especially the last two games,'' Hingis said. ``But I knew if I lose that game I'm going to be serving with the wind and that's easier. Even if it would be 5-4 for her, I thought I would make it to 5-all and then it would be a good game.''

But here, Williams ran into problems. She doublefaulted. Hingis hit a backhand down the line, on the line. A Williams shot hit the net and bounced wide. She put a forehand into the net and Hingis had broken right back.

Hingis served for the match and went to 40-15 on a backhand by Williams into the net. Williams had a nice return on a Hingis serve, but Hingis volleyed a winner and it was over.

Hingis shook hands with Williams and then headed to a corner box of seats, throwing her racket into the crowd on the way. She jumped up and grabbed her mother's hands and was pulled up for a kiss. Back at her chair, she threw a couple more rackets.

She and Williams stood at the center of the court for the awards ceremony.

``We want Steffi,'' yelled someone from the crowd.

Bring her on.


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