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WTA Tour moves its season finale

By DARRELL FRY, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 5, 2000


NEW YORK -- After 29 years at Madison Square Garden, the WTA Tour's season-ending championship event moves to Germany next year.

The round-robin event, traditionally staged in early December, will be in Munich and will take place earlier (Oct. 29-Nov.4) to create a longer off-season for players.

Prize money will increase from $2-million to $3-million.

"This gives us an opportunity to shorten the calendar in a way that would have been really impossible to do had we kept (the event) in the United States with a tournament in the United States leading up to the Championships," tour CEO said. "It is really easier for the players to end up the season in Europe than going back yet again across the ocean to the United States."

McGuire also said the tour willadd seven tournaments next year and four established events will change sites.

DOWN AND OUT: Mary Pierce's shoulder injury Monday ended her Grand Slam season on a sour note.

Three months ago, she made an impressive resurgence, winning the. And she was playing well at Flushing Meadows, dropping one set en route to the fourth round, where she retired after one set to Anke Huber because of pain in her serving shoulder.

"It's quite disappointing because I just really was looking forward to playing here. Very eager," she said. "I felt like I was playing well."

Pierce, who has had shoulder problems periodically this season, said she plans to rest the shoulder and hopes to play again this season.

SMOOTH SAILING: Things seem to be falling' way. Sampras, who beat unseeded Hyung-Taik Lee on Monday to advance to the quarterfinals, is perhaps the biggest benefactor of the tournament's early round upsets, which have significantly opened his quarter of the draw.

If Sampras wins his quarterfinal against, he could reach the semifinals without facing a seeded player. And if the winner of Monday night's late match between ninth seed and seventh seed loses his quarterfinal match, Sampras could get to the final without encountering a seed.

Krajicek has a 6-3 career record against Sampras.

. . . SORT OF: Krajicek has a 6-3 career record against Sampras.

At the 1996 Wimbledon, where Krajicek won his only Grand Slam title to date, he defeated Sampras in the quarterfinals. He went on to beat Sampras three more times, twice at Stuttgart and at the 1999 Lipton, before Sampras solved him in Cincinnati last year.

"I've got to keep attacking him, because once you let him attack you and let him decide when he's going to come in and how the game is going to be played, then you're in big trouble," Krajicek said.

Sampras said the match will come down to return of serve.

- Times wires

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