Venus Williams cruised to an easy victory in the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel by downing Flavia Pennetta 6-1, 6-2. The top-seeded Williams has back-to-back titles on her resume, having won her 40th WTA championship last weekend in Dubai and a 10-match winning streak. She made short work of the second-seeded Pennetta, topping her Italian rival in little more than an hour to capture the US$37,000 (Dh135,905) top prize.
Williams won 90 per cent of her first-serve points (26-of-29) and broke Pennetta four times in six tries. Williams faced one break point and saved it. She also fired five aces, with only one in reply from her opponent. Pennetta, 27, was the defending champion and this year marked the sixth consecutive season she appeared in the championship match. She won her first title here in 2005 and was the runner-up in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
The Italian, who has two career victories against a top-five player, has not won on the WTA Tour since claiming her sixth career title at this red-clay event last year. In the men's event, Nicolas Almagro defended his title by beating Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4. Almagro managed to break Monfils three times while losing his serve only once in the match. Both players were strong on the first serve, winning better than 75 per cent of their points. Almagro capitalised on Monfils' second offering, winning 15-of-24 points.
The fourth-seeded Spaniard becomes the first back-to-back winner since the tournament moved to Acapulco from Mexico City in 2001. The second-seeded Monfils, the first Frenchman to reach the final in the 17-year history of the tournament, held a 2-1 edge over Almagro in their all-time series entering the match, including a third-round victory at the Australian Open earlier this year. But Almagro is an accomplished clay court player and won the only previous encounter between the players on this surface. Additionally, all five of Almagro's titles - including two last season - have been on clay.
Both players were appearing in their seventh ATP final and their first of the season. Meanwhile, the top seed Mardy Fish booked his place in the final of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, Florida, with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Jeremy Chardy of France. The American fired nine aces with only one in reply, while holding 80 per cent of his serves and saving two of the three break points faced.
The 21st-ranked Fish has not won a championship since claiming his second career title at Houston in April 2006. In the final, Fish will face off with the Russian qualifier Evgeny Korolev, who defeated Belgium's Christophe Rochus 6-1, 7-5 in a battle of players seeking their first ATP title. Korolev, 21, won 76 per cent of his first-service points while shooting seven aces. Korolev is the second qualifier in as many years to reach the final here. Last year, Japan's Kei Nishikori came through qualifying to win the event with a three-set triumph over James Blake in the final.