Pierce, Mauresmo in final

Los Angeles, November 13:

Mary Pierce’s one-two punch of big serves followed by hard groundstrokes knocked out fellow heavy hitter Lindsay Davenport. Pierce edged the top-ranked Davenport 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) in a semi-final matchup of the pro tour’s oldest elite players in the WTA Championships.

Pierce is undefeated in four matches at the season-ending event, including a three-set win over No 2 Kim Clijsters in the round-robin portion.

The 30-year-old Frenchwoman advanced to final against countrywoman Amelie Mauresmo, who beat mistake-prone defending champion Maria Sharapova 7-6 (1), 6-3.

No French player has ever won the championships, although Pierce was runner-up in 1997 and Mauresmo finished second in 2003. Pierce had 10 aces in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 round-robin win over Mauresmo.

Sharapova appeared listless against Mauresmo, falling to 4-7 in semi-finals this year. She hasn’t reac-hed a final since June when she won a Wimbledon warmup at Birmingham.