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Venus secures 43rd title

Published:Monday | March 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP):

Venus Williams came from a set down to defend her Mexican Open title, while David Ferrer defeated good friend and fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero to end his 14-match winning streak Saturday.

Williams beat Polona Hercog 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 for her second consecutive title - this one on clay and another a week ago on hard courts in Dubai.

The win pushed Williams' career total to 43 WTA championships, the most by an active player. Hercog was appearing in her first WTA final.

Williams started slowly and got into trouble with an erratic serve and groundstrokes that were often long. Hercog showed poise in winning the first set and seldom missed a shot.

The American gained her composure in the second set and began to wear down the 19-year-old, hitting the corners more often and opening the court.

"I played such a good opponent," Williams said. "In the first set she did not miss one shot and I had to find a way to get into the match."

Huge sombrero

As she did when she won last year, Williams donned a huge sombrero - known as a "charro," the type worn by Mexico Mariachi musicians - and turned to salute the crowd.

"I would love to come next year," she said. "I have to make it three, a hat-trick. I think I can do it. It's not an easy tournament to win, as you can see this year."

It was Williams' first tournament of the season on clay and she was pushed to three sets in the last three matches by lower rated opponents.

Ferrer lost to Ferrero at the Copa Telmex last week in Buenos Aires, but got a some revenge with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory in Acapulco. Ferrero's winning streak had included ATP titles in his last two tournaments, in Brazil and Argentina.

Ferrero saw his winning streak stopped just short of his personal record. In 2002, he won 16 straight matches to help propel him to the world No. 1 ranking in 2003.