Dementieva defaulted in second set

Updated: April 8, 2004, 1:16 AM ET
Associated Press

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- Second seed Serena Williams scored a crushing win while title holder Elena Dementieva was forced to retire from her second-round match at the $585,000 Amelia Island WTA championship in Florida on Wednesday.

Former world number one Williams, playing in only her second tournament of the year, defeated former Amelia Island winner Mary Pierce of France 6-3 6-1.

Fifth seed Dementieva was trailing Croatia's Jelena Kostanic 7-6 1-0 when a hip strain forced the Russian to retire.

"I'm really disappointed, especially because I won my first (WTA) title here and this tournament is very special for me," Dementieva told reporters.

"I first hurt it in Miami (last week). That was a long tournament for me, which made it tough. During my match today, it just got worse and I felt that I couldn't finish the match."

Williams, looking for her first title on clay since her triumph at the 2002 French Open, now meets Croatia's Karolina Sprem, who put out 15th seed Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria 6-2 6-4.

The American missed eight months due to knee surgery but then beat Dementieva in the final of her comeback event in Miami.

"I just thought I was going to come back and hopefully win at least a few matches," Williams said.

Third seed Amelie Mauresmo of France, playing for the first time in more than two months following a back injury, recorded a 6-0 6-3 victory over Japan's Akiko Morigami.

Sixteenth seed Conchita Martinez moved within one win of becoming only the seventh player in the Open Era to reach 700 victories when she downed fellow Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-4.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press