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Serena is booed in victory

Serena Williams was booed through most of the match, and when she hugged her father and sister after her victory against Kim Clijsters in Saturday's women's final in the Masters Series tournament.

Williams, given a pass to the title match when sister Venus withdrew from their semifinal two days earlier, lost the first three games of the match to Clijsters. But she regained her composure and went on to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Almost overshadowed, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi each won their semifinals to move into the men's championship match today. Sampras beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov 7-5, 6-4 and Agassi defeated Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Many of the 16,000 fans began booing as soon as Williams took the court, then booed again when she walked to her father and sister at the end of the match.

"I would like to thank my father for giving me strength. You guys were a little tough on me today," Serena said as she accepted the $330,000 winner's check. "I want to thank those who supported me, and if you didn't, I love you guys anyway."

Serena Williams hadn't played since Wednesday, gaining a berth in the title match when Venus withdrew from their semifinal at the last minute Thursday evening because of tendinitis in her right knee. The withdrawal disappointed the 11,000 fans who showed up for the match.

Venus had shown no sign of the ailment while winning matches leading up to the semifinals. Venus and a women's tour trainer said she was in pain, however, and unable to play against her sister.

Venus, ranked No. 3, and Serena, No. 10, rarely play in the same tournaments except for the four Grand Slams. Venus, 20, holds a 4-1 edge on Serena, 19.

Sounding more like a boxing crowd than a tennis gathering, the fans' booing built to a crescendo when Serena was introduced.

In Sampras' victory, his game was ragged at times, brilliant at others. He came from behind to win five consecutive games in both sets.

Sampras had 10 aces to Kafelnikov's two in making it to the championship match of a tournament he first won at age 22 in 1994.

Agassi overcome 46 unforced errors to beat Hewitt, who made 26. The 30-year-old Agassi, 10 years older than Hewitt, outlasted him by hammering groundstrokes just inside the lines.

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