Tue, Apr 21, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Lisicki makes breakthrough in Charleston

AFP , CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Sabine Lisicki returns a shot to Caroline Wozniacki during the final of the Family Circle Cup tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

German 16th seed Sabine Lisicki clinched her first career title on Sunday, with her big serve, high-tempo game giving her a 6-2, 6-4 win over Danish fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki.

Lisicki had knocked out Venus Williams in the third round and the 19-year-old proved it was no fluke with a deserved victory in the over her 18-year-old opponent.

The German had lost her only previous final, in Tashkent last year, and she showed some signs of nerves on Sunday as she tried to close out the final needing six match points before she could celebrate victory.

“I really couldn’t believe I won, because I didn’t use my first match points. When I finally won — I don’t know which match point it was, seventh, eighth, it felt like 30th — I was so happy,” Lisicki said.

“I’ve worked so hard the last couple of weeks and months, and it’s finally paying off,” she said. “I knew I had the game to beat those players, and now I think I’m more mature to win the whole tournament.”

Wozniacki, who needed nearly three hours to defeat top-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva in the semi-finals, looked like she was feeling the after-effects on Sunday.

“I wasn’t moving well today like I have been in other tournaments, but Sabine was playing really well, attacking and not making a lot of errors,” she said. “Sabine played really well. Congratulations to her.”

Lisicki is the lowest-ranked player to win the Charleston title.

■BARCELONA OPEN

AFP, MADRID

Roberta Vinci of Italy won the WTA Barcelona claycourt tournament on Sunday, defeating title-holder and sixth seed Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6-0, 6-4.

Vinci, 26 and ranked 61st in the world, needed barely an hour to defeat the 22-year-old Russian.

Vinci, who came back to beat compatriot Francesca Schiavone in the semis after losing the first set to love, was far superior to the 37th-ranked Russian.

It was her second title on the WTA circuit after a win in Bogota in 2007.

■MONTE CARLO MASTERS

AP, MONACO

Rafael Nadal became the first player to win five straight Monte Carlo Masters titles by beating Novak Djokovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 on Sunday.

Nadal extended his winning streak at Monte Carlo to 27 and won his 21st straight victory on clay since losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain in the second round of the Rome Masters last May.

Nobody has matched Nadal’s performance at the Monte Carlo tournament since tennis turned professional in 1968.

After Nadal took the first set, the momentum of Sunday’s match went Djokovic’s way after he dominated the second, winning all nine points at the net.

But Djokovic missed his chance at the beginning of the third set, wasting three break points in the first game.

Nadal broke Djokovic immediately for a 2-0 lead, but he was struggling to hold and dropped serve on his third break point in the third game to let Djokovic back in the match.

But the man from Majorca improved and won the next five games.

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