Mon, Jun 20, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Bartoli, Seppi take Eastbourne honors in frantic final day

AFP, EASTBOURNE, United Kingdom

Marion Bartoli of France won the first grasscourt title of her career Saturday, defeating Czech Petra Kvitova 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in the Eastbourne final, having played two matches in one day.

Bartoli now heads into Wimbledon, which starts today, with supreme confidence after earning victory in blowy conditions and the threat of rain in 2 hours, 19 minutes.

The men’s title was decided in dramatic fashion as light faded in the evening after a racquet smash, a brief rain interruption and finally an injury withdrawal three points form the potential end. Clay-bred Italian Andreas Seppi came up the winner for his first career title as he defeated injured Serb third seed Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 5-3.

Tipsarevic quit after falling over following a rain delay and hobbling for a few points, before the retirement.

Bartoli, the world No. 9, who was the Wimbledon runner-up in 2007, losing to Serena Williams, saved seven of 10 break points, while breaking Kvitova on five occasions.

Her title triumph came only hours after Bartoli had played a rain-delayed semi-final held over from Friday, thrashing Australia’s Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-1.

“It’s great to come up with a win, but it was a huge challenge again today,” Bartoli said. “I was not used to playing matches on the same day. It was an entertaining final. Petra was hitting the ball very hard and very deep, so she had all the credit for coming back. Then at the end it was just fighting and trying to find a way to win.”

Bartoli needed to struggle for her final victory, sweeping the last five games of the opening set, but losing a lead in the second and missing a chance to serve it out on her first opportunity while leading 5-4 in the third.

However, the persistent sixth seed broke the Czech in the next game and claimed the win one game on off the the first of two match points. She had also defeated Kvitova in their only other meeting in 2008 indoors.

“Now I have to be focused on Wimbledon,” Kvitova said. “I’m happy that I played many matches here and it was a lot of practice for Wimbledon.”

Kvitova won her semi-final earlier in the day when Slovak opponent Daniela Hantuchova retired with an abdominal injury, trailing 7-6 (11/9), 4-2 after 90 minutes.

Bartoli lifted the sixth title of her career after losing finals this season at Indian Wells to world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and at Strasbourg on clay to German Andrea Petkovic.

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