Tue, Feb 14, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Germany’s Kerber pummels France’s Bartoli in Paris final

AP, PARIS

Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts in her Paris Open tennis tournament final against Marion Bartoli of France in Paris, France, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Angelique Kerber of Germany won her first WTA title on Sunday by overpowering second-seeded Marion Bartoli 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 6-3 in the Open GDF Suez final.

Kerber became the first German to win the Paris tournament since Steffi Graf in 1995, clinching victory with a forehand winner.

“I knew I had nothing to lose,” Kerber said. “She was the favorite today.”

After a first set with four service breaks, Kerber capitalized on an unforced error from Bartoli to take a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker. She clinched the opening set when the Frenchwoman’s backhand sailed long.

Kerber then whipped a forehand crosscourt winner to break for a 2-0 lead in the next set, but the US Open semi-finalist failed to serve out the match at 5-3, as Bartoli won five straight games to even the match with an ace.

“I got a little bit nervous,” Kerber said about being 5-2 up in the second set.

Kerber jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the final set. Bartoli saved four match points at 5-2, but Kerber converted her fifth match point in the next game.

“I made a few tactical mistakes in the beginning of the third set that cost me,” Bartoli said. “I lost the match in those first four games.”

Kerber beat top-10 players for the first time in her career last week. As well as edging the seventh-ranked Bartoli, she also ousted the third-ranked Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals on Friday.

“That means a lot to me,” Kerber said. “Now I believe in me and I know that I can play with them.”

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