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Bondarenko captures DFS Classic

Kateryna Bondarenko
Bondarenko was pushed all the way by Wickmayer

Kateryna Bondarenko won her first WTA Tour title after an exciting duel with Belgian teenager Yanina Wickmayer in the DFS Classic final in Birmingham.

The 21-year-old 12th seed from Ukraine required two tie-breaks to seal a 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 7-6 (7-4) win over Wickmayer in a match lasting nearly three hours.

Belgian number one Wickmayer, 18, battled all the way despite picking up a second set knee injury.

But Bondarenko eventually broke her opponent in the final tie-break.

"It feels great, finally I have my own title," said Bondarenko.

"I never expected it to be on grass. It was a really tough match. I think we both played really well. Maybe I got lucky in the tie-break."

Wickmayer, dubbed the 'Belgian Sharapova', tried to win as many points as possible through her big serve but a tally of nine double faults proved costly.

Former Wimbledon junior champion Bondarenko looked more secure on her own serve, with Wickmayer having to save three break points in the fifth game of the first set.

With neither player managing to break serve, the first set went to a tie-break which Wickmayer eventually lost 9-7 after an hour's play.

The Belgian, in her first final, persisted following treatment to her troublesome right knee and twice broke her opponent to level the match.

The third set was similarly tight, with four of the opening six games going against serve, before both players regained their touch to force another tie-break.

Wickmayer put a forehand into the net on match point and Bondarenko thus claimed her maiden tour win.

see also
Wimbledon build-up photos
13 Jun 08 |  Tennis

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