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Yanina Wickmayer hails Auckland Open title her greatest

Yanina Wickmayer
Wickmayer reached the US Open semi-finals in 2009

Yanina Wickmayer captured the Auckland Classic title with a 6-3 6-2 win over top seed Flavia Pennetta and declared the victory the greatest of her career.

The 20-year-old entered the draw after a court overturned a year's ban imposed by the Belgian doping authority.

"This week will stay in my heart and my soul for the rest of my life," she said. "It's the most important one, hopefully there will be many more."

Wickmayer will now attempt to qualify for this month's Australian Open.

The ban was issued after Wickmayer failed to report her whereabouts on three occasions, contravening world doping regulations.

The World Anti-Doping Agency campaigned for the ban to be increased to two years but a Belgian court instead suspended it.

Wickmayer, the world number 16, who had previous WTA title wins at Estoril and Linz in 2009, said: "When I came here the week before I wasn't feeling well.


"My back was hurting and mentally I didn't feel very well. So I just tried to focus on other things and relax and enjoy being at a tournament again.

"Then my first match came on and I started to play really well... and by taking it match-by-match it all helped me stay strong and mentally prepared for the next matches."

The Belgian admitted that having to play in the qualifying rounds for the Australian Open was not something she would have chosen, particularly having just beaten the world number 12.

"It is for sure not the best way to go into a grand slam if you know you can be 16th seed," Wickmayer said.

"I can go there and do what I did this week - to produce some good tennis and have some good matches and let's hope I make the main draw and continue my level."

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