Lisicki wins Aegon Classic final
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP)
Sabine Lisicki, who slipped outside the world's top 200 last year after seven weeks on crutches, beat fourth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2 to win the Aegon Classic on Monday.
The 21-year-old German, whose only previous tour victory was in Charleston in 2007, won after the final had been postponed from Sunday due to rain.
Lisicki showed how well she has recovered from an ankle injury and how ideally her game is suited to grass. She broke her opponent in the fourth game and from there, her booming serve and fierce groundstrokes kept her in control.
Monday's victory in the grass-court event comes a week before the start of Wimbledon, where Lisicki reached the quarterfinals in 2009. It also confirmed the wisdom of the Wimbledon committee, which decided Sunday to give Lisicki one of two remaining wild cards for the championships.
''I am in disbelief,'' Lisicki said. ''I am shaking. It's an amazing week. At the start of it, I never thought I would be standing here today. The comeback from injury was so difficult. It means so much to me.''
The German regained her composure after gently being asked not to drip tears into the Maude Watson trophy, an elegant antique silver bowl.
''There were so many doubters, and so much stuff coming from the sidelines that I wouldn't get there,'' she said of her recovery. ''So I had this tunnel vision about getting back. I always thought I would.''
Hantuchova, who beat former top-ranked player Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals, had been bothered by a shoulder injury, which may have affected her serve.
Lisicki was on the verge of the top 20 two years ago before getting hurt.
''If I hadn't been given the wild card, I would have been playing the qualifying tomorrow and it will be very helpful to be able to rest for a couple of days instead,'' she said. ''But I don't want to put pressure on myself.''