Mona Barthel claimed her first Premier title at the Open GDF SUEZ in Paris, beating top seed Sara Errani in the final, while on the other side of the globe Maria Kirilenko celebrated her first title since 2008, surviving Sabine Lisicki in an epic PTT Pattaya Open final.
Unseeded at the tournament, Barthel eliminated fifth seed Roberta Vinci in the second round, third seed Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals, and in the last match the German was ahead in each set, but always struggled to close them out as Errani clawed back, from 3-5 to 5-5 in the first and from 2-5 to 5-5 in the second, before succumbing 7-5 7-6(4).
Barthel is projected to rise to a new career-high ranking of No.28. Here’s what Errani said of her opponent, who hit 53 winners (50 unforced errors) to her 16 winners (18 unforced errors):
Mona serves so well, plays so well from the baseline and physically moves so well – I just couldn’t beat her today.
In doubles, however, Errani had a reason to celebrate. As part of the No.1-seeded doubles team, with Roberta Vinci she routed No.2 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber in the final 6-1 6-1.
Meanwhile in Thailand, Maria Kirilenko improved on her last year’s performance at the PTT Pattaya Open. Playing the 2012 final against Daniela Hantuchova, Kirilenko lost after three hours and 14 minutes, but this time, after multiple swings in the match, the second-seeded Kirilenko went all the way against fifth seed Sabine Lisicki for a 5-7 6-1 7-6(1) victory. Initially, Lisicki led 7-5 1-0, almost 7-5 2-0, before Kirilenko won 11 of the next 13 games and earned two match points, but Lisicki stole the momentum and won four straight games to lead again, 6-5 in the third set. Kirilenko then broke her at love and decisively won the tiebreak. Total match time: two hours and 37 minutes. (photos: Ralf Reinecke)