Tennis: McGrath topples top seeds

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The Independent Online
Meredith McGrath, seeded 10th, achieved the rare feat of beating the top three seeds on her way to winning the DFS Classic at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham yesterday.

The 25-year-old American defeated the French second-seed Nathalie Tauziat, 2-6 6-4 6-4, after two hours and six minutes of error-strewn tennis in a final that fell below expectations.

Earlier in the week, McGrath, ranked 53rd in the world, had beaten Natasha Zvereva of Belarus, the third seed, 6-1 6-0, in the third round and then the top seed Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, 3-6 6-3 6-4, in the semi-finals.

It was only the Swiss-based McGrath's third title on the WTA tour, having previously won tournaments at Oklahoma City and, more importantly, on grass at the pre-Wimbledon event at Eastbourne two years ago.

Tauziat, who won at Eastbourne last year, had her only chance of victory when she had three break points for 4-2 in the second set. However, McGrath held on, broke in the next game and served out the set at 6-4.

Five successive breaks in the final set, when both had trouble putting their first serves in and therefore could not get in to the net, left McGrath leading 5-4, and she went to match point with a service winner before Tauziat struck a backhand into the net to end the contest.