Maleeva wins first title in four years

Former world No 4 Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria lifted her first WTA title in four years today, defeating Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the final of the $112,500 Volvo Women's Open in Pattaya, Thailand.

Former world No 4 Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria lifted her first WTA title in four years today, defeating Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the final of the $112,500 Volvo Women's Open in Pattaya, Thailand.

Maleeva, aged 24, who is campaigning to rejoin the tennis elite after nearly two years sidelined by injuries, succumbed to the fourth-seeded Kremer's aggressive groundstrokes in the first set, but then cruised to victory in one hour 35 minutes.

"This is so special to me as it is my first title after many injuries. It is unbelievable that at 24 I'm still able to come back and win a tournament," said Maleeva.

It was Maleeva's eighth straight win in Pattaya since the qualifying round last week. It was her sixth career title. The last was in Chicago in 1995.

The Bulgarian, who is number 131 in the world, picked up the winner's purse of $16,000 and is set to return to the top 100 when the WTA ranking is updated later this week.

After losing the opening set, Maleeva unleashed a mixture of top-spins, lobs and drop shots to force errors from Kremer, breaking her serve to love twice to take the second set 6-1.

In the third, Kremer struggled to get her first serve in while Maleeva had little problem holding her own service games, taking it 6-2.

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