Rybarikova overcomes nerves to claim first title

Magdalena Rybarikova won her first career title after defeating Li Na in straight sets in the Aegon Classic final at Edgbaston yesterday. The Slovakian 20-year-old, ranked 58th in the world, had never reached a WTA final before but made short work of her Chinese opponent, wrapping up a 6-0, 7-6 victory in 73 minutes.

Li, the fourth seed, had overcome the former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova in the semi-final but could not even take a game in the opening set against Rybarikova, who recorded her second 6-0 scoreline in successive matches.

The second set was a different story, with both players holding serve through to a tie-break. But from there Rybarikova proved too strong again and won comfortably to secure the title. Rybarikova said: "I won the first set so easily but the second was so tough as she started to play so much better. I was very nervous in the tie-break but she looked more nervous than me, so that helped me concentrate even harder."

Victory will take Rybarikova from 58th in the world rankings to a career high of 42nd when they are updated today. "Winning today is the best feeling of my career so far," she said. "It is unbelievable, just like a dream. I was so happy that she [Li] beat Sharapova as she is such a great player and I am not sure I could have beat her today."

The top seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and the American Liezel Huber successfully defended their doubles title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Americans Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.

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