Rybarikova overcomes nerves to claim first title

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The Independent Online

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.