Sharapova wins teen title fight

Maria Sharapova warmed up for Wimbledon by winning the DFS Classic in Edgbaston yesterday against fellow teenager Tatiana Golovin.

Maria Sharapova warmed up for Wimbledon by winning the DFS Classic in Edgbaston yesterday against fellow teenager Tatiana Golovin.

The 17-year-old Russian, who reached the semi-finals here unseeded last year, lifted her third WTA Tour singles title as she came from behind to beat her 16-year-old French opponent 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 at Edgbaston.

Only two women's finals in the 36 years of the Open era have contained younger participants. The record was established in San Diego in 1991 when a 15-year-old, Jennifer Capriati, beat a 17-year-old, Monica Seles.

Golovin, fresh from victory in the mixed doubles of the French Open, climbed to the fringes of the world's top 50 with her gallant run in Birmingham, but fell just short of securing her first singles title.

The two youngsters slugged it out from the back of the court in a match which lasted 16 minutes short of two hours under a hot sun.

Golovin began in dominant fashion, achieving the only break of the first set, but once Sharapova got the measure of her opponent's powerful serve, fortunes began to swing irreversibly in the Russian's favour.

The French player called for the trainer after being broken for the second time in the deciding set and, although she battled on, failed to win another game, surrendering tamely.

Her fellow Frenchwoman Amélie Mauresmo has pulled out of Eastbourne while Martina Navratilova may decide not to accept a Wimbledon wild card, having failed to qualify for Eastbourne.

The world No 1 and defending champion Roger Federer, of Switzerland, crushed the sixth-seeded Mardy Fish, of the United States, 6-0, 6-3 in the final of the Halle Open in Vienna.

Fish never got into the match as the Wimbledon and Australian Open champion broke the tall American three times in the first set and once in the second to extend his winning streak on grass to 17 matches.

Federer's display sent a warning to rivals hoping to take his Wimbledon crown when the event begins a week today. Federer had beaten Fish in all three of their previous matches, although Fish was the only player to take a set off Federer at Wimbledon last year.

Marat Safin is rated doubtful for Wimbledon after he pulled out of this week's Ordina Open in the Netherlands with a hand injury.

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