Oudin claims first Tour title with victory over Jankovic
American Melanie Oudin claimed her first WTA Tour title by winning the AEGON Classic in Birmingham yesterday.
Oudin comfortably saw off Jelena Jankovic 6-4 6-2 in a final which was held over from Sunday as tournament organisers battled with a disrupted schedule due to inclement weather.
Both women had to win two matches on Sunday to reach the title match, and 20-year-old Oudin emerged the fresher against the 27-year-old former world No 1 from Serbia.
Although Jankovic cancelled out an early break, a sloppy game handed the initiative back to Oudin and she closed out the opening set before taking a 2-0 lead in the second.
Jankovic rarely threatened a comeback as Oudin, who has received a wild card for Wimbledon after dropping to 208th in the world rankings from a high of 31st, eased over the line in one hour and 35 minutes.
Oudin had navigated qualifying just to take her place in the Edgbaston field, and eight matches later she had the Maud Watson trophy in her grasp.
She said: “This was a really great tournament for me and I’m definitely looking forward to coming back.
“I think it really helped me playing qualifying here. I love playing on grass. It was a great, great week for me and I definitely feel like I got better and better with each match.”
Oudin reached the fourth round at Wimbledon three years ago and looked a player poised to break through to the world’s top 20 before her form dipped drastically. She said yesterday after a win which pushes her close to a double-figure ranking: “I think I’m a lot more mature now and a lot smarter.
“I’ve learned a lot about the game of tennis, about my game and how I want to play, what I’m capable of. I’ve learned to play within myself, not try to do more than I can.”
Beaten Jankovic said: “To be in the final is always great. Obviously I’m disappointed to lose in the final but at the same time it’s a good result for me right now. It’s just the beginning and it’s good for my confidence.”
In Den Bosch meanwhile, US Open champion Sam Stosur lost in the opening round of the Unicef Open yesterday, falling 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 to Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
Flipkens served nine aces while the top-seeded Stosur double-faulted seven times at the grass-court warm-up for Wimbledon. Earlier, Kim Clijsters returned from a three-month hip injury to beat fifth-seeded Romina Oprandi of Switzerland 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3.
At Eastbourne, Jamie Baker reached the second round of the AEGON International with an impressive victory over American Donald Young.
Baker saw off the world No 50 6-1 6-4 and will next face either Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber or Go Soeda of Japan.
“That’s my best win in terms of ranking, no doubt about that,” said Baker. “My next goal is to get to 150. If I can, ranked 200, beat a guy who’s in the top 50, there’s no reason why I can’t, a step at a time [reach the top 50].”
James Ward could not match Baker’s exploits after losing in three sets to Marinko Matosevic. The Londoner was beaten by Kevin Anderson at Queen’s last week and although he took the first set yesterday, the Australian world No 82 hit back to triumph 4-6 6-1 6-4.
In the women’s draw, meanwhile, Anne Keothavong was swept aside by eighth seed Daniela Hantuchova. The British No 1 was broken four times en route to a 6-2 6-3 loss.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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