Kirilenko Wins a Thriller
What a final that was! Two hours and 37 minutes of fluctuating fortunes, which saw Maria Kirilenko defeat Sabine Lisicki 5-7 6-1 7-6 (1) to win the PTT Pattaya Open.
It was the second-seeded Russian’s first title since 2008. Since that victory in Seoul she has lost finals in Barcelona, Moscow and New Haven, and the 2012 PTT Pattaya Open. Was she relieved? You bet, especially as Lisicki served for the match at 6-5 in the third set. She would have been desperately frustrated too, because she had led 5-2 and served for the match herself at 5-3.
Most of the excitement took place after the first set. Once she claimed that by breaking serve at 6-5, fifth-seeded Lisicki had the chance to solidify her advantage as she held three break points to lead 2-0 in the second set. It not only didn’t happen, but the German lost that game and the next eight as Kirilenko built a 3-0 lead in the final set.
Then it got really interesting. Kirilenko held two match points on her opponent’s serve at 5-2, and although Lisicki held serve Kirilenko then served for the match at 5-3. And was broken. Lisicki pulled it back to 5-5 and then broke Kirilenko’s serve again so that she was serving for the match at 6-5. She also failed to serve it out, dropping her serve to love. Gaining confidence from that, Kirilenko then played a superb tiebreak, dropping just one point.
“I had a birthday before the tournament started and had a cake in my room with some candles, and I made a wish,” said Kirilenko. “The wish was to win this tournament and the wish came true.
“I was a little disappointed in the third set. I was leading and everything was good and I made a return that was just out. If it was in I could win it 6-2, but after that miss she was serving so well afterwards. Then somehow I returned her serves (at 6-5) and it was a tiebreak and then I started to feel I can win it.”