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Koukalova clinches first title

June 19, 2005

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DEN BOSCH (Netherlands), June 18: Czech Klara Koukalova recovered from a poor start to beat compatriot Lucie Safarova 3-6 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Ordina Open on Saturday, claiming her first WTA Tour title.

Eighth seed Koukalova, 23, who had lost all five of her previous finals, was outplayed at the start with Safarova leading by a set and a break. But she hit back to clinch victory on her ninth match point.

After dropping serve at the start of the second set, Koukalova, ranked 41 in the world, recovered some confidence and the mistakes began to flow from the less experienced 18-year-old Safarova.

Koukalova won six games out of seven to take the second set and after breaking in the fourth game of the decider.

CLIJSTERS WINS

EASTBOURNE: Former world number one Kim Clijsters completed a happy comeback from injury when she beat Russian qualifier Vera Douchevina 7-5 6-0 in the final of the Eastbourne WTA tournament on Saturday.

Belgian Clijsters, who missed most of last year with a wrist problem and then suffered a knee injury soon after her first comeback in March, picked up a prize of $93,000 in the Wimbledon warm-up.

The first set, played in fierce sunshine, was a battle with five breaks of serve. When Clijsters prevailed, Douchevina seemed to lose heart.

MAIDEN CROWN

NOTTINGHAM: Teenager Richard Gasquet of France sounded a Wimbledon warning onSaturday by cruising to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Max Mirnyi of Belarus in the final of the Nottingham Open.

On the day of his 19th birthday, Gasquet was in control from the outset against an opponent who was troubled by a hand injury which needed courtside treatment during the match which lasted just 63 minutes.

It was the first senior trophy of fourth-seeded Gasquet’s short career and follows a good run at Queens last week when he made it through to the quarterfinals.

—Agencies