Paszek rallies past Kerber for Eastbourne title
Eastbourne, England (Sports Network) - Tamira Paszek of Austria rallied for a three-set victory over Germany's Angelique Kerber to capture the title at the Aegon International.
Paszek notched a 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 victory in the final Wimbledon tune-up, fighting off five match points and winning the last four games to earn her third career WTA title. She last won two years ago in Quebec City and improved to 3-1 all-time in finals.
"To be honest, I didn't realize it was match point or I was 5-3 down," said Paszek. "I was just enjoying being on the court, enjoying the atmosphere with this amazing crowd. I don't know what kept me going, how I kept going. I was dead tired in the third set. I could hardly move. I just gave all I had left, and it was just enough."
The 59th-ranked Paszek was suffering through a dismal 2012 season entering this tournament. She had a match record of just 2-10, but had a strong week with wins over Daniela Hantuchova, 2010 Wimbledon semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova and defending Eastbourne champion Marion Bartoli before taking out the fifth-seeded Kerber.
"First of all it's special to win a title on grass, one of my favorite surfaces, and secondly in front of the family," Paszek added. "My godparents live here, and my dad came in from London this morning, which was a surprise for me. And people I've known since I'm like two years old. My mom and brother watched on TV."
Paszek had her best Grand Slam effort last year at Wimbledon with a surprising run to the quarterfinals. She'll have a tough opener at the All England Club next week with a first-round match against seventh-seeded Caroline Wozniacki.
Kerber, in a breakout year, was appearing in her first grass-court final on Saturday and was coming off a quarterfinal appearance at the French Open earlier this month. She earned her WTA-leading 39th match win of the season on Friday in the semifinals and was bidding for a third career title. Her first two came earlier this year, first beating Bartoli for the Paris Indoors crown in February and taking down Wozniacki for the Copenhagen title in April.
"Now I'm ready for Wimbledon," said Kerber. "Okay I lost today, but still I was in the final. And it was a good match. I did everything I could today, she was just better."
The eighth-ranked German has never fared well in four previous visits to Wimbledon, losing in the first round three times with a third-round appearance in 2010. Czech veteran Lucie Hradecka awaits in the first round next week.
Saturday marked the first meeting between Paszek and Kerber.
Paszek collected a first prize of $107,000 for her first premier event title.
06/23 13:12:22 ET