Tennis-Bondarenko captures maiden title in Birmingham

LONDON, June 15 Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:42pm BST

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LONDON, June 15 (Reuters) - Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko won her first WTA Tour title when she squeezed past Belgian teenager Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 3-6 7-6 in the final of the Edgbaston Classic on Sunday.

Wickmayer, who injured her knee in the second set, battled for almost three hours before a forehand error on match point cost her the match.

"It feels great. I finally have my own title," a jubilant Bondarenko, the 12th seed, was quoted as saying on the tournament's Web site (www.lta.org.uk).

"I never expected it to be on grass. It was a really tough match. I think we both played really well. I just got lucky in the tiebreak."

Wickmayer, who has taken over the mantle as Belgian number one following the surprise retirement of Justine Henin last month, blamed her defeat on her lack of experience but hoped her injury would not ruin the rest of her grasscourt season.

"She played better in the tiebreaks, she's older and she has more experience," said the 18-year-old.

"I'm not a quitter but I am in a lot of pain. I've never hurt my knee before so I have no idea what's wrong with it. I just know it hurts." (Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Miles Evans)

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