(Updates after men’s final)
June 22 (Reuters) - Strong winds played havoc with her skirt and brought her a warning for time-wasting but Elena Vesnina rose above the problems to win her second WTA Tour title on the grass of Eastbourne on Saturday, beating American qualifier Jamie Hampton 6-2 6-1.
Spain’s Feliciano Lopez won the men’s title, beating second seed Gilles Simon 7-6(2) 6-7(5) 6-0 in a dress rehearsal for their first-round meeting at Wimbledon next week.
The Devonshire Park courts at the southern English seaside resort, always known for windy conditions, proved especially tricky for finals day and Vesnina was warned for taking too long to serve early in the second set as she tried to stop her skirt flapping.
When the Russian complained, umpire Mariana Alves told her: “I understand, but we can’t wait forever.”
Afterwards, Vesnina was all smiles, saying her first tour win, in Hobart in January, had come in similar conditions.
“Before I hated to play in the wind, I was struggling so much, but now I just love it,” she told a courtside interviewer.
The 36th-ranked Vesnina, who won the French Open doubles title with Ekaterina Makarova this month, picked up a cheque for $117,000 for the Aegon International win which she said gave her “a lot of confidence and positive emotions” for Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.
Left-hander Lopez also received a warning for taking too much time to serve at the start of the second set as he waited, puffing out his bearded cheeks in frustration, for the wind to subside.
The unseeded Lopez, whose early season was disrupted by injuries, raced 3-0 ahead in the deciding set. Simon saved five breakpoints in game four before putting a forehand in the net to concede another break and spent the rest of the match berating himself loudly.
Luck, too, was against the Frenchman and after saving two championship points in the sixth game he slipped on the grass as he raced in to try to save a third.
Lopez raised a laugh when he eagerly grabbed the winner’s trophy from the presentation table before realising that he should wait for the formal handover and putting it back with an embarrassed smile.
“I hope we can make a better show at Wimbledon,” he said in an on-court interview. “Today conditions were so tough and we did our best but it was so windy.” (Writing by Clare Fallon; Editing by Toby Davis)