WTA Paris, Pattaya City round-up: Kirilenko and Barthel win titles

Maria Kirilenko
Maria Kirilenko won the Pattaya City title, her first since 2008, meanwhile Mona Barthel claimed her first Premier title with victory in Paris.  Kirilenko survived Sabine Lisicki in a epic final that displayed all the qualities of a peak WTA match as both seem adamant in giving the match to the opposing player.  After splitting sets, Kirilenko took advantage of Lisicki’s mid-match walkabout to take a 5-2 final set lead.  She had two match points, which were both saved well by Lisicki, but Kirilenko threw in an edgy service game at 5-3 as she failed to serve it out.  
Lisicki won the next couple of games and had her own chances to serve for the match at 6-5, but was promptly broken to love.  Kirilenko never looked back from there as she wrapped up a 5-7 6-1 7-6(1) victory.  I must admit I do not warm to Kirilenko in the slightest, but props to her for another consistent week.  This was an important tournament for Lisicki and I hope she can build on it and try and get her seeding back for the next Grand Slam at Roland Garros.

In Paris, Barthel struggled to close both sets out but finally took care of Sara Errani to post a 7-5 7-6(4) win.  Barthel hit a crazy 53 winners (to 50 unforced errors) and was certainly good value for the win.  She will go to a new career high of number 28 tomorrow and hopefully, will keep rising.  She was playing like this at the beginning of 2012, but petered out throughout the season so it will be important for her to try and maintain this form because if she can keep her focus and mentally on top of things, her game is easily worthy of making the top 10.

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