EASTBOURNE, England (Reuters) - Unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek saved five match points and overcame a leg injury to beat German fifth seed Angelique Kerber 5-7 6-3 7-5 and win the Eastbourne International tournament on Saturday.
Andy Roddick enjoyed a far less dramatic day, claiming the men’s title with a swift 6-3 6-2 victory over 2011 champion Andreas Seppi of Italy, to make up for the disappointment of a first-round defeat at Queen’s Club 10 days ago.
Paszek, the world number 59, was a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon last year but had never won a grasscourt title until Saturday when she put up a fierce fight against the left-handed Kerber.
The German had five match points at 5-3 in the deciding set but Paszek, who had problems with her right leg after slipping in the seventh game, saved them all, helped by some unforced errors from Kerber.
Paszek, 21, took a medical time-out to have her right ankle strapped and called the trainer again to massage her calf during a changeover before clinching the title on her third match point.
The Austrian, who will face Denmark’s former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the first round at Wimbledon next week, sank to her knees and kissed the grass at Devonshire Park.
“I was that tired in the third set I could hardly move,” Paszek told a news conference. “I just gave all I had left and it just was enough.”
The early games were accompanied by chants from a delegation of Dutch dockers, standing outside a gate close to Centre Court, who were claiming that insurance company Aegon, the principal tournament sponsor, had mishandled their pension fund.
However, the notorious Eastbourne winds carried away their cries before the men were shepherded off by security staff.
The women’s final lasted two hours 45 minutes but American Roddick, who had a spell as world number one in 2003, needed only one hour 12 minutes to thrash the third-seeded Seppi as clouds gathered over the seaside town.
The 29-year-old Roddick, given a wild card into the tournament and appearing in his first final for 16 months, was broken by Seppi in the opening game but then turned the tables and took complete control of the match.
“I think I served 90 percent in the second set which is a pretty good number, especially given the conditions,” said Roddick, who has won at least one title every year for 12 years, a record among active players that he shares with Roger Federer.
“I went from a six-match losing streak to all of a sudden winning a tournament - it is a 180-degree turnaround,” added the American, three times a runner-up at Wimbledon. “I am thankful that it went my way this week.”
Editing by Alison Wildey and Ken Ferris