Eastbourne, Jun 19: Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli beat Petra Kvitova in a thrilling Aegon International final at Eastbourne to claim her first title in nearly two years.France's Bartoli, who like Kvitova had already negotiated a rain-delayed semifinal, showed the greater composure and stamina to triumph 6-1 4-6 7-5.Bartoli powered to the first set in fine fashion, breaking Kvitova twice.
And despite a below-par second set and hamstring injury scare, she recovered to claim victory in a nervy finale.Bartoli's last tournament win came in Stanford in August 2009 but that seemed certain to change as she saved three early break points and then broke her opponent to lead 3-1.
She consolidated her lead with a second break in the sixth game with a spectacular winner down the line but her dominance did not last in a topsy-turvy second set.
Bartoli did lead 3-1 but Kvitova levelled at 3-3 and broke before closing out the set to tie the match.
Both players struggled to hold their serve in the final set and although Bartoli failed to see out the match when serving at 5-4, she broke again to lead 6-5 and a backhand error by Kvitova gave Bartoli the first grass court title of her career.
"I had to fight really hard, especially playing two matches back-to-back on the same day," Bartoli said.
"It reminds me of my junior time when we had to play two matches a day. But I think it was an entertaining match. I had the lead in the second set but couldn't close it out - but Petra started to play very well. She was hitting the ball very hard and very deep.
Then at the end it was just [about] fighting and trying to find a way to win.
"My muscle started to get tight and after the support I received with the tape it was better. Now I have two days off so I am definitely going to be OK for Wimbledon."
Sixth seed Bartoli had secured her place in Saturday afternoon's final with a clinical 6-3 6-1 win over Australia's Sam Stosur.
Kvitova's opponent Daniela Hantuchova was forced to retire with an abdominal injury when trailing 7-6 (11-9) 4-2.
Hantuchova now faces a race to be fit for Wimbledon, which begins on Monday.
"It's not great, that's for sure," she said of her injury. "It happened at 3-0 in the first set. I was running for a wide backhand and felt a sharp pain and just was getting worse and worse from then.
"I have to hope for some magic and get as much treatment as I can. As soon as I get to Wimbledon I will try to work with the physios and try to do something to be able to be ready."The men's final is between Italy's Andreas Seppi and Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.
Seppi beat Russia's Igor Kunitsyn 6-4 2-6 6-4 while Tipsarevic overcame Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-2 6-4.Meanwhile, Italy's Roberta Vinci rallied from a set down to beat Jelena Dokic of Australia 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 7-5 in the Den Bosch Open women's final on Saturday.The victory is Vinci's fifth WTA Tour title, but her first on grass.
In the men's final, Italy's Andreas Seppi beat Janko Tipsarevic after the Serbian was forced to retire in the final set, with Seppi leading it 5-3.
In what had been a tight contest, Seppi opened a 4-0 lead in the final set before Tipsarevic fought back to make it 4-3 but, having handed the eighth game to the Italian, the injured Tipsarevic threw in the towel.
Meanwhile, Russia's Dmitry Tursunov claimed his first tour win in two years as he eased to a 6-3 6-2 victory over Croatia's Ivan Dodig in the final of the Den Bosch Open in the Netherlands
Tursunov made the most of a lone break-point chance in the opener to forge ahead before Dodig's service game collapsed in the second when the players resumed at 2-2 following a break for rain.
"I played the important points well," said Tursunov after sealing his first win on the ATP Tour since Eastbourne in June 2009.The world number 70 has missed much of the past two seasons after undergoing ankle surgery on three occasions.