Kirilenko avenges past defeats in Pattaya
Maria Kirilenko put some ghosts to rest as she won the PTT Pattaya Open in a nervy three-setter on Sunday.
Kirilenko reached the final of the Thailand event last year before losing in three sets to Daniela Hantuchova, but the Russian managed to put that past disappointment out of her mind as she overcame Sabine Lisicki 5-7 6-1 7-6(1).
The scoreline barely did justice to the numerous momentum swings of the encounter - as initially Lisicki opened up a first set advantage, before Kirilenko roared back to claim the second with ease.
Kirilenko then moved 5-1 clear in the decisive third, before Lisicki dug deep to fight her way back into the match and lead once again, 6-5. But Kirilenko finished strongly - winning 11 of the final 12 points to belatedly put the memory of 12 months ago to rest.
"I feel great - to win a title is always special, but it's even more pleasure when you win such a tough one," Kirilenko said afterwards. "It was tough. Sabine played very well. I'm very happy to win this title."
She added: "I was so disappointed after last year's final, but this year it's a much different feeling. Obviously I'm really excited about this right now.
"What worked best for me today was my forehand. And my return was really helping today too. I think I hit it very well."
Lisicki, who failed to reach a final at all during 2012, attempted to see the positives after a difficult loss.
"I hadn't been in a final in a while, so even though it's a tough one to lose, I still feel very good about my week," she said. "I played some good tennis here. I was working so hard in the off-season and it's nice to see it's already paying off, especially since we're just at the start of the year."
Elsewhere, at the Open GDF Suez, Mona Barthel claimed her first WTA Premier event title with an agonisingly close 7-5 7-6(4) win over Sara Errani.