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By Chris Oddo

Kirilenko and Lisicki, Pattaya final, 2013 (February 3, 2013) -- Playing in her second consecutive final at the PTT Pattaya Open, Maria Kirilenko came back from a set down to defeat Sabine Lisicki in a third-set tiebreaker, 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(1).

The two hour and thirty-seven minute final was far from straightforward as Kirilenko stormed back from an early deficit to win 11 of 13 games, only to blow two match points and find herself trailing 6-5 with Lisicki serving in the decider.

But Kirilenko, who should jump to No. 13 in the WTA rankings after her triumph, broke Lisicki’s serve at love and finished the match winning 11 of the final 12 points to wrap up the victory with a breezy tiebreaker.

“I was so disappointed after last year’s final,” said Kirilenko, who lost to Daniela Hantuchova in last year’s Pattaya final in three sets “but this year it’s a much different feeling.”

The Russian’s 6th career title is also her third victory in three matches against Lisicki. Kirilenko defeated the hard-serving German in a futures event in Dubai in 2007 and in qualifying at Cincinnati in 2008.

Today’s title marks Kirilenko’s first since 2008, when she won her third title of that season in Seoul, Korea.

After dropping the first set on Sunday, Kirilenko converted on all three of her break points in the second set to take control of the match from Lisicki. The German served 12 aces in the contest but was only able to win 7 of her final 30 second serve points against a relentless Kirilenko attack.

“My return was really helping today,” Kirilenko would later say. “I think I hit it really well.”

A case of nerves for the Russian, timed with a fight-back from Lisicki, would prolong the match in the final set. Kirilenko had double match point at 5-2, 40-15, but Lisicki saved both and went on to win four straight games to lead 6-5.

But Lisicki, playing in her 6th career final, couldn’t serve it out, and eventually lost a one-sided tiebreaker for the title, 7-1.

It was Lisicki’s first final since 2011. The 23-year-old has now dropped 14 of her last 15 matches against top 15 opposition, with her lone win coming against Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2012.

“It was such a close final and I had chances to win,” Lisicki said. “I just didn’t take them.”

In the doubles final, 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm paired with Australian Open doubles finalist Casey Dellacqua to win the title, 6-3, 6-2 over Akgul Amanmuradova and Alexandra Panova. The title was Date-Krumm's fourth doubles title, and the first for Dellacqua.

(Photo Credit: AP)


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