russian invasion

KUALA LUMPUR: Alisa Kleybanova beat top seed Elena Dementieva 6-3 6-2 in a rain-disrupted all-Russian final to claim her first WTA title at the Malaysian Open yesterday.

The 20-year-old world number 29, playing in her first tour final, ramped up her big serve to great effect to see off her far more experienced compatriot and win the $220000 (R1.7 million) tournament.

The match was just eight minutes old and tied at 1-1 when a downpour stopped play.

Kleybanova returned from the break invigorated and proceeded to win the next three games before world number seven Dementieva battled her way into the match by breaking back for 4-3.

The revival proved to be short-lived and Kleybanova muscled her way to another break before serving out to go a set up, bringing up set point with her fourth ace.

The 28-year-old Dementieva, looking for her third title in just five outings this season had little more security on her serve in the second set.

There was a brief rally when the Olympic champion battled her way to a break point in the second game but Kleybanova saved it and never looked like giving up the lead from then on, serving out to love to claim the match. - Reuters