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Mikaelian wins first WTA title

Mikaelian said she was nervous for the match against Poutchek

(Keystone Archive)

The young Swiss tennis star, Marie-Gaiané Mikaelian, has claimed her first ever title victory at the $140,000 WTA tournament in Tashkent.

Mikaelian, who was seeded number one for the first time in her tournament career, outclassed her Belarus opponent, Tatiana Poutchek, in Sunday's final to secure a straight sets win (6-4, 6-4).

Sunday's final was a battle between the top two tournament seeds, but it was the 18-year-old from Lausanne who held her own on court and won the day in a little over 90 minutes.

Top-seeded Mikaelian, currently ranked 53rd in the world, made an early break in the opening set to secure a 3-1 lead.

Poutchek (WTA 67) fought back to break her opponent in the eighth game, but Mikaelian regained her advantage to take the first set.

The 23-year-old Belarussian came back from 1-5 down in the second set to win three straight games and save two match points.

But the Swiss star took charge in the tenth and final game to finish the set and the match with an ace.

"Naturally I was nervous," Mikaelian said after the match, "but Tatiana was even more nervous than I was."

Federer defeated

Mikaelian's victory came less than 24 hours after her Swiss compatriot, Roger Federer, saw his title hopes disappear as he bowed out of the semi-finals of the ATP tournament in Halle, Germany.

Federer made an impressive start to Saturday's match against Germany's Nicolas Kiefer, taking the first set and giving himself everything to play for in the second.

But playing in front of a home crowd, Kiefer fought back to take the remaining two sets and the match (4-6, 6-4, 6-4).

"I was very disappointed with my performance," said Federer after the match, "and I know I can play a lot better."

"Today was just not my day at the net, and I was also unhappy with my serving," he added.

Defeat for the 20-year-old from Basel means Federer can now turn his attention to preparations for the Wimbledon grass court tournament, which begins on June 24.

swissinfo with agencies

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