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Bartoli plays through the pain to win Eastbourne crown

ESPN staff
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Marion Bartoli had to dig deep against Petra Kvitova © PA Photos
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Marion Bartoli suffered a major injury scare ahead of Wimbledon, but dug deep to win her first title in nearly two years at the AEGON International in Eastbourne.

The former Wimbledon shrugged off a leg injury to beat Petra Kvitova 6-1 4-6 7-5 and claim her sixth career title.

Bartoli, who reached the final at the All England Club four years ago, is seeded ninth for the grass-court slam, her highest seeding in a grand slam event, but took a major risk after suffering a recurrence of a thigh injury.

In cold and blustery conditions at Devonshire Park, Bartoli raced through the opening set and was well on course for victory, having strolled past Sam Stosur in the semi-finals earlier on Saturday.

But Kvitova rallied, winning five of the last six games to take the second set and force the match to a decider, and when Bartoli pulled up with an injury, it looked like the Czech was on track for her fourth title of the year.

After calling a medical timeout, Bartoli opted to play on, but moved gingerly around the court as she tried to protect her injured leg. Rooted to the baseline, the world No. 9 began to rely on her serve and tried to dictate the rallies from the back of the court.

Bartoli was forced to retire in the Strasbourg final last month with the same problem, but she was not willing to give up as easily, and dug deep, saving a break point early in the deciding set.

After battling back from 15-40 to hold serve at 3-3, Bartoli was gifted the all-important break when Kvitova served three double faults. Serving for the match, Bartoli wobbled, and the Czech pounced to level, but Bartoli broke back immediately, and held her nerve to seal the victory at the second attempt.

Meanwhile at the UNICEF Open in the Netherlands, Roberta Vinci claimed her second title of the year, battling back from a set down to beat Australia's Jelena Dokic 6-7(7) 6-3 7-5.

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