Eastbourne – Andy Roddick won his first title in over a year when he defeated defending champion Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday to win the Eastbourne grasscourt title, a perfectly-timed boost ahead of Wimbledon.
The American, a three-time finalist at the All England Club, was joined as a new champion on the south coast by Austrian Tamira Paszek, who saved five match points to beat world number eight Angelique Kerber 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in the women's final.
Former world number one Roddick, aged 29 and ranked 33rd, has been troubled by injury and illness for the past several seasons but may have turned a corner with his 72-minute confidence-building win over the Italian.
He came to the event as a wildcard after losing his sixth match in a row last week in an early Queen's club exit.
Roddick's victory means that he has won at last one title for the past 12 seasons.
The American now owns 31 trophies from 51 finals having won his last grasscourt title at Queen's five years ago.
Roddick will be seeded 30 at Wimbledon, which starts on Monday, where he starts against Briton Jamie Baker.
The American had a modest five aces on Saturday, but broke Seppi five times as he played his first final since winning in Memphis in February, 2011.
Paszek, ranked 59th, who had come onto the grass with just two wins from 15 matches this season, did what she has done best in recovering from disaster against Kerber.
Paszek's momentum could not be stopped by a lower calf injury which she had taped late in the match after a slip on the grass.
She carried on to claim her third career title after last winning one in September, 2010, in Quebec.
“I was feeling a bit weird on court. But you have to get on with things which aren't perfect. So I just tried to keep hanging in there,” she said.
“I've always known I'm a fighter, I always believed in myself,” said the winner. In practise everything has been working, and now it was just a matter of getting that aggression and pleasure to play on court.
“It just all fitted together this week.”
Kerber was Paszek's third seeded victim of the week after beating number eight Daniela Hantuchova and putting out holder and fourth seed Marion Bartoli in the semi-finals.
Paszek fought hard to save five match points in the ninth game of the second set after losing the first, holding for 4-5 before breaking the fifth seed a game later after Kerber double-faulted for a pair of break points.
The Austrian won the title on her third match point and heads to Wimbledon with a huge confidence boost.
Kerber missed out on her third trophy of 2012 after finally finding fitness following a series of injuries this season.
“She was playing very well in important moments and also when I had the match points,” said Kerber. “Actually I couldn't do anything.
“She won the match and played very well. I won also some good matches here, so now I'm ready for the next week in Wimbledon. It was a great week for me. Even if I lost today, I was in the final. It was a good match, I did everything that I could.” – Sapa-AFP