BRIGHTON, England -- Sylvia Hanika of West Germany produced a superb display of aggressive tennis Sunday to defeat unseeded American Joanne Russell 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in the final of a $175,000 women's tennis tournament.
It was the 24-year-old left-hander's biggest success in 2 years, and earned her $32,000.
'I won the Avon Championships in New York in March 1982, reached five finals last year, but have not got through to the last round at all this year,' the delighted seventh seed said after the match. 'People must have wondered whether I was ever going to win again.'
Hanika displayed her full range of strokes throughouta match in which each of the three sets had an entirely different character. In the first set, Hanika was totally dominant, rushing to the net at every opportunity and volleying accurately.
Once the set was over, Russell began to piece together her game and her concentration and, helped by a lapse from the West German, quickly forced the match into a deciding set.
'I was rushing my shots too much in that second set and lost my form,' Hanika explained.
But it all came together again for the West German in the final set. Russell, who turns 30 on Tuesday, is one of the toughest competitors in the game, but she had no answer to Hanika, who raced into a 4-0 lead to put the result beyond doubt.
'I never gave up,' Russell said. 'I figured that she could not go on playing throughout the match as she had done in the first set. But in the third I lost my concentration a little bit and against someone like Sylvia you can't afford to lose it for four games.'