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Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou wins Korea Open October 1, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.

Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou won the USD145,000 Korean Open on Sunday in heroic fashion by beating fourth seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan 6-3, 2-6, 7-6.

The 24-year-old defeated the world number 27 despite finishing the match in obvious pain and collapsed to the ground in agony as Sugiyama’s return hit the net after 2 hours 36 minutes of thrilling entertainment at Seoul Olympic Park.

With the game balanced finely at 2-2 in the tie-break in the final set, Daniilidou twisted her knee while hitting a fine winner down the line. Despite getting back to her feet after receiving lengthy treatment, the Cretan-born player was in obvious pain.

The world number 58 battled on to win the tie-break 7-3 to bring the crowd to their feet in delight. That wasn’t the only obstacle Daniilidou overcame. She was down 4-5 and 0-40 in the final set but came back to take the match into the tie break. It was a dramatic end to an absorbing contest.

There had been little to separate the two with the European serving better but the Japanese star looking fresher after a grueling week in the South Korean capital. At the beginning of the final set it was anybody’s game. Chances were few and far between. At 5-4, the experienced Sugiyama had her opportunity.

“I’m a little disappointed. It was tough to lose in that kind of situation. I was leading 5-4 and had three match points, that was the key,” Sugiyama explained after the game. “In the tie break, it is not easy to play a normal game when the other player is injured. I was just pushing the ball back in the court as I thought she couldn’t move but she was still hitting the ball really well.”

Subsequently, the momentum was with Daniilidou whose battered knee couldn’t prevent her lifting the trophy and being saluted by a sizeable and admiring crowd. 

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