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Tennis: Qualifier Pironkova beats Kerber for Sydney title

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova crowned a stunning week of top ten scalps with a straight sets victory over fifth seed Angelique Kerber in the final of the Sydney International Friday.

Pironkova, the world number 107, defeated her third top-ten ranked opponent of the week with a 6-4, 6-4 win in 96 minutes.

Pironkova became the first women qualifier to win the Sydney International, which is one of the oldest tournaments in the world, for her maiden WTA title.

She reached her debut WTA final with a last four win over second seed Petra Kvitova after beating Italian third seed Sara Errani in the quarter-finals.

The Bulgarian's powerful backhand constantly had the German left-hander under pressure and she finished the stronger despite playing her eighth match in eight days.

Pironkova broke Kerber's service six times and lost her serve four times in a physical contest between two big hitters on the women's circuit.

It was a draining week for the Bulgarian, who had one thigh strapped and showing the effects of her heavy schedule as she heads to next week's Australian Open.

She will face Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the opening round and is in the same half of the draw as top seed Serena Williams.

rsm/pdh

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140110/tennis-qualifier-pironkova-beats-kerber-sydney-title