MEMPHIS, TN, USA - It may not have been a fairytale ending, but Magdalena Rybarikova won her second WTA title Saturday night, earning a 62 retirement victory over Rebecca Marino in the final of the Cellular South Cup.
Rybarikova was the underdog against No.6 seed Marino, the Canadian wowing the crowds all week with her big serve and composure. But something was clearly wrong in the final, as Rybarikova took the first set in 27 minutes.
"It first happened in the semifinals against Rodina," Marino said of her left abdominal injury. "As I kept playing today it got worse and worse. I'm upset I had to retire in the finals but I didn't want to make the injury worse. If this injury gets worse, it's an injury that would take a long time to recover from."
The polite Canadian was apologetic to the crowd during the trophy ceremony: "I love this tournament. I'm sorry I couldn't give you guys a better match," she said. "Magdalena played great the whole week though. She deserves to win."
"I'm very sorry for Rebecca," Rybarikova commented. "I didn't know she was injured, but I could tell when she was playing something wasn't right. But still, congratulations to her on a great week. I saw her play a good match against Schiavone in Australia, very aggressive like Kvitova. She'll be a great player."
It wasn't an easy path to the final for Rybarikova. Three of her four matches went to three sets, including a first round marathon on the first day of the tournament, where she saved four match points to beat No.8 seed Vania King, 61 36 76(9). Anne Keothavong and Lucie Hradecka also went the distance with her.
But Rybarikova emerged with her second WTA title, after Birmingham two years ago. "It has been a while since I last won a title," the 22-year-old said. "Now, I'm a bit back. I didn't play well in 2010 - I had some tough draws and although I played some top players close, I kept losing. But at the beginning of this year I said I wanted to be Top 50 again. My game still isn't great - I need to start being more aggressive - but this week was great for my confidence."
Marino also took some positives from her run to the final of Memphis: "I didn't feel I was playing my total best tennis this week, but I did a good job fighting through my matches and of course I'm excited to have reached the final.
"It has been non-stop since Australia - the last time I was home was for four days around Christmas. It'll be nice to go back home for a week and a half."