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January 12, 2002

HOBART, AUSTRALIA (TICKER) -- Slovakia's Martina Sucha claimed her first WTA Tour title Saturday with a 7-6 (9-7), 6-1 win over Ana Isabel Medina Garrigues of Spain in the final of $110,000 ANZ Tasmanian International tennis event.

Sucha had dropped the first set in three of her matches this week and looked to be digging herself in a hole again when she fell behind Medina Garrigues, 0-3. But the 21-year-old Slovakian righted herself and, after taking a tense tiebreaker during which both players saved two set points against, cruised the rest of the way.

"I am thrilled to have won my first title here in Hobart," Sucha said. "I hope to be back next year to defend my title".

Sucha earned $16,000 and will rise in the rankings from No. 68 to the mid-50s. She will take on Gala Leon Garcia of Spain in the first round of next week's Australian Open.

Medina Garrigues had knocked off Mary Pierce and defending champion Rita Grande, but was unable to mount much of a challenge after suffering a lower back strain. She underwent treatment for the ailment after falling behind, 0-3, in the second set.

"My body was on the court, but my mind was back in the shower," said Medina Garrigues, who was looking for her second career crown.

The 19-year-old Spaniard will face a qualifier in the first round at Melbourne.
 
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