Grainger Clinches Cleveland Crown
11 Mar 2007
Natalie Grainger celebrated her first WISPA World Tour title as a US citizen when she beat Isabelle Stoehr in the final of the inaugural Women's Burning River Cleveland Classic at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Cleveland in the US state of Ohio.
Top seed Grainger, who formally became a US citizen last month some six years after moving to the USA, took a commanding 5-1 lead in the first game.
But fifth seed Stoehr, hitherto unbeaten this year after winning two WISPA titles, fought her way back to tie the game at seven-all. Grainger, determined not to let the game slip as she had in the semis, closed it out with a tight backhand drop shot.
Stoehr led 5-2 and 7-5 in the second, but again the 29-year-old from Washington came back to open up a two-game lead.
Grainger controlled the third game, despite some crisp winners from the 27-year-old from Chambery - but, after 43 minutes, it was Grainger that was celebrating a 9-7, 10-8, 9-1 victory.
"Isabelle seems to have got her passion back for the game," said the new champion. "She played great today, showing her great racquet work. I had to really concentrate and play my own game," added Grainger after winning her 12th career WISPA crown.
Stoehr, disappointed by the end of her 11-match winning streak, said: "It was really important for me to win that second game, as I came out mentally low in the third and maybe gave her too much respect. But I am happy with the way I played today and this week."