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Germany's Petkovic wins Family Circle Cup

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV/AP) - Andrea Petkovic ended a surprising week at the Family Circle Cup by winning her first WTA tournament in three years, outlasting Jana Cepelova for a 7-5, 6-2 victory Sunday.

Petkovic came in seeded 14th and ranked 40th in the world. But she ousted three straight top 10 seeds on the way to the finals and took control of the championship by winning eight straight games.

Petkovic dropped to the ground when Cepelova's final shot landed out of play. She hugged her opponent, waved to the crowd and did a celebration dance as fans applauded.

She said early in the match Cepelova was returning every ball, but she managed to calm down and hit some balls that were more difficult for Cepelova to return. That's when she pulled the first set back to 5-5 and eventually won the first set.

Cepelova led 5-4 in the opening set of her first career final before Petkovic won the next eight games. 

But Cepelova's story became a rallying cry during the tournament. She arrived in Charleston without her coach or trainer and, after the first few days of play, she lost the only other Slovak in the tournament. 

As a result, Cepelova sought out practice partners on her own and had no one to come on court and talk her through her game if she was in trouble. It garnered a lot of respect from fans and players alike. 

"I was super impressed. I couldn't believe what was happeneing because I think in the first three or four rounds I didn't even realize she had no coach," said Petkovic. "I don't know how she did it."

After the match, Cepelova was asked about beating Serena Williams and Elena Vesnina, world No. 1 and 34 respectively, on her way to the final. 

"Before the tournament if somebody had told me I would be in the final, I would not believe them. But now, you know, I'm al little bit upset, but maybe tomorrow everything will be okay," she said. 

While Petkovic heads home, Cepelova heads to Quebec for her next tournament. Both are sure to meet again in another tournament. 

Petkovic earned $120,000 for her third career WTA victory, which was her first since winning in Strasbourg in 2011. It was cause for a unique plan to celebrate. 

"I'm going to have champagne, but I'm just going to have it for the heck of it in the airplane. I'm going to get drunk. I never get drunk on the airplane. That's what I'm going to do, and I'm going to walk around and dance with the cabin attendants," Petkovic said.

"And I'm going to let them touch my trophy."

 

Pete Iacobelli with The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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