|Marion Bartoli returns a shot from Petra Kvitova during her International Women's Open match in Eastbourne, England on Saturday, June 18, 2011. (REUTERS/Eddie Keogh)
EASTBOURNE, England -- France's Marion Bartoli outlasted Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in Saturday's final to capture the title at the Wimbledon tuneup in Eastbourne.
Bartoli and Kvitova each had to win semifinal matches Saturday after rain wiped out play on Friday. The sixth-seeded Frenchwoman then followed with a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 victory in the final to claim her sixth career title and first of 2011.
The 26-year-old Bartoli had appeared in a pair of finals earlier this year, losing to world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in Indian Wells and falling to Andrea Petkovic in Strasbourg just before the French Open.
Then, in front of the cheering crowd at Roland Garros, Bartoli made a run to the semifinals before bowing out against 2010 champion and eventual runner-up Francesca Schiavone of Italy.
The quick transition to grass hasn't hurt Bartoli's game. She dropped just one set heading into Saturday's play and breezed past Australian Samantha Stosur in the semis with a 6-3, 6-1 rout before gutting out the title match against Kvitova.
Bartoli improved to 6-8 all-time in title matches, which includes a loss to Venus Williams in the 2007 Wimbledon final. She will head to the All England Club with confidence and will face a qualifier in the first round next week.
Kvitova first had to play Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova on Saturday and advanced with a 7-6 (11-9), 4-2 win.
Hantuchova, a finalist at this event in 2004, was coming off a runner-up finish on Monday at the Wimbledon tuneup in Birmingham and on Saturday had to retire in the second set with an abdominal strain that could put her aspirations for Wimbledon in jeopardy.
The fifth-seeded Kvitova fell to 4-2 in WTA finals and was bidding for her fourth title of 2011. She won tournaments in Brisbane, Paris and Madrid earlier this year.
A semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, Kvitova will open play next week at the famed lawns of the London suburb against a qualifier.
Bartoli earned a first prize of $103,000.