SPORTS

Daniilidou’s rise goes on

Eleni Daniilidou, a rising force on the international tennis circuit over the past two years, made a splendid start to the year by winning the ASB women’s tennis classic in New Zealand on Saturday with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 win over Cho Yoon-jeon of South Korea. The title, Daniilidou’s second in her career, brings the 20-year-old player just shy of a top-20 place in the WTA rankings. Daniilidou, seeded second at the tournament in Auckland, is now ranked 21st on the WTA list. «It was an incredible match, both of us were fighting a lot,» Daniilidou said of Saturday’s final, which lasted a demanding 2 hours and 25 minutes. «She played so flat and deep, I couldn’t attack and we were really tired, but I played the more important points better and that was the difference,» added the Thessaloniki-based player, who saved two match points late in the third set at 4-5. Daniilidou, who set herself the objective of getting into the WTA’s top 30 in 2002, began last year ranked 84th after rising from 320th place at the start of 2001. Sturdy performances at Grand Slam events have propelled her rapid rise. Daniilidou reached Wimbledon’s fourth round last year but fell to the world’s number three Jennifer Capriati in three sets. (AP/Kathimerini)