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Safarova defeats Erakovic for fifth career title

(Reuters) - Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic won her fifth WTA title when she edged New Zealand's Marina Erakovic 6-4 6-3 in the final of the Bell Challenge in Quebec City on Sunday.

Third seed Safarova's serve proved a decisive weapon as the 26-year-old left-hander ended a five-year victory drought and improved her record in WTA finals to 5-7.

"I hope it's not another five years until the next (title)," said Safarova, who was broken early in the first set but held serve the rest of the way.

Sixth seed Erakovic had her chances but the Croatian-born New Zealander squandered five break points.

Safarova broke Erakovic four times on the indoor carpet.

"It was just about a few points today, but I was more consistent with my game and more aggressive, and I think that's why I won," said Safarova, who entered the event ranked 48th in the world.

"My strategy was to try to go to her backhand side and just try to use my lefty shots as well as I could. I was a little bit nervous at the end because it was so long since my last WTA title.

"I really wanted to win the title today - so it's great I was able to do that."

Safarova not only landed more of her first serves in play than Erakovic, but also had a higher winning percentage when she did.

"I really tried hard to get things right, but Lucie made it very difficult for me today," Erakovic told reporters.

"She played solid and didn't let up her lead at all. And I was struggling to find my rhythm with her lefty serve and in the rallies - so I just have to take my hat off to her and move on now."

Erakovic was seeking her second WTA victory.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, Editing by Gene Cherry)

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