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King’s First Tournament Title Is an American Classic

Timers Staff Writer

This might be one of the more unexpected answers to a trivia question about professional tennis this year.

Q: Who are the two American women to win titles on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in 2006?

A: Meghann Shaughnessy and Vania King.

Not Venus or Serena Williams or Lindsay Davenport or even Amy Frazier.

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King, 17, of Long Beach, won her first pro title Sunday, a Tier III event in Bangkok, Thailand, beating wild-card entrant Tamarine Tanasurgarn of Thailand, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, in the final in 2 hours 24 minutes. King followed that by winning the doubles with partner Jelena Kostanic. Not only did King face a popular hometown star in the final, she fought back from a 4-2 deficit in the third set.

“I stopped thinking about trying to win the points, and decided that if I was going to go down, I was going to go down clawing,” she said in an e-mail. “She was fighting so hard and she had the support of the crowd. I was going to show her that I was going to fight as hard as I could, maybe even harder than she was.”

Since turning pro in July, King has won one singles titles and two doubles titles, both with Kostanic. They also lost in another final this fall and are 10-1.

In Thailand, King defeated Alicia Molik, Lucie Safarova, Kostanic, Shaughnessy and Tanasurgarn and didn’t lose a set until the final. She became the third player to win singles and doubles at the same event this year, joining Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Shahar Peer.

“I went into the tournament just hoping to win a round and came out winning,” she said.

At this time last year, King was ranked 262nd. Last week, she reached 80 and hit a career-high 54 on Monday. The five American women ranked ahead of her are Davenport, Shaughnessy, Shenay Perry, Jamea Jackson and Venus Williams.

King’s plan to celebrate?

“Shopping,” King said.

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com


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