The appropriate winner of the DFS Classic secured her title in the appropriate way.
Maria Sharapova, the teenage Russian, retained the Maud Watson trophy at Edgbaston Priory yesterday with an erratic yet ultimately commanding performance that summed up her spell in Birmingham.
Sharapova defeated Jelena Jankovic, of Serbia & Montenegro, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in the final to confirm herself as the top female player on grass.
She has not lost on the natural surface since June 2003 - she has won the DFS Classic twice and the Wimbledon title once since then - but will need to improve if she is to retain her Wimbledon crown.
Significantly as far as Edgbaston Priory officials are concerned, Sharapova also hinted that she will return to Birmingham next year in a bid to win the DFS Classic for the third successive time.
Sharapova, aged 18, is the superstar that this tournament needs. She was short of her best and even admitted as much, yet she was still far and away the best player on show.
"I still managed to get through this tournament even though I have not been feeling at my best and that is always a good sign," Sharapova said.
"When you have to battle out some tough matches, and you are not feeling your best, it is a great feeling to win a tournament like this. So, of course, I am really happy.
"I have played five good matches here, where my opponents have pushed me hard, and I still came through. I am going to take this experience, and confidence that goes with it, into Wimbledon next week. Going back there will bring back many happy memories." This was Sharapova's tenth WTA Tour title over the past 24 months and her third of
2005. But she knows that her career will be defined by how many grand-slam titles she wins.
The money will also come in handy. She won more than £17,000 for her efforts in Birmingham, taking her prizemoney for the year beyond the one-million-dollar mark.
That should help her when she undertakes her planned shopping spree in London this week.
But even Sharapova knows that she cannot expect to have the same fortune at Wimbledon that she enjoyed in Birmingham.
For the second successive match, she watched her opponent falter after picking up a debilitating injury. Tatania Golovin, the Russian-born French woman, was hindered by a foot injury in their semifinal on Saturday, and Jankovic needed a medical time-out to have treatment on her right thigh at the end of the second set.
And, like Golovin, Jankovic won just one game on the resumption as Sharapova breezed through the second set in just 25 minutes. For second time, one felt a sense of anticlimax.
"I started feeling my left leg towards the end of the second set," Jankovic said.
"It was getting stiff and it was tough to bend, especially on my serve. I did not have any power to continue and that is why it was 6-1 in the final set."
In damp, windy conditions, the players struggled to produce coherent tennis. Unforced errors were common, although Sharapova and Jankovic did play the occasional shot that defied logic. It was not a classic but it was interesting enough to hold the attention of a sell-out crowd.
Sharapova dominated the first set but Jankovic dropped just six points on her serve in the second set to level the match.
It should have been an intriguing final set but Jankovic faded when she began to feel the effects of her thigh strain. "If I play my best tennis I can beat her," Jankovic said. "But I wasn't playing even close to the level I can play at."
To be fair, Sharapova was also physically diminished. Also suffering from a thigh strain, her problems were compounded by a cold that drained her of energy. Her high-tempo game did not reach the heights of Wimbledon 2004.
"Conditions were heavier and the ball didn't fly as much in the air," Sharapova said. "I played a really good first set and we were on serve in the second until she broke me with an aggressive game.
"If she could have played at that level for the whole three sets it might have been different but in the third she made a few errors and let me back in it."
But Sharapova should be back here. She made her name here in 2003, used her victory here in 2004 as a springboard to success at Wimbledon three weeks later, and has endeared herself to the public.
"It is hard to say if I will be here next year, but I hope so," she said. "It always depends on how I feel physically after the French Open and how much time I have to prepare. But I usually like a week off before the Grand Slams."