40 LOVE Moments: Agi's Miracle
Published October 02, 2013 12:00
BEIJING, China - On one side of the net was Jelena Jankovic, on the other side Agnes Szavay. Jankovic was one of the top players in the world, ranked No.3 at the time - Szavay was an up-and-comer, No.23 at the time. And after squeaking out the first set in a tie-break, Jankovic looked headed for her third Premier-level title as she built a 5-1 lead in the second set, reaching match point.
Down a set, serving at 1-5, 30-40 in the second set, and a first serve into the net - all seemed lost for Szavay. But somewhere along the line fate intervened - it must have, because what she served up on the next shot was nothing short of a miracle. She served up a huge second serve ace up the middle.
"I wasn't thinking about losing the match," Szavay said. "I was thinking about winning that point."
The match turned completely on that shot - Szavay reeled off nine games in a row from there to win the second set and go up 3-0 in the third, eventually pulling off the unthinkable - a 67(7) 75 62 victory.
"This is the biggest success in my career," she added. "I was happy to turn today's match around from a bad position. It feels great to win a tournament, but especially after coming back from match point."
Szavay is one of only two Hungarians ever to win a Premier-level title - joining Andrea Temesvari - and the victory would also propel her into the Top 20. She eventually peaked at No.13 the next spring.
But persistent back injuries hampered her the next few years, and - having played her last WTA event at the US Open last year - she would retire from the tour earlier this year at just 24 years of age.
Sadly, as a result, Szavay is the only former champion missing from this year's field at the China Open - the winners of the other nine years of the tournament were all in the Premier-level draw this year.
But it's hard to forget the second serve ace that rocked the tournament six years ago...