Daniilidou Wins in Hobart
Published January 11, 2008 12:00
HOBART, Australia - It may not have been the fairytale ending she had hoped for but a week of winning performances certainly didn't let it take away from the fifth Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles triumph of her career. On Friday in Hobart, Greece's shining star Eleni Daniilidou took home the Moorilla Hobart International crown after her final opponent, Russia's Vera Zvonareva, granted her a walkover due to a rolled left ankle suffered in practice earlier in the day.
Daniilidou, who was just two spots outside of the seedings, did not drop a single set en route to Friday's final. She began her week with a 63 64 win over Pauline Parmentier then pulled off the shock of the week, beating top seed Alona Bondarenko, 63 63. She followed up with a 64 75 quarterfinal win over wildcard Casey Dellacqua, a 64 63 semifinal win over Flavia Pennetta and the walkover over No.2 seed Zvonareva.
"It's very special, that's for sure," said an elated Daniilidou. "But I feel very sorry for Vera, as she has had a great week."
The 25-year-old Daniilidou adds the 2007 Hobart title to her already-impressive collection, which includes titles at 's-Hertogenbosch in 2002, Auckland in 2003 and 2004 and Seoul in 2006. She has finished runner-up only once, at Bahia in 2002 (falling to another Russian, Anastasia Myskina, in that final).
It was a disappointing ending for Zvonareva, who had dropped only 17 games in four rounds en route to her 11th career Tour singles final. She was the only seed to make it to the semis this week, and one of only two to make the quarterfinals.
"I could barely walk; it was painful right away and I thought, 'Oh my God, I have to pack my bags and go home,'" Zvonareva said. "I have no expectations at the moment about the Australian. Hopefully it's not as bad as it looks right now."
This was the first time in nearly three years that a Tour singles final did not get played due to a walkover. The last time such circumstances arose came in May of 2004, when Amélie Mauresmo won in Berlin after Venus Williams withdrew before the final due to a left ankle sprain suffered during her semifinal match.
Daniilidou was given another opportunity to step onto Centre Court, playing with Jasmin Woehr in the doubles final, but the unseeded Greek-German tandem was not able to stop No.2 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, who clinched the title with a 62 64 victory.
Perhaps one of the biggest stories of the tournament arose early on in the week, as former Top 5 great Jelena Dokic qualified for her first Tour event in nearly two years and reached the second round before succumbing to Flavia Pennetta and a right ankle injury. The 24-year-old, once ranked as high as No.4 in the world, has struggled with on and off-court issues the last few years, but has declared herself 100% ready to make another move towards the top of the game.