Parmentier Captures Bad Gastein Crown
Published July 20, 2008 12:00
BAD GASTEIN, Austria - Rain wreaked havoc on the schedule all week and the favorites were constantly falling but in the end it was a picture perfect week on the red clay of Bad Gastein for Pauline Parmentier, as the Frenchwoman claimed the second and biggest Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title of her career at the Gastein Ladies.
Ranked No.53 in the world and seeded No.4 behind the teen-aged trio of Agnes Szavay, Alizé Cornet and Caroline Wozniacki, Parmentier wasn't really on anyone's radar as a firm title hopeful. Although she held the No.4 seed there was a huge ranking gap between her and the Top 3, who were all inside the Top 30; she also had a losing record on the season coming in, which included winning just one match in her last six clay court events. A phoenix being reborn from the ashes is a common sight in the tennis world, however, and this was no exception.
Parmentier ground out tight victories in her first three matches of the week, most notably a 75 46 64 win over Anna-Lena Groenefeld in the second round and a 76(3) 63 decision against last year's finalist Yvonne Meusburger in the quarterfinals, a match in which she not only fought the Austrian but all of her home supporters as well. Parmentier now found herself in the semifinals against No.1 seed Szavay and she was in top form, crushing her huge topspin forehand to perfection during a 64 62 win. The win over the world No.14 was her first Top 20 win.
Meanwhile, in the bottom half of the draw, qualifier Lucie Hradecka had emerged as the finalist. No.2 seed Cornet had retired from her opening match due to a stomach illness and No.3 seed Wozniacki lost her second match. Hradecka had taken out one seed (No.5 seed Timea Bacsinszky) en route to her first career singles final on the Tour, in fact her first time even reaching the quarterfinals.
Although she had been to Tour finals five times previously - all in doubles, winning four titles - Hradecka was no match for Parmentier on Championship Sunday. She won four of the first five games of the match but would still end up succumbing in straight sets, 64 64. Parmentier took home her second career title, following a hardcourt triumph at Tashkent last fall.
"I am very happy today, it was a perfect week," Parmentier said. "It was a very difficult week because of all of the rain, and because of the rain I had to play two matches yesterday, but when you have a tougher week like this, the victory is much bigger. Now I will enjoy two weeks of holiday. I just need to relax."
The runner-up's initial disappointment at the singles loss was softened later in the afternoon, as Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova captured the doubles title with a 63 63 win over Sesil Karatantcheva and Natasa Zoric. Hradecka improved to 5-1 lifetime in Tour doubles finals.
"Of course I am a little disappointed about today's singles match," she said. "I was 4-1 up and managed to lose the set. But Pauline played very well, especially on the important points. And for me this is still an unbelievable week. I reached the final in singles and doubles too, which is amazing."
This was the second year Bad Gastein has been a stop on the Tour. Last year, Italy's Francesca Schiavone won her very first Tour singles title with a straight set win over Meusburger in the final. Schiavone didn't defend her title, electing to play the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California instead.