Petrova Wins First Title of Year in Cincy
Published August 17, 2008 12:00
CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Nadia Petrova, a former world No.3 who recently fell out of the Top 20, made a strong statement in Cincinnati this past week, cruising through her first four matches with the loss of just one set, and on Sunday crushing Nathalie Dechy in straight sets for the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open singles title.
Petrova had a tough year through the clay court season, going 8-11 and reaching one quarterfinal, at Istanbul; since the clay-grass transition she has gone 18-5 though, reaching the title match at Eastbourne, quarterfinals at Wimbledon and Los Angeles and now winning her eighth career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title here in Cincinnati.
The No.2-seeded Petrova's path to the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open title was very quick to start, taking an average of just one hour to defeat each of her first three opponents, Galina Voskoboeva, Julie Ditty and Lilia Osterloh; she had a disastrous first set against Maria Kirilenko before crushing the No.3 seed in the second and third sets, 16 62 61, and was all over Dechy in the final, cruising to a 62 61 championship victory in an hour and 10 minutes.
"I expected a much more difficult match today," Petrova said. "I served well and hung in the rallies well. I was very focused today. I knew I had to play very clean and not give her any chances. I think it was a very clean match from my side."
Petrova improved to 8-9 lifetime in finals, having lost three in a row since her last title, which came at the indoor event in Paris last February (finishing runner-up at Amelia Island and Los Angeles last year and Eastbourne this year).
Dechy fell to 1-4 lifetime in finals, her last final coming almost exactly four years ago in New Haven, where she was the runner-up (to Elena Bovina). It was an excellent week for the crafty French veteran and former world No.11 however, taking out three seeds - No.4 Katarina Srebotnik, No.6 Aleksandra Wozniak and No.5 Amélie Mauresmo - before falling to the No.2.
"I tried my best out there but I couldn't do it today," Dechy said. "All the credit to Nadia though. She was serving really well, volleying well and hitting all of her shots really deep, I could never play my game. I was always under pressure. And my serve wasn't very effective either, so she also did well returning.
"When the list originally came out, I was maybe 10 spots out of getting into the main draw; I only got in at the last moment. It turned out to be a really great week. The organization here was of a really high standard and I'm really happy I ended up playing here."
Mauresmo was one of the main attractions at the event. Having not played since a third round loss at Wimbledon, she made it all the way to her first semifinal of the year before falling to countrywoman Dechy in three sets.
"It was disappointing to have an up-and-down match like this after the ones I played this week," said Mauresmo after losing on Saturday. "The reason I came here was to get matches though, so that's definitely a benefit for the US Open. Nathalie was just too good in the third set; I did my best today."
Straight after the singles final it was the doubles final, and time again for the singles champion to shine. Petrova and Kirilenko, the No.2 seeds in the doubles draw, upset No.1 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Yaroslava Shvedova in a match tie-break, 46 63 108. It was the Russians' first doubles title together.
"Our opponents gave us a tough match today," Petrova said. "I would like to thank Maria for playing doubles with me this week. We had a lot of fun and it is always nice to finish the week by winning the trophy."
"This was our first time playing together at a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event, and since we won hopefully we do this again," Kirilenko said. "Nadia has been playing great this week. She beat me last night in singles and did a great job today."
This was the fifth year Cincinnati has been a stop on the Tour. Lindsay Davenport won the inaugural title in 2004, defeating Vera Zvonareva in the final. Patty Schnyder won in 2005, defeating Akiko Morigami in the final. Zvonareva came back and won the title in 2006, defeating Katarina Srebotnik in the final. In 2007, Anna Chakvetadze defeated Morigami in the final.