Schnyder Earns 500th Win, 11th Title in Bali
Published September 14, 2008 12:00
BALI, Indonesia - She had a somewhat tight match to start the week but her form just continued to get better, and on Sunday Patty Schnyder finally returned to the winner's circle, claiming her 11th career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title - but first in more than three years - at the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic in Bali.
Schnyder, who was the No.2 seed at the $225,000 tournament, had a struggle against Yuan Meng in her opening match of the week. With Schnyder leading 62 65 and holding match point, rain forced the match to stop with the Swiss on the verge of victory; when they retook the court the tenacious Chinese kept herself alive several more points before succumbing in the end, 62 75.
From there the eventual champion brought out the same tennis that had taken her to the US Open quarterfinals the week earlier, crushing Marta Domachowska 62 62 in the quarterfinals, moving comfortably past No.4-seeded Nadia Petrova 75 61 in the semifinals, and ultimately routing Tamira Paszek in the final, 63 60.
"I'm very proud; it's a great feeling to be the tournament champion," Schnyder said. "I had a great feeling the last three matches, where I was at a very good level and continued everything from New York, despite the fact I'm exhausted from being away from home for the last eight weeks and travelling all over the world. But I really like it here. I've been here many times and hope to make it back next year with the new format under the Tournament of Champions."
Schnyder and Paszek had an intriguing head-to-head going into the final. The pair first met in the third round of the US Open last year, with Schnyder taking a commanding 64 41 lead but Paszek battling back to win, 46 64 76(1); the Swiss veteran got her revenge on the Austrian teenager in their second encounter however, cruising to a 64 60 win in the first round of Doha earlier this season. Their third meeting - in Bali on Sunday - was almost identical to the Doha one.
The Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic title is Schnyder's 11th singles title on the Tour, but first since winning at Cincinnati in July 2005. Back then she had a solid finals record of 10-6, but had lost seven straight finals since then to fall to 10-13; now she closes the gap somewhat to 11-13. The 29-year-old also picked up her 500th career singles match win by beating Paszek, becoming just the 26th woman to reach the half-millennium (she joins Amélie Mauresmo and Venus Williams as players who have achieved the 500 match wins feat this season).
"I never thought I'd play 500 matches, let alone win that many," Schnyder said. "I'm very proud of my career and I can keep improving, even at my age. Here I am knocking on the door of the Top 10 again, it's amazing. I wonder myself how much longer I can go. It's a great surprise and I hope I keep surprising myself."
Paszek had a lot to take away from this week. She took out a trio of seeds - No.7 seed Sara Errani in the second round, No.3 seed Flavia Pennetta in the quarters and No.1 seed Daniela Hantuchova in the semis - en route to her biggest career final, her only previous final coming at Portoroz two years ago (where she won her first title). She had spent over twice as much time on court leading up to the final (7:40 to Schnyder's 3:31).
"It was a great experience for me this week," Paszek said. "Especially after the tough few months I had it's a nice feeling to be in that winning rhythm again. Patty was just too tough today; she played really well. I think last night's match caught up with me today and I was definitely a little bit tired, but overall a good week for me and I hope to continue it the next few weeks in Asia."
In the doubles final, which preceded the singles final, No.3 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai won a thriller against the unseeded duo of Domachowska and Petrova, splitting two tie-breaks then winning a close match tie-break to prevail, 67(4) 76(3) 107. It was their first Tour doubles title as a team but they both had two Tour doubles titles previously with other partners.
"It was a great match today," Peng said. "It was really exciting for us and the crowd too, I think. I'm really happy to win with my partner. We have been good friends for eight years now and she's always been helping me and giving me advice, so to share this with her, it really doesn't get any better than this."