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Petrova Conquers Québec City

Nadia Petrova won the Bell Challenge in Québec City, a title that propelled her into the Sony Ericsson Championships field.

Published November 02, 2008 12:00

Petrova Conquers Québec City
Nadia Petrova

QUÉBEC CITY, Canada - She needed to reach the semifinals in Québec City to qualify as an alternate for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2008, and with three easy wins to start the week she achieved the feat with flying colors. But she didn't stop there by any means, winning that semifinal handily on Saturday then battling past a game Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Sunday to capture the Bell Challenge title.

Petrova, the top seed - as well as a heavy tournament favorite given her exceptional form over the last six months - was barely tested en route to the final, losing a total of nine games against qualifiers in her first two matches then notching a 61 64 win over Melinda Czink in the quarterfinals to earn the aforementioned alternate spot at the season-ending event. Her string of straight set wins was extended as she then beat first-time semifinalist - and lucky loser - Angela Haynes, 61 63.

Another first-timer - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, seeded No.6 and playing the first singles final of her career - was next for Petrova. And she took it to the Russian early on, using her all-court offensive game to offset her opponent's own aggressive game. Mattek-Sands won the first set and was up a break in the second set before Petrova got her mojo back, taking that second set then cruising for a 46 64 61 victory.

"Bethanie made it so difficult for me today," Petrova said. "I really had to work hard. The 4-all game in the second set was probably the key moment of the match; it was important I won it. I'm happy how I finished in the third set.

"It was really wonderful to win this event. To finish off the season like this is wonderful. Now I have a long journey ahead of me to Doha, but it'll definitely be worth it. And then it'll be really nice to put the racquets aside for a few weeks!"

Petrova won her second Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title of the year, having won Cincinnati in August. She now has nine titles to her name, and will join Agnieszka Radwanska as an alternate in the Qatari capital.

Mattek-Sands, whose best results before this week were three semifinal appearances, reached her first career final with some entertaining wins, most notably coming back from a 5-3 deficit in the second round to beat Canada's Valérie Tétreault, but also taking out No.5-seeded Canadian darling Aleksandra Wozniak in a tight semifinal. For a player who hadn't played since the US Open, not so shabby.

"I didn't play for a month after the US Open because I hurt my hip there, and I was playing outdoors in Arizona ever since then," the 23-year-old said. "So I was trying to get more and more comfortable with each match here in Québec City. I had a great week this week. It was my first time here, and now I can tell why it's one of the players' favorite tournaments. Congratulations to Nadia - she played really well all week, and I wish her luck this week in Doha."

Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Vania King took the doubles title earlier in the day. The No.2 seeds, they edged No.4 seeds Jill Craybas and Tamarine Tanasugarn in a close two-setter, 76(3) 64. It was the pair's first title together; Groenefeld now has eight Tour doubles titles to her name, while King has six Tour doubles titles.

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