Chakvetadze Wins First Title of Year
Published January 12, 2007 12:00
HOBART, Australia - Anna Chakvetadze continued to show why she is one of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's quickest-rising stars this past week in Hobart, winning her third career title at the Moorilla Hobart International. She clinched the title with a 63 76(3) win Friday over Russian compatriot Vasilisa Bardina.
Chakvetadze, the top seed, grabbed two early breaks en route to a commanding first set victory, but the contest heated up in the second as the two 19-year-olds went to a tie-break; it was then that Chakvetadze truly came out shining, reeling off four points in a row to start and then closing out the first all-Russian final of the year in one hour, 44 minutes.
"I actually had some troubles with my serve and forehand today, but I hope I will get better by Monday," said Chakvetadze, who had never before faced Bardina. "She is a great fighter. She'll keep running and fighting. I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of Vasilisa, because she's improved a lot. The crowd was awesome, they were cheering 50-50 for Vasilisa and for me as well."
"I think it was a good match," said Bardina, who qualified for the main draw then made it all the way to her first career final. "It's amazing. It's my best result and I hope not the last one for the future. I played before, and everybody knew I could play well but I didn't show my game. Now most people will know who I am."
Bardina surged from No.70 to No.48 on the rankings this week, her Top 50 debut.
Chakvetadze was one of the breakout stories during the second half of last year, capturing her first titles at Guangzhou and Moscow and notching five Top 10 wins along the way. She cracked the Top 20 in that time and ended the season at No.13. She remains at No.13 despite winning her third title.
"I'm happy that I've won my first title of the year," said Chakvetadze, who heads to this coming fortnight's Australian Open as the No.12 seed and will face Hobart semifinalist Sybille Bammer in the opening round. Bammer reached a Tour semifinal for the second time in her career at the Moorilla Hobart International.
Another woman who made lots of noise this past week was Serena Williams, who fell to Bammer in a tight, three set quarterfinal.
"I think she played the match of her life," Williams said. "I've never heard of her quite frankly. I didn't play that well and I made a lot of unforced errors. I think I'm a little rusty. You wish these players would play like this all the time instead of just against me. She played unbelievable."
No.4 seeds Elena Likhovtseva and Elena Vesnina captured the doubles title, with a 26 61 62 win over No.1 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual. It is Likhovtseva's 27th career Tour doubles title, and Vesnina's second.