Bammer Edges Dulko for First Tour Title
Published February 11, 2007 12:00
PATTAYA CITY, Thailand - It has been a long wait, but Sybille Bammer is finally on the list of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour champions. Twelve years after contesting her first professional event (and almost six years after giving birth to her daughter, Tina), the 26-year-old Austrian won the $170,000 Pattaya Women's Open presented by TAT.
And she did so in dramatic style, taking out Argentina's Gisela Dulko in the final, 75 36 75, in just a few minutes shy of three hours. After Bammer won the first set, it was Dulko who took control, cruising through the second and building a 5-3 lead in the third set. The Argentine held three match points in that game, and had a 30-0 lead while trying to serve it out at 5-4; but the stars were in line for the Austrian.
"When I was down in the third I said 'Okay I'm down but I'll keep fighting and try to give my best,'" Bammer said. "Both of us wanted to win, and it was a big fight; today we were both winners. It was a tough match and I was lucky."
Dulko is now 0-2 lifetime in Tour singles finals, having been a runner-up to Zheng Jie at Hobart in 2005.
"It was a really tough match - maybe the longest one I've ever played," Dulko said. "I feel a bit disappointed of course. I had match points and was close to winning the title. Anyway I'm happy I played a final again. Even if I lost and had a chance to win my first title, I feel happy inside because I did the best I could."
Bammer has played amongst the professionals since 1995 and on the Tour since 2000, but it was only this past week where she made a Tour final for the first time, and subsequently came away with her first title. This wasn't the first time she turned heads this season - at the Australian Open tune-up event in Hobart she beat Serena Williams, who would go on to win the year's first major.
Needless to say, Bammer is playing the best tennis of her life; her run in Pattaya City - which included upsets over No.7 seed Vasilisa Bardina, No.4 seed Peng Shuai and finally No.6 seed Dulko - will stay with her for a long, long time.
"I really enjoyed Thailand - it's a very nice country, the people are very nice, I like the weather, the food, and it's always a great hotel and courts," Bammer said. "I'm in good physical shape so I feel the heat and humidity are a little advantage for me, that my opponent is tired and I'm still okay.
"I feel great and I'm very happy. It's one of the happiest days of my life."
Bammer is also the first mother to win a Tour singles title since Laura Arraya won San Juan in 1989.
The doubles went to Nicole Pratt and Mara Santangelo, who beat Chinese Taipei's Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung in the final, 64 76(4). The Australian won her eighth career Tour doubles title, while the Italian claimed her second.
Chan and Chuang were the breakout stars in Melbourne this year, becoming the first players from their country to make a Grand Slam final, finishing runners-up in the women's doubles event.