Loit Leaves Acapulco On Top
Published March 03, 2007 12:00
ACAPULCO, México - Two of the most successful players in Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presented by HSBC history went to battle Saturday night, and it was the craftier one who prevailed, as Emilie Loit dismissed Flavia Pennetta in straight sets for the title, held on the red clay of Acapulco.
Loit's 76(0) 64 championship victory over Pennetta was by no means comprehensive. Her No.5-seeded opponent built an early 5-2 lead and held two set points leading 5-3, but the Frenchwoman ground it out and stormed through the tie-break without the loss of a point. The second set was a similar story with Loit reeling off four games to complete the win after falling behind 4-2.
"This is a big moment after seven years of coming here," said Loit, who improved to 20-5 in Acapulco. "It's like a dream, an unbelievable day, a perfect final."
"It was very difficult to deal with her game and I made lots of unforced errors," said Pennetta, who emerged 19-4 at the event. "One moment I'd play well then the next I'd make one mistake after the other. But she played extremely well."
Loit's lifetime record includes quarterfinal showings in 2002, 2004 and 2005, and a pair of semifinal finishes in 2003 and 2006. Now in her seventh career trip to the Mexican city, she finally captured her first title here. She now holds three career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour titles, having claimed back-to-back at Casablanca and Estoril in the spring of 2004.
It goes without mention that this is Loit's favorite stop.
"I wasn't able to win this tournament before so I'm really happy because it's my favorite tournament," the Frenchwoman stated. "It's like a vacation here. I like the beach, the hotel. It's just a beautiful location. I like Acapulco."
"It got away from me a little," said Pennetta, who was facing Loit for the first time. "It was a shame because I was in control of the first and second sets, but I was a little nervous and tense in the important moments. But I was focused the whole time; even after losing the first set I was back in it in the second set."
Pennetta's run to the final was impressive nonetheless, considering she missed a large portion of the last six months with a left wrist injury and, until winning three rounds to reach the Bogotá semifinals last week, had not won a match since last summer's hardcourt season. She made her ninth career final here in Acapulco.
"I had a really good week," she added, "I hope all weeks could be like this."
Pennetta was the only seed to reach the final four in Acapulco after two days of decimation that saw five of the top six drop. Julia Schruff and Sara Errani, who both reached the semifinal round, were responsible for the losses of No.1 seed Marion Bartoli and No.2 seed Tathiana Garbin, respectively. But the biggest headlines of the week came from México's Melissa Torres Sandoval, who made a spirited dash to her first career Tour quarterfinal at her home nation's event.
The doubles title went to Spanish combo Lourdes Domínguez Lino and Arantxa Parra Santonja, who downed Loit and Nicole Pratt in the final on Saturday, 63 63. Dominguez Lino won her second Tour doubles title and Parra Santonja her first.