Fourth Time Lucky for Golovin
Published April 08, 2007 12:00
AMELIA ISLAND, FL, USA - It was fourth time lucky for one of women's tennis' most promising future stars on Sunday afternoon, as Tatiana Golovin captured her career-first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title at the Bausch & Lomb Championships, held on the green clay of the Amelia Island Plantation.
Seeded No.8 and playing in just her second career tournament on the green clay surface, Golovin winning her first title this past week seemed like something of a long shot at the start; but after winning her early rounds she only got better, cruising past Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, defying an 0-5 head-to-head against Ana Ivanovic in the semis and, in the final, crushing top seed and defending champion Nadia Petrova easily in straight sets, 62 61.
"It all happened so fast," said Golovin, who missed last year's tournament with a left ankle sprain suffered in Miami. "Last year I was sitting in my room with my cast on, watching Petrova in the semis or finals, wishing I was here. It's definitely emotional for me to be here a year later in the final, winning the tournament."
The one-hour, 16-minute rout was her most impressive performance; despite the fact she had won four of their five previous encounters, she hadn't won any of her three previous Tour finals, including against the Russian in Stuttgart last fall. This time, the French teenager said she had more belief in herself.
"Beating Venus and Ivanovic, and especially Ivanovic because I'd never beaten her before, gave me confidence. Today I knew I could beat Petrova. I knew I had the weapons and I told myself to stay aggressive and use my forehand; it put a lot of pressure on her. When the last games came, I didn't get scared.
"Today was different from my other finals because I went out there feeling I was ready to win my first title, that I worked hard for it and deserved it."
"It wasn't a really nice match for me today; I just wasn't sharp enough," said Petrova, who was trying to defend a title for the very first time. "I was just a split second late to get to the balls and didn't have my concentration. She played solid, though; she doesn't have weaknesses. It's about time she won her first title!"
Golovin, who has been hovering just inside the Top 20 for most of this season, notched her eighth Top 10 victory; three of those eight are over Petrova, the first two coming last year at Paris [Indoors] and the US Open. Their first encounter came at Charleston two years ago, which was also Golovin's first event on green clay; there, she reached the semis with wins over Williams and the Russian.
The last time Petrova won so few games in a match came almost two years ago, with a 62 61 loss to Sania Mirza at San Diego. Sunday's loss snapped her 14-match win streak on green clay, which included titles here and at Charleston last year and her four wins en route to the 2007 Amelia Island final.
In a tournament full with upsets, Petrova was the lone Top 4 seed to reach her alotted semifinal berth. No.4-seeded Patty Schnyder was the first to go, ousted by Williams in the second round; No.2 seed Jelena Jankovic and No.3 seed Daniela Hantuchova were taken down by No.6 seed Ivanovic and No.13 seed Sybille Bammer in the quarters.
The doubles went to first-time duo Mara Santangelo and Katarina Srebotnik, who took down No.4 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual in the final, 63 76(4). They also ousted No.1 seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the semifinals. It is Santangelo's third career Tour doubles title, while Srebotnik picks up her 15th. Both had previously won titles earlier this year as well.
"We didn't really know what to expect, but the outcome was great," Srebotnik said. "We had two unbelievably tough wins, which gave us a lot of confidence, and really we knew we could beat the best teams. We just stayed positive."
"I did my best; I'm very happy to play with Katarina and I'm very happy to win," added Santangelo.