Szavay Wins First Title in Palermo
Published July 22, 2007 12:00
PALERMO, Italy - One of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's fastest-rising young stars joined the impressive champions roster in Palermo this past week, capturing her first title at the Internazionali Femminili di Tennis di Palermo.
Eighteen-year-old Agnes Szavay announced her arrival among the world's elite on the red clay of the Italian city, capping off her title run with a 60 61 defeat of the tournament's No.2 seed, Martina Müller. No.8 seed Szavay stormed through the first seven games of the championship match with little resistance before a tenacious Müller finally got on the board to even it up, 1-1, in the second set. She pushed Szavay to three deuces in the next game as the momentum seemed to be shifting, but the teenager wasn't derailed and reeled off the last five games.
"I played really well the whole week except my second round match against Bychkova - I played terrible there," said Szavay, who beat the Russian, 64 46 62. "But I played better and better after that. Today, I tried to attack but be patient at the right times and it worked. Now I'm feeling very good as you can imagine."
"I was really tired, because I'd had some tough matches the day before; but she played really well today," Müller said. "I wasn't playing well in the beginning and she took advantage of it. I like clay but she likes it to so it didn't make much of a difference. Hopefully we'll play again soon and I can make it closer."
Prior to the Palermo week, Szavay's best career showings were semifinals at the clay court stops in Modena two years ago and Budapest earlier this year. She is now the fourth Hungarian ever to capture a Tour singles title, following Andrea Temesvari (who won four) and Rita Kuti Kis and Zsofia Gubacsi (one each).
She also joins a fantastic roster of former champs at the event, which includes the likes of Grand Slam winners Mary Pierce and Anastasia Myskina and ex-Top 10 stars Barbara Schett, Sandrine Testud, Patty Schnyder and Dinara Safina.
"I feel good joining that list," Szavay said. "There are other events I want to win too. I just try to do my best all the time. Obviously Budapest is important to me, so maybe I can win there next year. This year in Budapest, I reached the semis, which was very good. Next year, I'll hopefully do better."
Having made her Top 100 debut just five weeks ago, Szavay, who becomes the youngest player this year to win a Tour singles title, made simultaneous Top 50 and Top 40 debuts with her maiden title run, surging from No.53 to No.37.
"Rankings are important to me, but I just concentrate on my game and improve my shots as much as I can," she continued. "It all works together."
Müller had won consecutive matches just once in her first 18 Tour events of the year, winning two matches to make the third round of Berlin. Needless to say, a run to the Palermo final is the highlight of her season thus far.
"It was certainly my best tournament of the year," Müller added. "I played well in Berlin as well but here I won the most rounds. My goal this year was to make another final and it was a great feeling to play another one. Hopefully, I will have another chance to win a title again soon."
The Ukrainian-Belarusian duo of Mariya Koryttseva and Darya Kustava won the Internazionali Femminili di Tennis di Palermo doubles title on Saturday afternoon, coming back from a 4-1 first set deficit to beat Italian wild cards Knapp and Alice Canepa, 64 61. It is the second Tour doubles title for Koryttseva, who won here two years ago with Italy's Giulia Casoni; Kustava picked up her maiden Tour title.