Wozniacki Wins Ponte Vedra Beach
Published April 12, 2009 12:00
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL, USA - They were wounded warriors, both coming back from match point down earlier in the week. But when they played for the title one was far less wounded, as Caroline Wozniacki beat near-namesake Aleksandra Wozniak, 61 62, to win The MPS Group Championships on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Wozniak, the fifth seed at the International event, had her scare in the quarterfinals, saving a match point late in the third set of a 63 36 76(7) win over Tamira Paszek; Wozniacki, seeded second, survived an even more dramatic affair in the semifinals, saving four match points in the third set to edge Elena Vesnina, 26 63 76(4).
In the absence of No.1 seed Nadia Petrova - the semifinal victim and first Top 10 scalp for Wozniak - Wozniacki was the favorite to win the title on Sunday, and she certainly delivered, cruising to a 61 62 victory and her fourth career singles title on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, having won her first three titles at Stockholm, New Haven and Tokyo last year, all of those titles coming on hardcourts.
"It's a great start for the clay court season - I can't ask for anything more than winning a title," Wozniacki said afterwards. "I played so many tough players here, and it was good to get some tough matches, because it proves I can beat those players, and that I'm playing well on clay. Hopefully I can keep this up."
Wozniak, who had lost her only previous meeting with Wozniacki by nearly the same scoreline - a 61 61 loss in the early rounds of Wimbledon last summer - still had a fantastic week herself, reaching her third Tour final (after a runner-up finish at Fès in 2007 and a title at Stanford in 2008) and beating the world No.10.
"It's very sad to get all the way to the final and then lose," a dejected Wozniak stated afterwards. "I know I had a great week but it's just so disappointing. She played really well today and there was just nothing I could do."
A smattering of marathon matches dominated the headlines, particularly on Quarterfinal Friday, as three of the four duels went to 7-5 or 7-6 in the third set. But early in the week it was Madison Keys who stole the show: the unheralded American, who turned 14 years old in February, became the seventh-youngest player ever to win a singles main draw match on the Tour with her 75 64 win over world No.81 Alla Kudryavtseva in the first round. Coached by John Evert - brother of Chris Evert - and training at the Evert Academy, Keys may be one to watch.
The doubles title went to the unseeded pairing of Chinese Taipei's Chuang Chia-Jung and India's Sania Mirza, who upset No.1 seeds Kveta Peschke and Lisa Raymond in a competitive match tie-break final, 63 46 107. Both Chuang and Mirza had won several doubles titles on the Tour with other partners previously but this was the Asian pairing's first team triumph together.
"This was our second tournament together, so we have had a lot more match practice together," Mirza said. "Kveta and Lisa have been playing for a long time and they're really experienced, and we're really happy to have beaten them. We just played the big points better at the end, I think that was the difference."
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