Sabine Serves Up First Tour Title
Published April 19, 2009 12:00
CHARLESTON, SC, USA - Things got very interesting at the end but Sabine Lisicki kept her cool and capped the most unlikely run in Family Circle Cup history Sunday, beating Caroline Wozniacki in the final, 62 64.
Before this year the lowest-ranked player ever to win the Family Circle Cup was Iva Majoli, who won the 2002 title ranked No.58; thus at No.63 and just sneaking into the seedings at No.16, Lisicki wasn't on anyone's radar. That was, until she beat Venus.
Facing 41-time Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles titlist Williams - the No.2 seed - the 19-year-old Lisicki, who had never won a title on the Tour, matched her big serve for big serve and huge groundstroke for huge groundstroke, even rallying from behind in both sets to pull off her biggest career win, 64 76(5).
"She's just a great champion. I still can't really believe I won," Lisicki said after the win. "It's one of my biggest wins. I think my win against Lindsay Davenport was really big as well, representing my country and beating her in my very first Fed Cup experience. But beating Venus Williams here was just awesome."
Lisicki's momentum only grew from there, as she went relatively untested in her next three matches, beating Elena Vesnina in the quarterfinals, 64 60; No.6 seed Marion Bartoli in the semifinals, 63 61; and finally No.5 seed Wozniacki, 62 64. She had five match points in the last game before closing it out on her sixth.
"I really couldn't believe I won, because I didn't use my first match points. When I finally won - I don't know which match point it was, seventh, eighth, it felt like 30th - I was so happy," Lisicki said. "I've worked so hard the last couple of weeks and months and it's finally paying off. I knew I had the game to beat those players, and now I think I'm more mature to win the whole tournament."
"I wasn't moving well today like I have been in other tournaments, but Sabine was playing really well, attacking and not making a lot of errors. It was tough for me today," Wozniacki said. "This is a fantastic tournament. It was great to be here and play the final. Sabine played really well. Congratulations to her."
Like much of the world's elite, Lisicki's game produced a flurry of winners during the tournament, including a grand total of 36 aces through six matches. Nine of those aces came against Wozniacki, alongside 25 groundstroke winners.
Wozniacki had been on a roll on American clay, winning her first title of the year in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and notching four more wins in Charleston to take her streak to nine in a row. The 18-year-old Dane would have broken into the Top 10 - at No.10 - by winning the title; but the No.5 seed's near-three-hour semifinal win over top seed Elena Dementieva seemed to catch up with her.
"Before I came to the clay court season I wasn't really comfortable on the clay. It was the surface I liked the least," Wozniacki added. "After these two weeks, I really proved myself wrong. I've proven I'm good on this surface as well. So now, I don't know which is my least favorite surface. I like everything."
The doubles title went to Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Nadia Petrova, the No.4 seeds, who saved three match points in the match tie-break to beat unseeded team Liga Dekmeijere and Patty Schnyder earlier on Sunday, 67(5) 62 119. It was their first title together; Mattek-Sands now has five Tour doubles titles to her name while Petrova has 16. They were playing together for the third time.
See photos in the Photo Gallery presented by Dubai Duty Free.