Lucie, Vera Eye Turkish Delight
Published August 01, 2009 06:33
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Another first-time champion will join the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour winners' circle on Sunday, as Vera Dushevina and Lucie Hradecka do battle for the $220,000 Istanbul Cup. It will be the first meeting between the two players, who between them have been to five Tour finals before, but left empty-handed on each occasion.
First through to the title match on Saturday was eighth-seeded Czech Hradecka, who survived a three-hour marathon against recent Bad Gastein champion Andrea Petkovic. Including that title run and her exploits this week, the 21-year-old German went into today's match on an eight-match streak, and for much of the encounter with Hradecka she seemed destined to reach back-to-back finals.
However, after losing the first set in a tie-break Hradecka recovered a break in each of the second and third sets to overcome her unseeded rival, 67(5) 75 75.
"At the moment I'm so tired, but I still have a doubles final to play today! But of course I'm so happy because I'm in the singles final," Hradecka said. "I know it's going to be a tough match tomorrow but I'll just try and play my best."
In the second semi, No.5 seed Dushevina maintained her winning edge over unseeded Timea Bacsinszky, improving her head-to-head record against the Swiss player to 3-0. For Bacsinszky, the loss meant she is still searching for her first Tour final having now reached the semis on four occasions, most recently at Prague two weeks ago.
Dushevina in fact led 62 40 before her opponent won three games on the trot, but the Russian held serve and broke again in the final game to take the match, 62 64.
"I'm very happy that I'm in the final," she said. "I had good results in Madrid where I played five or six matches, same in Eastbourne, five matches I won, the sixth I lost. So tomorrow is going to be my fifth match here and I hope it's going to be good."
With 14 ITF Circuit singles titles to her name, 24-year-old Hradecka will be playing the third Tour final of her career, after Bad Gastein in 2008, where she was beaten by Pauline Parmentier, and earlier this year at Strasbourg, where she fell to Aravane Rezai.
Likewise Dushevina, a three-time runner-up on the Tour, will be gunning for her first title on Sunday. The 22-year-old's most recent finals run was at Stockholm just over 12 months ago; she also made the final there in 2007, and at Eastbourne in 2005.
Hradecka did indeed bounce back for the doubles, partnering fellow Czech Renata Voracova as the No.3 seeds to edge second-seeded Julia Goerges and Patty Schnyder in a match tie-break, 26 63 1210. The win marks a second Tour doubles trophy in two weeks for Hradecka, who also won at Bad Gastein with Andrea Hlavackova, and her seventh overall. It is Voracova's fifth Tour doubles title. The pair also won together at Bad Gastein and Portoroz in 2007 and Portoroz in 2006.