Shahar's Chinese Triumph
Published September 20, 2009 12:00
GUANGZHOU, China - Shahar Peer made a triumphant return to the winner's circle in Guangzhou, China on Sunday, grinding past first-time finalist Alberta Brianti for her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title in more than three years, 63 64. It was the Israeli's fourth career singles title on the Tour.
Peer, who was the No.5 seed, made it through to the final without losing a set - in fact, so did No.7 seed Brianti. But while Peer had played for several titles previously - she was 3-1 lifetime in finals coming in - Brianti had never been beyond the semifinals on Tour, and perhaps the experience gap got in the way.
"I'm very happy to win this title. I haven't been in the finals for almost two and a half years, so winning this title is really important to me," Peer said. "At the beginning of the match she played really, really well. She was very aggressive and dominating the points. I was a bit nervous - I wasn't hitting the ball very well. But I found my rhythm. It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to win today."
Peer's first three titles came at Pattaya City, Prague and Istanbul in 2006. She was also runner-up once, to Venus Williams at Memphis in February 2007.
Brianti's best previous result on the Tour came at Portoroz earlier this summer, where she was a semifinalist, falling to world No.1 Dinara Safina. The 29-year-old Italian upset one seed, No.7 seed Ayumi Morita, en route to her first final.
Only one of the Top 4 seeds made their projected semifinal spots, that being No.3 seed Peng Shuai, who had to retire against Peer in that round due to a right wrist injury. No.2 seed Zheng Jie was a late withdrawal from the event due to a left wrist injury; Anabel Medina Garrigues and Katarina Srebotnik, seeded No.1 and No.4, lost in the second and first rounds, respectively.
Olga Govortsova and Tatiana Poutchek won the doubles title with a 36 62 108 match tie-break win over Kimiko Date Krumm and Sun Tiantian straight after the singles final. Date Krumm and Sun burst out to a 5-2 lead in the match tie-break but the Belarusian pair kicked back into gear right when it mattered most, winning eight of the last 11 points to snag the title. Govortsova won her second Tour doubles title; Poutchek took home her fifth.