Melinda, Queen of Québec
Published September 20, 2009 12:00
QUÉBEC CITY, Canada - In an all-lefty final in Québec it was Melinda Czink who prevailed and finally captured her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title, beating Lucie Safarova at the Bell Challenge on Sunday, 46 63 75.
Playing in her second career final, Czink hung tough with Safarova after the first set, breaking in the fourth game of the second to even it at a set apiece. In the third they traded breaks twice early on but it was Czink who took the decisive one, breaking at 30 at 5-5 before serving it out at love.
"It feels great. I haven't really processed it yet but I will," Czink said. "I went match by match this week. This was the toughest match this week. I had to take some risks on her serve today - sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. We really pushed each other, and I'm happy I could come out the winner."
"We both played a good match. I think it just came down to a few balls and she did it better," Safarova said. "The whole week I was trying to be very aggressive and move forward, but she did the same today and I had trouble dealing with it. I didn't feel I did anything wrong today. It could have gone either way.
"I hope to come back next year and do better. Unless you win, you can always do better!"
Although the final saw the No.5 seed take out the No.4 seed it was as minor an upset as one could get. Coming into this week, Czink ranked just two spots below Safarova - No.52 to No.50. The 26-year-old had also taken out two higher seeds in the last two rounds, Nadia Petrova in the quarterfinals (No.1) and Aleksandra Wozniak in the semis (No.3). The final was a first-time meeting.
Czink's first final on the Tour was somewhat historic, in that it was the second time she and her championship opponent played that week: at the Australian Open tune-up event in Canberra in 2005, Czink lost to Ana Ivanovic in the final round of qualifying and then, after making the main draw as a lucky loser, once again met Ivanovic in the final, the only known time that has happened. That time she lost to the Serb, who would eventually rise to No.1 in the world. In an unrelated note, Czink got her first win over Ivanovic just a few weeks ago.
Safarova is now 4-3 lifetime in Tour finals, her four titles coming at Estoril and Forest Hills in 2005, Gold Coast in 2006 and Forest Hills in 2008. She has had runner-up finishes at 's-Hertogenbosch in 2005 and Paris [Indoors] in 2007.
Vania King and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova captured the doubles title earlier in the day. The top-seeded American-Czech pairing beat Sofia Arvidsson and Severine Brémond Beltrame without trouble, 61 63. It was King's eighth Tour doubles title and Zahlavova Strycova's fourth.