Aravane On Top in Bali
Published November 08, 2009 12:00
BALI, Indonesia - When the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour was promoting the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions as a showcase of the up-and-coming stars of women's tennis, they couldn't have alluded to a better ending. Although it may not have been the ending she wanted, 22-year-old Aravane Rezai won her biggest career title against Marion Bartoli.
Rezai, who won her first Tour title in Strasbourg, used her big groundstrokes to hang tough with the top-seeded Bartoli, rallying from set point down at 3-5 to lead the first set, 6-5, with double set point. Bartoli called the trainer to treat her for a left quadriceps strain but when she went back on court she served a double fault to lose the set, 7-5. At that point she retired in tears.
"It's a great feeling to be here in the final. I'm very sorry for Marion that this happened," Rezai said. "I'd prefer to win in a different way, but it's tennis, a lot of different things happen. The people here are so nice. I was really motivated to win here. I want to thank the sponsors of this tournament and Sony Ericsson, also all the volunteers, the fans who came to support us, the ballboys, the chair umpire, the linesmen... thank you all, you made this tournament great."
"I'm crying right now, but I'm so happy to be here," Bartoli said. "First of all I'd like to congratulate Aravane on the wonderful week she had. She played some great tennis. I have to thank one person - my dad. Thank you so much, daddy. My leg was hurting and I tried my best to carry on, but it was too much pain. I'm sorry I wasn't able to finish today. I'd like to thank Sony Ericsson for making this tour possible, and to Commonwealth Bank for this wonderful tournament."
In their two previous meetings Bartoli had beaten Rezai in straight sets, 62 64 at the French Open in 2007 and 64 62 at Tokyo just a few weeks ago.
Both finalists were immaculate in the lead-up to the final, going 2-0 in their round robin groups then smoking their semifinal foes, Bartoli beating Kimiko Date Krumm, 61 63, and Rezai beating María José Martínez Sánchez, 62 63.
The second seed, Samantha Stosur, also had a shot at finishing the year in the Top 10 in Bali, but she fell in the round robin stage.
The Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions featured the highest-ranked 10 players who won International-level titles in 2009 plus two wildcards (Date Krumm and Sabine Lisicki). This was the tournament's inaugural year but Bali had been a Tour stop for years, at the Tier III tier-level.