Wicky Wins In Auckland
Published January 09, 2010 12:00
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - It was unsure she would even play the 2010 season, but in its very first week she proved why that would have been a catastrophe. Yanina Wickmayer's year got off to a winning start, as she won the third Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title of her career at the ASB Classic.
In the last week of the 2009 season Wickmayer was dealt a one year ban from the Flemish Anti-Doping Tribunal due to the Whereabouts Rule, where she failed to report her whereabouts for drug testing three times; she appealed and just a few weeks later the ban was overturned due to insufficient justification.
One of the game's brightest rising stars was reinstated into the mix and already the winner's circle, as a No.3-seeded Wickmayer plowed through the draw without the loss of a set, beating No.1 seed Flavia Pennetta in the final, 63 62.
"Flavia made me play my best tennis," Wickmayer said. "I knew the ball would just keep coming back, so I was really aggressive. I knew I would either play amazing or make a lot of mistakes, but I felt really good and even when I made mistakes, I knew as the match went further I wouldn't make them anymore.
"I'm happy the way everything turned out. This week will stay in my heart and soul for the rest of my life."
"I guess it has been Belgium's week," Wickmayer added. "It's nice to have a good week for us in the first week of the year. Let's hope we can continue."
Wickmayer is now 3-2 in finals, her first two titles coming at Estoril and Linz last year. She was a runner-up at Birmingham in 2008 (to Kateryna Bondarenko) and at 's-Hertogenbosch last year (to Tamarine Tanasugarn).
Pennetta didn't drop a set all week either, in fact she only lost 16 games in her four wins to reach the final. She fell to 8-10 lifetime in finals.
"She was too good today. She played unbelievable," Pennetta said. "I didn't think I played that badly. Of course I would have liked to win but it was a good week for me. Hopefully next time I can do something different."
World No.1s Cara Black and Liezel Huber won the doubles title earlier in the day, beating Natalie Grandin and Laura Granville in the final, 76(4) 62. Despite a slew of breaks early in the first set the two teams remained mostly on serve until the tie-break, where the unseeded duo of Grandin and Granville raced out to a 3-0 lead; top seeds Black and Huber surged back to take the set though and never looked back to capture their 28th title together.
"This is definitely a great way to start this year," Huber said. "We loved our week in Auckland. We hope this gives us confidence for the rest of the year and our goal to win some Grand Slams."
The ASB Classic welcomed five Top 20 players for the first time in its history this year, with Pennetta and Wickmayer being joined by Li Na, Francesca Schiavone and Virginie Razzano. Schiavone lost to Pennetta in the semis; Li lost to Kaia Kanepi in the first round and Razzano lost to Kimiko Date Krumm in the second round, the first Top 20 win of the 39-year-old's comeback.