Venus: Queen Of Acapulco
Published February 27, 2010 12:00
ACAPULCO, México - Ten-hour time difference, her first tournament of the year on clay, opponents she had never seen before... Venus Williams had some serious hurdles in the way but she jumped them all in Acapulco this week, capturing her second straight Abierto Mexicano TELCEL title.
Having flown in from Dubai from a successful title defense at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Williams went straight back to work as the No.1 seed in Acapulco, her first tournament on clay since the French last year. She won her first two rounds in straight sets, but from there on it was anything but easy for the seven-time Grand Slam champion and former No.1.
Facing Spanish qualifier Laura Pous Tio in the quarterfinals, Williams had to pull off one of the biggest comebacks of her career to survive: down 5-1 in the third set, she won six straight games to win, 46 63 75. She had another blip in the second set of her semifinal against Romania's Edina Gallovits but regrouped better in the third set to prevail, 64 26 62, and move into the final.
Williams' final opponent was first-time finalist Polona Hercog - ranked No.60, seeded No.8 - and after a very slow start, losing the first set, 6-2, she saw the finish line and went into overdrive, powering through the next two sets to win her second Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title of the year - and the 43rd of her career - by a 26 62 63 scoreline, one minute past the two hour mark.
"I don't want to stop here - hopefully next year I can win this one three times," Williams said. "I definitely expected her to play tough. She didn't miss too many shots and I have to give her credit, not just for today but for her whole week. Even though she was playing well, I had to find a way to make my game better."
"The public was great, they really lifted me up today," Hercog said. "I went on the court today to win. I did my best and I'm really happy with this week. Today and this whole week was a great experience for me. I hope to take it and move forward from it, and hopefully I continue with this intensity going forward."
Williams already led all active players in career titles coming into this week but is now two ahead of her closest rival (Justine Henin has 41). She is now No.10 on the all-time list (tied with Martina Hingis). This is her ninth career title on clay, second among active players to Henin (who has 12 clay court titles).
"It's not enough," Williams said about those titles. "Hopefully I'll win more and more this year. I love winning titles, I love seeing that number go up. It feels good. There is no limit. Who wants to have a limit on titles? Not me."
Hercog would take the court later for the doubles final. The Slovenian partnered Barbora Zahlavova Strycova against Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci and avenged the singles loss, ousting the Italians in a match tie-break, 26 61 102. Hercog took away her first Tour title of any kind; Zahlavova Strycova won her seventh Tour title (all seven of the Czech's Tour titles have come in doubles).