Flavia Nets Ninth Title in Marbella
Published April 11, 2010 12:00
MARBELLA, Spain - Arriving nearly two days after the tournament began, and to a field that included two of the Top 10, the odds were stacked against her. But Flavia Pennetta just wouldn't be stopped in Marbella, blazing into the final without losing a set then beating Carla Suárez Navarro, 62 46 63.
Pennetta arrived to the Andalucía Tennis Experience on Tuesday having just come from winning the doubles in Miami alongside her good friend, Gisela Dulko. Seeded No.2, the transition from hard to clay was no problem for the Italian, who didn't lose a set in her first four rounds, without a day off.
On the top half, No.8 seed Suárez Navarro was grinding her way into the final, her second Sony Ericsson WTA Tour final (the first one coming here a year ago, where she was runner-up to Jelena Jankovic). The young Spaniard with the classy one-handed backhand rallied from a set down in her quarterfinal and semifinal, including a comeback in the semis against No.5 seed María José Martínez Sánchez, where she was a point away from 62 41 down.
Sunday's final was a close one, with Pennetta rolling to the first set, 6-2, but Suárez Navarro evening it with a 6-4 second set. Pennetta was treated for cramping in the third and faced a point to go down 4-2 but she found an extra gear, winning four games in a row to end the match. The Italian won after ripping a backhand down the line on match point, forcing Suárez to hit into the net.
"I just got the better of her at the end," Pennetta said. "I started well then got a bit tired, and Carla started playing more aggressively. I could have won it in two sets; I had to start all over again in the third, but from 3-all I played very well. I think Carla will have many chances to win this tournament though.
"People were telling me how good this tournament is, and they were right. The organization was perfect and you feel very relaxed here. I will definitely try to return next year. It's one of the best tournaments on the circuit."
"No one likes losing a final but it was a great week. I defeated some dangerous opponents, so I'm not too disappointed," Suárez Navarro said. "I was a litle bit tired but Flavia was the favorite to win the final and I congratulate her. She adjusted well after having very little time to adapt after arriving late from Miami."
Pennetta now has nine Tour titles to her name, seven of which have come on clay. She is now 9-10 lifetime in career singles finals, as well.
After the trophy ceremony, there was a dedication ceremony to Virginia Ruano Pascual, who played the last singles match of her career here (losing to Aravane Rezai) and will finish up her doubles career at the end of the season.
Pennetta was one of three big marquee names to make the trip to Marbella. Victoria Azarenka was the top seed but retired during her quarterfinal match against Martínez Sánchez due to a left thigh strain; Kim Clijsters, fresh off winning the singles title in Miami, won her first round match before falling in the second round to Beatriz García Vidagany, who was in her first Tour main draw.
Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won the doubles title later on Sunday with a 64 62 win over Maria Kondratieva and Yaroslava Shvedova in the final. It was the No.3-seeded pair's first doubles title together; Errani won her third individual Tour doubles title while Vinci collected her fourth Tour doubles title.