Sevastova Does Latvia Proud
Published May 08, 2010 12:00
ESTORIL, Portugal - Ernests Gulbis has been making big waves for Latvia on the ATP World Tour this year, and now Anastasija Sevastova has joined the movement on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, claiming her first career title at the Estoril Open with a 62 75 win over Arantxa Parra Santonja in the final.
Sevastova cracked the Top 100 last summer and made her first deep run into a Tour event in March, recording her first Top 10 victory against Jelena Jankovic en route to the semifinals. Unseeded in Estoril, the 20-year-old upset two seeds to reach her first final - No.1 seed Agnes Szavay and No.7 seed Peng Shuai - and beat fellow unseeded Parra Santonja in straight sets for the title.
"I'm very happy and excited to win my first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title. I've played pretty well in my last two matches, so I think I deserve it," Sevastova joked. "It was tough for both of us because we warmed up for 10 minutes after the rain then had to step on court to play a final. I adapted faster and although she worked her way into the match in the second set, I fought to the end."
Sevastova is the first player from Latvia to win a singles title on the Tour since Larisa Neiland won in Schenectady, New York in 1993. In fact, Neiland reaching the 1984 final at the same tournament was the last time a Latvian woman even reached a singles final - 16 years ago. Sevastova has ended that dry spell.
Parra Santonja was also playing her first career singles final on the Tour. She upset No.2 seed Sorana Cirstea in the semifinals a day earlier.
"At the beginning of the week I didn't feel very good, but I worked my way through," Parra Santonja said. "I tried to come back in the final, and I thought I could make it. I knew I had to fight until the last ball, but today I didn't have that luck. I am happy for the whole week though, and I will be ready for next time!
"I've been here four times and I enjoy it every time I come here. I feel like I'm in Spain with all the support. I hope to come back here next year."
The doubles title went to Cirstea and Anabel Medina Garrigues, seeded No.1 in the team event. They beat Vitalia Diatchenko and Aurélie Védy, 61 75, in the final. It was the pair's first title together; Cirstea won her third Tour doubles title while Medina Garrigues won her 15th, a total that includes two French Open championships with Virginia Ruano Pascual, in 2008 and 2009.
"I'm really happy to win the Estoril Open," Cirstea said. "It was really weird conditions here with it raining all morning and us changing venues, but I want to thank Anabel for playing with me. We make a really good team!"
"It has been a good two weeks for me, winning the doubles in Fès and now here in Estoril," Medina Garrigues said. "I'm very happy to have won with Sorana. I haven't had a great start to the year, so these titles really help my confidence."