Rezai Reaps Bastad Crown
Published July 10, 2010 12:00
BASTAD, Sweden - The big matches are when the greats of women's tennis shine, and Aravane Rezai continued to show she is quickly becoming a part of that conversation as she won her fourth straight Sony Ericsson WTA Tour final, edging Gisela Dulko for the Collector Swedish Open Women, 63 46 64.
Dulko, the No.4 seed, had beaten Rezai in both of their previous encounters. But the No.2-seeded Rezai had made some major improvements since the last time they met in 2008, including winning her first three titles and recently making it into the Top 20. Though it wasn't easy, she broke her Dulko curse.
Rezai came out strong, building a 63 32 lead and holding two points for 63 42, seemingly headed for a straight set win. Dulko, who had saved match points to win her second round match and was on a new lease of life, came back to life at that point, winning four of the next five games to take the second set.
The momentum swung several times in the third set as Rezai first went up 4-0, then Dulko caught up to 4-3, then Rezai broke for 5-3 and held double match point, and Dulko broke back for 5-4. But Rezai's return game was too strong in the home stretch and she broke one last time to take her fourth career title, following wins at Strasbourg and Bali last year and Madrid earlier this year.
"It was a very difficult match but at the end I showed I could win these matches and these tournaments," Rezai told reporters afterwards. "Gisela kept fighting and showed she can run anything down. She had her tactics, I had my tactics, and it was a great match. I was just trying to show my best tennis.
"Each one of my titles is different. They all mean a lot to me. This week I proved I could be very consistent and that I'm on the right path."
Dulko was playing in her seventh career final and is now 3-4 in those. She had a strong week, her biggest win coming over No.1 seed and good friend Flavia Pennetta in a surprisingly lopsided semifinal match on Friday, 63 61.
Seeded No.1 together, Dulko and Pennetta later took on No.2 seeds Renata Voracova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova for the doubles title and won their fourth tournament of the year with a 76(0) 60 win. They had previously won Premier titles at Miami, Stuttgart and Rome, and now have more titles this year than any other team (the Williams sisters are next with three).
"In the beginning we were a little nervous, but we fought hard and in the tie-break we played really well," Pennetta said. "The second set was perfect."
"It was nice to finish the day like this," Dulko said. "It was tough to come back on court after losing the singles, but Flavia makes it easier for me."
When asked if they would come back next year and potentially go for a third straight doubles title in Bastad, both Pennetta and Dulko said yes.