Klara And Caro To Meet For Title
Published August 07, 2010 12:00
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - The anticipated showdown between the e-Boks Sony Ericsson Open's No.1 and No.2 seeds is not to be, after Klara Zakopalova shocked second-seeded Li Na in the semis on Saturday. Top seed Caroline Wozniacki nearly didn't make the date either: once again the Danish icon was pushed the distance, this time by Anna Chakvetadze.
Playing her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour semifinal since 2008, No.51-ranked Zakopalova got off to a blazing start against world No.11 Li. But the Chinese star broke the 28-year-old Czech in the first game of the second set - and twice more to force the contest to a third.
The first three games of the decider involved breaks too. While Zakopalova was first to hold on to her delivery for 3-1, Li pulled it back to 4-4. But another break gave the Czech an opportunity to serve for the match, and this did without incident, winning 63 16 64.
"I started very well in the first set but then I lost my concentration a bit," said Zakopalova. "In the third set I just stayed positive and aggressive because it was the only way.
"It's been a couple of years since I was in a final, and I'm very happy that I've done it again here," she added. "Caroline is No.3 in the world. Of course she is the favorite, but I like playing the top players. I can learn from them and I'm not under pressure."
Having been ranked as high as No.27, in 2006, Zakopalova is no stranger to Tour finals - she'll be playing her tenth, and gunning for a third title. Her previous two titles came at 's-Hertogenbosch and Portoroz in 2005, while her seven runner-up finishes span from Antwerp in 2001 to Viña del Mar in 2008.
Variable form led her back to the ITF Circuit earlier this season, but she is coming off a round of 16 showing at Wimbledon - her career-best showing at a Grand Slam. Still, since then she has suffered first round losses at Bad Gastein and Istanbul, while being seeded at both events.
Wozniacki, meanwhile, will be contesting the 15th final of her young career. To date she is 7-7, going 1-1 this season by defending her title at Ponte Vedra Beach and finishing runner-up at Indian Wells.
Today, after breaking Chakvetadze in the fourth game, Wozniacki breezed through the first set. But in the second it was former world No.5 Chakvetadze who raced to a 3-1 lead as her groundstrokes found their groove. Although Wozniacki broke right back, her Russian opponent again drew blood to force the decider. There it was Chakvetadze's turn to play catch-up, but although she retrieved a break to level at 4-4, Wozniacki stole the momentum again and served it out, 61 26 64.
"I'm really happy to be in the finals here," said Wozniacki, "It was another tough match today but I feel like I'm in good shape, so I'm fine.
"I haven't played Klara for a while, and things have changed since then," the 20-year-old added, referring to the pair's sole meeting at the Japan Open nearly three years ago (which Wozniacki won in a third set tie-break). "But she's having a great tournament, playing aggressively and going for her shots. I'm just going to enjoy myself out there and try my best."
The doubles final was also played, with top-seeded Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld beating fourth-seeded Vitalia Diatchenko and Tatiana Poutchek, 64 64. The win represents a second Tour doubles title for Goerges, and an eleventh for Groenefeld. The German duo was playing together for just the second time, having reached the semis at Bad Gastein two weeks ago.