Greta The Great Conquers Auckland
Published January 08, 2011 12:00
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A few years ago, 30-somethings were a rare species in the winner's circle on the WTA, but on Saturday afternoon Greta Arn proved that is increasingly not the case, beating 21-year-old rising star Yanina Wickmayer for her second career title at the $220,000 ASB Classic.
Arn, 31, was a few spots out of the main draw before the tournament began but made it in after a few withdrawals. She almost lost in the second round, saving five match points to beat No.8 seed Sofia Arvidsson, then went on a tear down the home stretch, defeating No.1 seed Maria Sharapova, No.4 seed Julia Goerges and No.2 seed Yanina Wickmayer in the last three rounds. Her win over Sharapova was her first win in 16 career matches against Top 20 players.
In her 63 63 championship win over Wickmayer, Arn was too strong on serve, saving both break points against her; she snuck in three breaks of her own.
"I feel unbelievable. I'm so happy, I don't even know what to say. My dream come true," Arn said. "I just tried to do my thing. I played my tennis and took it one ball after another. I wanted to move her around because she had a tough match yesterday; she looks fit to me, but it seemed to work today.
"I will definitely be coming back to Auckland next year."
"Greta played well. She did what she had to do, so congratulations to her," Wickmayer said. "She has a different game from the other players. I made way too many mistakes. It wasn't my day, but there will be many more to come."
Arn is now 2-0 in WTA finals, having won her first final at Estoril in 2007. At 31 years, eight months and 28 days, Arn will surpass her career-high of No.81 on Monday's new rankings; she is projected to break into the Top 75.
Wickmayer is now 3-3 in finals. She had won nine matches in a row at the ASB Classic, going 5-0 to win the title last year and 4-0 to get to this year's final. Her near-three hour semifinal with Peng Shuai may have contributed to her loss.
"I had one bad day but I had four great days," Wickmayer said. "I was a little tired - I wouldn't say physically, but mentally. I had to come back a lot of times in my previous matches and fight through a lot of difficult moments."
Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik won their third WTA doubles title together earlier in the day, getting broken in the first game but winning 12 of the next 14 to beat Arvidsson and Marina Erakovic in 51 minutes, 63 60.
"This is a very good start to the year for us," Peschke said. "We had a great time here in Auckland. The tournament was very good to us and we were made to feel very welcome. It really does make a difference to the players."
"We watched them play yesterday and felt as though today was in our hands," Srebotnik commented. "We knew what to expect and what to do."
This is Srebotnik's first tournament since retiring from singles to focus on just doubles. "The switch from singles to doubles hasn't been too bad. Doubles is perfect and it was an easy decision to make. With doubles the points are shorter and it's easier on the body. I don't regret my decision."