Bartoli Beats Kvitova, Prevails In Eastbourne
Published June 18, 2011 12:00
EASTBOURNE, England - Down a match point in the first round, it wasn't looking like her tournament. But Marion Bartoli never stopped believing and after surviving Lucie Safarova she kept on going, and Saturday she toughed out a 61 46 75 win over another Czech lefty, Petra Kvitova, for her first grass court title at the Premier-level AEGON International in Eastbourne.
Bartoli had to fight for her life in her first match of the week, down 5-3 in the third set and a match point at 6-5 in the tie-break before surviving Safarova, 63 36 76(7). She didn't lose a set in her next three matches and looked headed for another straightfoward win as she built a 61 31 lead against Kvitova in the final.
In her first grass court final but a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, the No.5-seeded Kvitova used her big power game to push the match to a third, right to 5-all - but Bartoli broke and served it out, Kvitova misfiring a forehand to end it.
Kvitova compiled the bigger numbers in the final with 40 winners and 41 errors (Bartoli had 14 winners and 20 errors). But Bartoli had bigger numbers on the bigger points (5/11 on break points compared to 3/10 for Kvitova).
Bartoli captured her sixth WTA title and first on grass. It was her second Premier-level WTA title, following her win in Stanford in 2009. She has now won 13 of her last 15 matches going into the grass court major, Wimbledon.
"We were seven out of the Top 10 players plus Venus and Serena, so it was definitely a very hard task to win the tournament," the No.9-ranked Bartoli said. "It was a huge challenge again today and it's great to come up with a win here.
"I've always loved coming to Eastbourne, even when I'm not winning the title!"
With rain washing the entire Friday schedule out, both women had to double up on Saturday morning, Bartoli routing No.7 seed Sam Stosur in an hour and 10 minutes, 63 61, and Kvitova ending Daniela Hantuchova's run with a 76(9) 42 retirement victory - Hantuchova retired with a left abdominal strain.
"Playing two matches back-to-back in the same day, I wasn't used to that anymore. It reminds me of my junior days," Bartoli added. "But I think it was an entertaining match. Petra was hitting the ball very hard and deep, so all credit to her for coming back. I was fighting and trying to find a way to win."
"I wasn't able to win today, but it was a big step for me this week. It was good practice for Wimbledon," Kvitova commented afterwards. "The conditions were tough - I was confused all week here, because you have to fight against the wind and the other player. But it was the same for both players."
No.1 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik recorded a 59-minute, 63 60 win over No.2 seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond to take the doubles title. It was Peschke and Srebotnik's fifth WTA title together, following wins at Indian Wells and New Haven last year and at Auckland and Doha earlier this year. It was Peschke's 19th individual WTA doubles title and Srebotnik's 26th.
"It was weird to play semifinals and finals in the same day, and we're very happy to win them both," Srebotnik said. "Actually the whole week here wasn't easy to play because of the windy and rainy conditions, but we dealt with it well. We're delighted to get another title under our belt, especially going into Wimbledon."
"We played some good matches here so I hope we'll have a good tournament at Wimbledon," Peschke said. "It was great preparation. I hope we go far."
Huber and Raymond have really come on strong in their last few events, and this week they reached their very first WTA doubles final together.
"We had a great semifinal. It was quite unusual playing two matches in one day - it was like an anticlimax coming from such a great match and not playing so great in the final," Huber said. "All credit to our opponents though, they played great. We're really looking forward to Wimbledon - it's the biggest one for us."
Huber's parents attended the final. "They've been following me around more this year - when you're getting towards the end of your career your parents become even more important!" she declared. "They'll be cooking a lot for me during Wimbledon - and for Lisa also, she's more than welcome to come and eat too!"