Martínez Sánchez Into Final In Bad Gastein
Published July 16, 2011 12:00
BAD GASTEIN, Austria - María José Martínez Sánchez and Patricia Mayr-Achleitner beat the rains on Quarterfinal Friday and it paid off on Semifinal Saturday, as they moved smoothly past weathered opponents into the final.
Austrian wildcard Mayr-Achleitner was the first to move through, reaching her first WTA final with a 60 60 steamrolling of No.8 seed Ksenia Pervak. Pervak, who had completed her rain-suspended quarterfinal win over Laura Pous-Tio earlier in the day, only had one game point in the entire match.
"The feeling's amazing. I can't say it in words," Mayr-Achleitner said. "I felt so great from the beginning when we were warming up, then I was so focused in the match too. It was a perfect day, from the beginning to the end. Pervak was happy she won her first match then only had an hour and 15 minutes before our match, and she must have been tired, but anyways, 60 60 is just amazing.
"I'm so proud and happy to play my first WTA final here in Austria."
Martínez Sánchez followed with a 61 76(5) victory over Kateryna Bondarenko, although things got complicated in the end - she led 5-3 before Bondarenko pushed the second set to a tie-break, and she even let a 4-1 lead close to 4-4 before closing that out. Bondarenko had wrapped up her rain-suspended quarterfinal match earlier in the day, getting past Carla Suárez Navarro.
"Today's match was much different than yesterday with Meusburger, the points were much shorter today," Martínez Sánchez said. "She hits the ball really strong so I had to be very focused in the first three or four shots of the rallies. When I was up 61 53 she started playing even better because she had nothing to lose, no pressure - but mentally I stayed with her and that's why I won."
Martínez Sánchez is now through to her fifth career WTA final. She has a strong 3-1 record in her first four, her titles coming at Bogotá and Bastad in 2009 and Rome in 2010; she was runner-up at Barcelona in 2008. All have been on clay.
"It's difficult to play in altitude - if you don't hit the ball at the right moment, you don't know where the ball's gonna go," the Spaniard said. "But I like these conditions. I feel better and better throughout the week with them, and also when you come to the net it's harder for your opponents to hit passing shots.
"I won Bogotá before, and it's high altitude there too, but there they play with balls with no pressure, so you don't feel it that much. Tomorrow's another day and Patricia is a great player and a great fighter, so we'll see what happens."
"I lost that match, but now it's different because I have all my family and friends here, and the crowd will help me," Mayr-Achleitner said. "It's a new game."