Petrova Defeats Peer, Wins 10th WTA Title
Published July 31, 2011 12:00
COLLEGE PARK, MD, USA - It was a dream ending for the Citi Open, with the Top 2 seeds in the final. And this time the No.2 seed finished No.1, as Nadia Petrova got past Shahar Peer to win her first title in almost three years.
Petrova, now 29, had been one of the top players on the WTA for most of the last decade, winning nine WTA titles and going as high as No.3 in the world in 2006. She began 2011 at No.15 but after a dismal first half of the year - which included a lengthy battle with vertigo - she found herself down at No.37 in June.
"Before Miami I had vertigo for six weeks. It knocked me off my feet," she said. "I couldn't defend my points in the clay court season and felt a little down. I wasn't in a happy place, but Wimbledon was a turning point for me."
After reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon, which marked an amazing 20th time reaching the second week of a Grand Slam, the momentum swung. She came to College Park swinging away on her huge serve, groundstrokes and net game, taking her first three matches in straight sets and, despite losing the first set of her semifinal with Irina Falconi, rebounding for a 16 61 63 win.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the draw, Peer was also finding her range again. She was on a five-match losing streak coming into the tournament but put together an almost identical run to Petrova in reaching the final - three straight set wins before a three-setter in the semifinals, as she battled over three hours to get past No.3 seed Tamira Paszek on a blazing Saturday, 36 76(2) 64.
Sunday was Petrova's day, however. Having never lost in five previous meetings with the 24-year-old Israeli she made it 6-0 with a 75 62 win, losing the first two games of both sets before getting her aggressive but very clean tennis going.
"I knew Shahar wasn't able to hurt me with her serve, especially her second serve, so even though I was broken early in each set I knew I could turn it around," Petrova said. "I'm happy with my record against her. And today was an important match, going for the title - all I had in my mind was to fight for every point and at the end of the day walk away with the beautiful trophy."
Petrova now has 10 WTA titles to her name, this being her first since winning Québec City in 2008. "Tennis is improving each year," the Russian added. "I've been in a few finals since then but was losing to some very good players. I was waiting for this one patiently - I'm very happy to finally have my 10th title."
Peer still has a winning 5-3 record in WTA finals. "I've been serving very well all week but this was the first match where I didn't really serve that well," Peer said. "Nadia served really huge. She's a great player and can get out of tough situations with her serve. She played very well and deserved to win today."
Israel's highest-ranked player ever, Peer was still very happy with her week. "The crowd was great, it's always nice to have people behind you and I also had some people I know come out to watch," she said. "Also winning four matches in a row after not doing it for so long, playing very good tennis, beating very good players, improving as each match went on... Obviously you want to finish with a win, but there are so many positives and I don't want to take away from them."
The Top 2 seeds also met in the doubles final, with No.1 seeds Sania Mirza and Yaroslava Shvedova defeating No.2 seeds Olga Govortsova and Alla Kudryavtseva, 63 63. Mirza and Shvedova won their first title together - for Mirza it was a 12th WTA doubles title, for Shvedova it was her fourth.
"It feels great to win my first tournament this year. I hope there will be lots more too!" Shvedova said. "Sania asked me to play this week because Elena took the week off. So did Vani, so neither of us had our usual partners.
"We had fun playing together. It worked out well this week!"