First-Time WTA Champ Coming In Québec City
Published September 17, 2011 12:00
QUÉBEC CITY, Canada - Marina Erakovic and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova will both have a chance at their first WTA titles on Sunday afternoon, as they square off in the final of the Bell Challenge in Québec City.
Erakovic was the first to make to the final, coming from behind to beat No.3 seed and defending champion Tamira Paszek, 26 75 64. Having already beaten No.7 seed Irina Falconi and No.1 seed Daniela Hantuchova this week, Erakovic looked sapped as she dropped the first set; but her fighting spirit kicked in from there as she rallied from a break down in the second set and two breaks down in the third to beat Paszek in a two-hour, 27-minute marathon.
"In the third set I started to play better and better," Erakovic said. "It's a good match-up - I have a good forehand and she has a great backhand. Sometimes she comes up with impressive backhand winners, either down the line or crosscourt, but I was just trying to use my forehand and work the ball around when I could. I was feeling my legs, but I think she was feeling hers too.
"This was my first win against Tamira. She's a really tough player."
This will be the first WTA final of Erakovic's career. Her best results before this week were three semifinals, all coming during the 2008 season.
Zahlavova Strycova, seeded No.6, followed Erakovic into the final with a 64 63 win over Michaella Krajicek. Krajicek had taken out No.4 seed Rebecca Marino but wasn't able to keep that magic going against a rock solid Zahlavova Strycova, getting an early break in both sets but losing the lead each time.
"I didn't feel as good as I did yesterday, but I tried to stay cool like yesterday and it worked well," Zahlavova Strycova said. "Michaella wasn't serving as well as she did the rest of the week. I'm happy I was able to make my second final."
Zahlavova Strycova has played one WTA final before, finishing runner-up to Hungary's Agnes Szavay on the clay courts of Prague last summer.
"It's funny because I came here without thinking of making the final - I thought I'd win one or two rounds and be happy," Zahlavova Strycova said. "I feel very relaxed here. My first matches went well and I'm happy how I've been playing."
Zahlavova Strycova and Erakovic will be playing each other for the first time.
The closest match of the day came in doubles, as No.1 seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears saved five match points to beat Heather Watson and Kathrin Woerle, 46 63 1311. Watson and Woerle held quadruple match point at 9-5 in the match tie-break, then another match point at 10-9.