Qualifier Barthel Wins First Title In Hobart
Published January 14, 2012 12:00
HOBART, Australia - With big backhands and some impressive retrieving reminiscent of the World No.1 she shares a birthday with, Mona Barthel truly announced herself to the tennis world Saturday evening, surprising Yanina Wickmayer for her first WTA title at the Moorilla Hobart International.
Barthel, who came out of the qualifying and upset three seeded players to reach her first WTA final - namely No.2 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues, No.5 seed Jarmila Gajdosova and No.4 seed Angelique Kerber - ran down almost everything the No.1-seeded Wickmayer threw at her and brought out some weapons of her own, most notably a big backhand and a fierce serve. She rolled to a 61 62 victory, hitting her fourth ace of the match on match point.
"I was a little bit surprised at the score, but I played a really good match today and she made some easy mistakes," Barthel said. "I made only a few mistakes and put a lot of pressure on her. I also think I served well, not just today but throughout the week. It helped me a lot, especially in the tough moments."
Barthel - who was born on July 11, 1990, the exact same day as Caroline Wozniacki - is the first qualifier to win a WTA title since Austria's Tamira Paszek won Québec City in September 2010. She is also projected to break into the world's Top 50 when the new rankings are made this week.
"I just tried to take it match by match and play each one the best I could. I never thought I would win the title. I'm really surprised. I don't really realize it yet.
"This gives me a lot of confidence going into my first Australian Open, which is very helpful as the mental game is so important in tennis today.
"Now I have to look for a flight to Melbourne because I play on Monday. It's a little bit stressful but hopefully I can relax a little bit before I leave!"
Wickmayer didn't lose a set all week but seemed off during the 59-minute final. "She played a very good match and it was a bad performance from me," the Belgian said. "I didn't play well. I tried to be aggressive but made a lot of unforced errors. I was looking for my game but couldn't find it out there today.
"I'm going to try to forget this one as soon as possible."
The doubles final took more than twice the time, with No.4-seeded Romanian duo Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu saving two match points down a set and 5-4 and eventually prevailing over No.3 seeds Chuang Chia-Jung and Marina Erakovic in just over two hours, 67(4) 76(4) 105.
Begu won her first WTA title of any kind, while Niculescu won her second - she also won a doubles title with Alisa Kleybanova in Budapest back in 2009.