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Seventh Time Lucky For Vesnina

She has had a long and successful career, but there was always one thing missing - but she's missing it no more. Elena Vesnina won her first WTA title at the Moorilla Hobart International.

Published January 12, 2013 12:00

Seventh Time Lucky For Vesnina
Elena Vesnina

HOBART, Australia - Elena Vesnina got the monkey off her back Saturday, winning her first WTA title at the Moorilla Hobart International, ending a drought that saw her go 0-6 in her first six finals.

Going into the final it was a familiar scene for Vesnina, making it through a tough draw and into a final, and upsetting some seeds en route. But while she had to settle for runner-up in her first six finals - Auckland and New Haven in 2009, Istanbul and Tashkent in 2010, Charleston in 2011 and Budapest last year - this time she would demonstrate why it's important to never, ever give up on something.

Facing No.9 seed and defending champion Mona Barthel, Vesnina was on her game, a five-game winning streak from 2-3 in the first set to 63 10 setting the tone for the match; after an hour and 23 minutes it was all over and Vesnina had conquered the 20th edition of the event and Barthel, 63 64.

"The biggest difference today was I served better in the key moments," Vesnina said. "Even with the wind I was just pushing myself to serve harder and with more spin - I was telling myself even if I hit double faults it's okay, just don't let her control the points. Being aggressive the whole point was my plan for today, starting with the serve and return, but also from the groundstrokes and going to the net.

"From the first match this week I felt I was playing well, and I just had to keep it going."

Though she has always been a big threat in both disciplines Vesnina's WTA hardware was restricted to doubles until now, winning eight WTA doubles titles and going as high as No.7 in the team event. But now the Russian, who has been as high as No.22 in the individual event, has her first WTA singles title.

"I feel such relief right now. Honestly I just want to cry," Vesnina said. "I was a little nervous before the final, but in general I felt good during the match. I just told myself, 'This is my time - I just have to do it, and if I get a chance, take it.' I didn't feel any pressure. I enjoyed all the other finals I've been in, I just lost to really good players. But it finally worked out for me. I've been waiting for this for a long time."

Vesnina was asked her feelings about holding up the trophy. "It's just amazing," she said. "You've won a tournament and people are happy for you, they want to take pictures with you. I just want to share my happiness and all my joy with all the people who came and supported me all week. I feel very thankful."

And her favorite thing about Hobart? "The place I really enjoy the most here is the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary," the Russian said. "I love animals. My dream when I was small was to be a vet. I love kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils - the guy who works there is so nice, he told us the stories about the animals, and I fell in love with them. I wanted to keep a kangaroo for myself. It's my favorite place."

The doubles final saw Spanish duo Garbiñe Muguruza and María-Teresa Torró-Flor take out Timea Babos and Mandy Minella for the title, 63 76(5). Both teams had saved match points earlier in the week - Babos and Minella three match points in their first round match, Muguruza and Torró-Flor three in their semifinal match - but in the end the Spaniards both won their first WTA titles of any kind.

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