WTA Diary: Ninth Time Lucky
Published August 05, 2013 12:00
Every week there's a lot happening on the WTA - on the court, off the court, by the numbers, even a few tweets... catch up on it all in this week's WTA Diary.
If At First You Don't Succeed
Going into Sunday's final in Carlsbad, Samantha Stosur's record against Victoria Azarenka read: played eight, lost eight; sets for two, sets against 16. And while there had been crumbs of comfort in her more recent showings - three set defeats in Rome and at the US Open - she started their ninth encounter as a clear underdog.
What followed was two sets of nerveless tennis from the Aussie, who saved a remarkable 11 of 12 break points during a surprisingly routine 62 63 win.
Meanwhile, on the east coast, Magdalena Rybarikova produced a textbook display of peaking at the business end of the tournament to defend her Citi Open title. Having been taken the distance in the opening three rounds, Rybarikova brushed aside Ekaterina Makarova for the loss of just two games before defeating Andrea Petkovic in the final, 64 76(2).
Carlsbad was also the site of Martina Hingis' latest comeback, which ended in a quarterfinal defeat alongside Daniela Hantuchova to Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears. The next stop on the comeback trail is Toronto, where Hingis and Hantuchova will take on fellow wildcards Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber in the first round.
Toronto will also see the welcome return of both Venus Williams and Alisa Kleybanova. Williams has been troubled by back issues since the spring and has not competed since the French Open, while Kleybanova, who is battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma, is making her first WTA appearance in 17 months.
Pressure? What Pressure?
Kleybanova's opening round opponent on her comeback is the great young hope of Canadian tennis, Eugenie Bouchard. Despite the expectation from all around, particularly following her promising run at Wimbledon, Bouchard is going into her home event in a relaxed frame of mind.
"I don't really feel pressure," Bouchard, who will partner with tennis legend Monica Seles in an exhibition doubles match against Serena and Venus on Monday night, said. "I only care about the pressure I put on myself.
"Regardless of what other people say, I have high expectations for myself and want to be the best I can be and so I just really focus on that. If people say good things about me or expect a lot from me, that's great, but I really just focus on what I think and what I need to do."
For most players a season that included seven titles, a 51-3 win-loss record and a career-best 34-match winning streak would be cause to open the champagne and break out the bunting. For Serena Williams, it's "decent".
"I feel like I've had a decent year for me, I guess," Williams said. "The year's not over. I honestly would have preferred to do better in some tournaments. So for me I need to do well in a tournament like Toronto to get ready for the last Grand Slam of the year and do really well there, as well."
Money, Money, Money
Maybe Serena's take on her year will change a little if she walks away with the trophy and winner's check at the upcoming US Open. The singles winner this year will pick up a record $2.6 million.