Petkovic Upsets Bouchard In Charleston
Published April 05, 2014 12:12
Both players had pulled off big wins en route to the semis - Petkovic over higher seeds Sabine Lisicki and Lucie Safarova, Bouchard over former Family Circle Cup champions Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic - and with both playing so well to get there, it was a match-up everyone had their eye on.
With some rock solid play from the baseline and big returning, the No.6-seeded Bouchard dominated for most of the match - she won the first set in just 29 minutes, 6-1, and at 3-2 in the second set had three break points to go up 4-2. And even after letting the second set slip away the young Canadian went right to the grind again, building a 4-2 lead in the third, even holding a point to go ahead 5-2.
The No.14-seeded Petkovic hung on every time though, her deep, flat groundstrokes never breaking down, and with a barrage of her own big returns she broke one last time to close it out, 16 63 75.
The German, a former Top 10 player who has had an injury-plagued last few years and was almost out of the Top 200 a year ago because of all the stops and starts, was visibly emotional afterwards.
"I'm just very happy. I'm just very emotional right now," the always-popular Petkovic said in her on-court interview. "The match was really tough. Genie played so well today - she was so aggressive, and I have to admit I was a little lucky in the second set when I managed to turn the match around.
"It was just a few points here and there that made the difference."
Petkovic must have lifted her game at the most important moments given the match numbers, which had Bouchard with a better winners-to-unforced errors differential - +6 (43-47) to even (27-27).
Awaiting Petkovic in the final is Jana Cepelova, who squeaked by Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic in a battle between first-time WTA semifinalists, 64 57 76(7). Cepelova came from a break down in the third set and, after missing her first match point up 5-4, got it on her fourth match point in the breaker.
"It was a really tough match," Cepelova said. "I had match point at 5-4 when she was serving, and it was really hard for me to stay focused and stay in the game after I missed that, as well as two more match points in the tie-break. But I just tried to keep fighting and I'm so happy I made it today."
While Cepelova had never even been to the semifinals of a WTA event before this week, Petkovic has the edge in terms of experience - the former World No.9 is in her eighth WTA final, going 2-5 in the first seven. But she has never won a Premier-level title - both of her titles came at International events.
Neither player has experience against each other though - this will be their first meeting.