Vandeweghe Serves Up First WTA Title
Published June 21, 2014 12:15
To say that Vandeweghe was a long shot at the beginning of the tournament is an understatement. She wasn't even in the main draw to start - she had to come through qualies - and once she made it through those qualies, there were five Top 20 players in the main draw, led by Simona Halep.
But with a few of the favorites getting bounced early, and some stellar serving during the week - she dropped 81 aces in seven matches, including a whopping 19 against Marina Erakovic in the first round - Vandeweghe went all the way to the title, taking out No.7 seed Garbiñe Muguruza and No.8 seed Klara Koukalova en route to the final, then capping the week with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Zheng Jie.
Though Zheng wasn't seeded, she had just as much grass court cred as anyone in the draw - she did reach the Wimbledon semifinals in 2008, after all. But Vandeweghe was just too good - she lost just one point on her first serve (27 of 28) and never faced a single break point in the 70-minute match.
"I usually take tournaments one match at a time, so early in the week I was just focused on being prepared for my first match in the qualification," Vandeweghe said. "I had basically flown in the day before the qualification, so I didn't have any practice on the courts here, or anything like that.
"Once I took care of that first match I just went from there, and I got more and more comfortable on the courts. I played a ton of points and games, and a lot of long matches and three-setters as well.
"Once I got to the semifinals it was a little bit of a different feeling. It was a rematch for me - a week before in Birmingham I lost against Klara in three sets. I was so focused on beating her, that when I won that match against her it didn't even dawn on me that I was in a final in the next round.
"I was trying not to think about it being a final today. I got the first set and I thought to myself, 'One set to the good, one more to go, try and get the early break now and keep the pressure on her.'
"I was really just thinking about it step by step, just like how I would play in any match."
An elated Vandeweghe got a congratulations message from a very special person after the final.
"My favorite player was Lindsay Davenport. She's from California and has been a great friend and mentor to me. When I was 16 we got to hit together in Miami, and to be on the same court and actually hit with your idol is just an unreal feeling. And today after the final she even messaged me saying 'Congratulations, I'm so proud of you' - so she's been an unbelievable friend and mentor to me."
Now the American's focus shifts to the All-England Club, where she has a unique match-up in the first round - a player she beat en route to this week's title, and the No.27 seed at Wimbledon, Muguruza.
"She'll have had time to talk with her coach and maybe even watch the match, and it's the same thing like my match with Koukalova here, in that it's not going to be the same match as it was in Birmingham a week ago, the same things may not happen and the same patterns may not work this time.
"It's a new match, a new day, and we'll see how it goes."
CoCo Vandeweghe (@CoCoVandey) June 21, 2014