MEMPHIS, TN, USA - Sofia Arvidsson capped another perfect week at her best tournament on Saturday night, beating Marina Erakovic in straight sets for the second WTA title of her career at the Memphis International.
Arvidsson, who was playing the final here for the third time - she won the title in 2006 and was a runner-up to Maria Sharapova in 2010 - came out slowly, losing the first two games of the match. But she won six of the next seven to take the first set then broke serve in the seventh game of the second set - she held the rest of the way to close Erakovic out on center court, 63 64.
"Marina beat me really easily the last time we played, so I expected a really tough match," Arvidsson said. "After the first two games I really came into it. I think my serve was working really well, and my backhand was really good, especially down the line. I just tried to be relaxed but aggressive too."
Memphis has always been Arvidsson's best tournament, as not only has she reached three of her four career WTA finals here (her other final came at Québec City in 2005, where she finished runner-up to Amy Frazier), but she has now also won twice as many matches in Memphis than at any other event - she has 18 wins here, the next-highest being Québec City, where she has nine.
"I just love this place. It's my second home," Arvidsson said. "The fans here are great and the tournament takes such good care of the players, so it makes us all feel good. I didn't expect to win when I came here, so it's the best feeling.
"I'm so happy, but sad also - my sparring partner had to go home earlier in the week because his godson was dying of cancer, and he died yesterday. When I was out there I thought this was just a tennis match, and I was quite relaxed.
"This is for him."
Erakovic fell to 0-2 in finals, having finished runner-up to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova last year at, coincidentally, Québec City. At No.4, Erakovic was the only seeded player to make it through to the quarterfinals this week.
"Sofia went out swinging. She made it difficult for me," Erakovic said. "Her serve was a key factor today. Her serve is very tricky, in the sense she moves it around well and varies it with slice and spin. I felt I couldn't attack it.
"But I played some good matches here - I had some tough battles and I won them. Basically it was a good week. I'm playing good tennis."
Later Saturday, the doubles title went to the No.1 seeds, Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who scored an identical 63 64 victory over No.2 seeds Vera Dushevina and Olga Govortsova. Hlavackova and Hradecka now have seven WTA doubles titles together, including last year's French Open; Hlavackova now has 10 WTA doubles titles to her name, Hradecka 13.
"I'm very happy we could win today and continue our great season. We've only lost one match so far," Hlavackova said after the match. "Now the big ones are coming. Fingers crossed we can do well at Indian Wells. I can't wait!"
"I'm so happy we won here too. I think we can play some great tennis in Indian Wells," Hradecka commented. "Let's go for it and we'll see."