Two WTA events were played this week and two good friends clinched titles: Caroline Wozniacki at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston and Victoria Azarenka at the Andalucia Tennis Experience in Marbella.
The world No.1 Wozniacki survived a string of tough matches to reach the final for a chance to win her first Charleston title in three appearances (one of which was a runner-up finish in 2009 and last year’s hurtful injury retirement in the semifinals). On her first tournament on clay this year, Wozniacki survived Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the third round after two tiebreaks, and followed it with another thriller, in the quarterfinals against Yanina Wickmayer. The Dane avoided an upset in the semis against Jelena Jankovic, beating the Serb 6-4 6-4, and in the title match she didn’t face much threat against surprise finalist Elena Vesnina and won 6-2 6-3.
Wozniacki has now added Charleston to her Dubai and Indian Wells 2011 titles. Her number of WTA titles now totals 15. As for the 56th-ranked Vesnina, the week will stay as a bright point in her career, she recorded upsets of Bethanie Mattek Sands, Julia Goerges, Peng Shuai, and most importantly, her first Top 5 win against Samantha Stosur.
In Spain, Victoria Azarenka continued her winning streak and followed her last week’s Sony Ericsson Open title with a title at the claycourt tournament of the Andalucia Tennis Experience. Her opponent in the final was a player which had not been expected to go that far. It was world No.138 Irina-Camelia Begu, who had lost in the first round in her only two previous WTA main draws and was a qualifier in Marbella. Still, the Romanian pulled off upsets over No.6 seed Klara Zakopalova and No.2 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. However, Azarenka ended her run and pretty easily defeated her 6-3 6-2 in the final.
Azarenka will make her Top 5 debut with this victory, while Begu will break into the Top 100. (photos: © Neal Trousdale, Tony)
Looks like Caroline has a major phychological weapon in her arsenal. Other players don’t expect her to get tired, they believe she’s the fittest player on tour, they feel that Caro will get every ball back until they make enough errors to lose the match. Caro started planting these seeds of thought last year at 2010 Charleston “I CAN RUN FOREVER.”
Interview This year at Miami:
QUESTION: Kleybanova told me the other day that she thinks there are a lot of people on tour now, before they go on court against you…they already feel like they’ve lost because they know they have to play for hours and hours just to get the victory. Do you feel that at all? Are you aware of that?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I know that if a player has to beat me, either she has to overpower me or she needs to stand there for hours and hours. I CAN STAND THERE FOR HOURS…and I think that the players feel that, like she says.
What JJ said after being defeated by Caro at this years Charleston:
“You know, she can run all day long and she can, you know, play those points. You feel like she can go for days.”
Excellent Helen. I totally agree. It’s what I named the 2007 Federer effect. Opponents have already lost before entering the court because they know that they are hitting against the wall. hehe.
BTW, beautiful week-end! My two preferred players won! Almost too good to be true. As I’ve said again and again for the past nine months, the only two 20-year-old girls in the top 10 are here to rule the WTA…
Go Caro! Go Vika!
Helen, besides what you said, besides Caro’s stamina, she’s mentally strong and daring. I think she feels like she deserves her success and can’t be humbled by whichever opponent.
Helen, I agree with your observation. However I have to say that Wozniacki’s stamina is not appreciated much by the tennis writers in general. They way they put it sounds as if she won only because she can run for hours which is not true. Her matches with lower ranked opponents are pretty swift I think Wozniacki has proven that defensive game is a not a wrong choice if one wants to make it to the top.
Gregoire,I think that her and Azarenka will be the next rivalry to watch. Hopefully Victoria will avoid injuries and will have a succesful season so that we’ll see some thriller matches.
Yeah, Helen! your totally right. JJ also said something like “When you think the ball is already dead Caro is able to return it and you have to play more balls then you thought.
All in one I found the final a bit boring. It was clear Caro was going to win. Just two sets without any surprises 🙁 I hope there will com better finals…