Bacsinszky Completes Mexican Double, Wozniacki Wins Kuala Lumpur
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
With the Indian Wells and Miami double just around the corner, many of the top players decided to take a week off to prepare for two of the biggest tournaments on the WTA tour.
The lack of star power didn’t hinder the excitement though, as the tournaments in Monterrey and Kuala Lumpur provided some tense and dramatic matches, with the two best players of the week coming out on top.
Timea Bacsinszky can now call herself the queen of Mexico, as she claimed the Monterrey title to go with her Acapulco crown from last week.
It felt like deja vu in Mexico, but the stars were Timea Bacsinszky and Caroline Garcia this time, not Denzel Washington. In a rematch of the Acapulco final a week prior, Garcia and Bacsinszky took to the court for the right to be called Monterrey champion. On the previous occasion, the Swiss was too strong for Garcia as she romped to an easy 6-3,6-0 victory in Acapulco. This time, it would be the same result, albeit a hell of a lot closer.
Fresh off her upset victory over Ana Ivanovic in the previous round, Garcia looked like she was ready to extract revenge on her opponent. Despite being broken in the opening game of the match, The French woman rallied back to take the first set 6-4; breaking the Swiss’ serve to seal it.
Garcia couldn’t carry that momentum into the second set, as Bacsinszky started to find her range. An early break for the world number 31 had the Swiss on a roll, but a rain delay soon halted the momentum. Four wet hours passed before play was allowed to resume, meaning this one was going to carry on after midnight. When play restarted, it seemed like the fourth seed never left the court. Bacsinszky swung freely from both wings, and soon leveled the match by taking the second set 6-2.
Unlike Garcia though, The Swiss was able to carry the momentum into the next set, breaking at 1-1. The number three seed continued to fight towards the back end of the match, having numerous opportunities to break back at 4-3. Despite having six attempts at leveling the match, Garcia couldn’t convert, allowing Bacsinszky to roll on and closeout the match 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
The Monterrey title is her second in as many weeks, and third overall as Bacsinszky’s amazing comeback continues. After an injury plagued start to the decade, the 25 year old is happy to be back and playing her best tennis.
“I’m just really happy to play so well at the beginning of the year,” a tearful Bacsinszky said in her post-match press conference. “I’m going to keep trying to push my limits in the next tournament I’m playing. I hope to keep improving all parts of my game, doesn’t matter if I’m winning or losing. I always just want to be a better tennis player, and be a better person too.”
Garcia’s runners-up efforts over the past few weeks shouldn’t get her down. The French woman has shown why she is one of the brightest rising stars on the WTA tour. She’ll be hoping to go one better next time around.
In the doubles, fourth seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Alicja Rosolska defeated third seeds Anastasia Rodionova and Arina Rodionova 6-3, 2-6, 10-3 to claim their first doubles title together.
WTA Kuala Lumpur
Wozniacki was the pre-tournament favourite but people (including myself) wondered if the top seed would preserve her energy for Indian Wells and Miami. The Dane did aim to preserve her energy, but she went about it in a different way; not dropping a set on the road to the final.
Her opponent Dulgheru had upset second seed Sabine Lisicki in the opening round and had used the momentum to carry herself all the way to the final.
That momentum got the Romanian off to a great start, as she broke early to establish a 3-1 lead. The break advantage was soon relinquished, but the heavy top spin strokes of the world number 72 proved tough to deal with. Dulgheru broke at 4-4 and served out the set to give herself a 1-0 lead.
If anything, dropping the first set seemed to motivate Wozniacki further. The world number five was on fire in the second set, breaking in the second game and then again to seal the set. The former world number one only dropped three points on serve throughout the set.
It was all Wozniacki in the third set, as she began to show the world why she is a former world number one player. Wozniacki raced into a 5-0 lead in the third and had match point on the Dulgheru serve, but couldn’t convert. The Romanian avoided a bagel, but couldn’t avoid the break stick, as Wozniacki easily served out the match to take the Kuala Lumpur title.
Despite the lopsided second and third set, Wozniacki praised her opponent’s approach.
“I think she played well the whole match,” Wozniacki said. “She tried to play aggressive and take the ball early. But I knew she had a tough match yesterday, so I just kept playing my game and kept trying to put pressure on her. I think I stepped it up in the second and third sets, and it paid off.”
This was Wozniacki’s 23rd WTA title, and the latest triumph has put her in good form heading into Indian Wells, a tournament she won back in 2011.
“I think things have been going my way. Things are great,” Wozniacki said. “I’m excited for Indian Wells. It’s one of my favourite tournaments of the season, so hopefully I can play well there.”
The doubles title went to Liang Chen and Wang Yafan, who beat third seeds Yuliya Beygelzimer and Olga Savchuk in the final, 4-6, 6-3, 10-4.
That wraps up the WTA tour of the Asia-Pacific. Now we will head to North America and Europe until the summer. You can follow it all on Tennis Atlantic.