Stosur, Tsurenko Claim Titles at Bad Gastein, Istanbul
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
Sam Stosur and Lesia Tsurenko both capped off great weeks by taking home titles in Bad Gastein and Istanbul respectively.
Stosur had to battle from the brink of defeat to overcome third seed Karin Knapp, who had beaten compatriot Sara Errani earlier in the day.
The Italian raced to a 6-3, 5-4 lead as she picked up from where she left off in the semi-final. But as is often the case in the WTA, the match is not over until the final point has been played. Knapp failed to serve out the match, and a fighting Stosur forced a second set tiebreak which she claimed 7-6(3).
The second seed established the lead in the final set with her opponent clearly mentally and physically fatigued. Knapp lost her serve in the first game of the third, and then again at 4-2 which gave Stosur the opportunity to serve out the match. The 2011 US Open champion kept her composure to serve it out to 15 and claim her second title of 2015.
“It was a very hard match today,” Stosur said. “I was getting completely outplayed in that first set, and even though she was up in the second set too, I started to feel like I was doing a little better. Obviously she served for the match but I hung in there, got that set then played better and better from there.
“It’s not ideal to be playing a semifinal and final in one day, a two-and-a-half-hour match in the morning then another two and a half hours in the afternoon, but unfortunately that’s just what happens with the weather sometimes. And she did serve for the match, so she wasn’t doing too badly either.”
Maybe if the weather stayed dry then Knapp might have had enough to take home the title here, but such is tennis, the rain delay meant that the Italian had to spend over five hours on court today.
“It wasn’t easy to play five hours today but I was really fighting. I just missed some chances, and she used hers,” Knapp said. “It was a great week, though. I’m looking forward to the next tournaments.”
The doubles title went to Danka Kovinic and Stephanie Vogt, who upset top seeds Lara Arruabarrena and Lucie Hradecka in the final, 4-6, 6-4, 10-3.
Over in Istanbul, a final was played between two unseeded and unfancied players, as Tsurenko took on Agnieszka Radwanska’s sister Urszula, both of which were looking for their maiden WTA title.
It was an unexpected final pairing, though both Tsurenko and Radwanska both earned their place in the main event. Tsurenko had beaten sixth seed Daria Gavrilova in the first round, while Radwanska had beaten third seed Jelena Jankovic in the first round and eighth seed Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarterfinals.
In the early goings the Pole was looking like the one who handled the nerves better, earning three set points on her opponent’s serve. But the Ukrainian fought them off and held firm before going on to take the opening set 7-5.
With momentum now behind Tsurenko, the 26 year old raced out to a 4-0 lead in the second set, before eventually breaking the Radwanska serve to claim the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup with a 7-5, 6-1 victory.
“When I saw the draw it looked tough, but I believe that if you go to a tournament you can win it,” Tsurenko said. “You have to think like this. And I’m so happy I could win here and show good tennis.
“That’s my goal, getting good results and showing good tennis.”
This was her maiden WTA final, with her previous best results coming in Brisbane in 2013 and Tashkent in 2014 where she made the semi-finals.
Radwanska is now 0-2 in WTA finals, with her previous defeat being against Nadia Petrova in the 2012 ‘s-Hertogenbosch final. She will be hoping third time will end up being a charm.
The doubles title went to Daria Gavrilova and Elina Svitolina, who beat Jankovic and Cagla Buyukakcay in a match tie-break, 5-7, 6-1, 10-4.