Silvia Farina Elia reaches the Antwerp finalTeamWTA pictures
By Etienne Stekelenburg
(Antwerp) Italian Silvia Farina Elia got her revenge after beating 19-year-old Karolina Sprem of Croatia who defeated her in Gold Coast in January. The 31-year-old needed two sets to step into the final, 6-4 7-5. Farina Elia is now leading the Head-to-Head 2-1.
Karolina Sprem and her coach Sasa Hirszon are making progress. Sprem has played her first Tier II semifinal and is one of the most improved players on the Tour. This week Sprem left the impression that she is the one to deal with in the future. This year she moved from No. 261 to No. 46 and she is hoping to close the gap between the great and the near great. But she is not looking into the future, she plays match by match.
Sprem’s goals in her careers are to work hard and stay healthy. She is not aiming for any rank. Her well-being and working as hard as possible is what matters, she said. She loves to play fast tennis; it’s in her game to finish the points as fast as possible although she can hold on in long rallies as well.
She said she had a chance to reach the final in this tournament but she just was some points short in doing so. It’s the first time she played for a huge crowd; the Sport Palace in Antwerp was sold out. And she did fully enjoy it.
She is not sure about having earned herself a place in the Croatian Fed Cup team; they will meet Belgium in April. She is prepared to play on any court and does not have a favorite one.
Silvia Farina Elia said entering the final in Antwerp was an emotional and important moment for her. She tries to play the best tennis possible and she added that her match with Karolina Sprem was real close.
When she was asked whom she would prefer in the final, Clijsters or Casanova, she said that it didn’t really matter. She lost to Casanova the last time they played each other 6-0 6-1. Meeting Casanova is no guaranty to win the final on Sunday.
If she should play against Kim Clijsters she should not be focused on defending but attack aggressive.
On match point against Sprem she served a double fault. “I was not shaky, but I was trying to hit an ace on my second serve”, the Italian explained.
Sprem was not easy to play today and Farina Elia said she had noticed her sometime ago. “She is one to match, she can play all the shots but she needs to improve on the volley” Farina Elia said about her opponent of the day.
Like Sprem she is very happy with the amount of people who come to see the match. She was amazed by the numbers and didn’t expect this many spectators.
She sets her goal to reach the top 10 and she also said she still holds on because she started playing tennis late. She reached her top at the age of 26. “Maybe that is why I am still around”.
In the first set Farina Elia managed to break in the fifth game but Sprem took the break back in the following service game. In the seventh service game Sprem came back from breakpoint but lost it when Farina Elia hits a winner for advantage. Sprem hits the ball long and Farina Elia leads 4-3.
Farina Elia get the right shots in and takes the lead 5-3. Both players hold their serve and the Italian serves for 6-4 and wins the first set.
Karolina Sprem took her chances to take a 3-1 lead. Being 5-3 ahead of Farina Elia she could not keep her form to take the second set. The young Croatian player started to error and hitting balls wide and far. This was the wake-up call for Farina Elia to step it up. Breaking Sprem's service games and holding her own she took the second set and the match 6-4, 7-5.