August 15, 2004
Fifteen-Year-Old Captures Vancouver Title
VANCOUVER, Canada - In just her third WTA Tour main draw event, 15-year-old Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic has captured her first WTA Tour singles title - accomplishing the rare feat on Sunday at the Odlum Brown Vancouver Women's Open.
Vaidisova, playing the Canadian event as a qualifier, conquered the Tier V event in Vancouver in impressive fashion and finished off her week with a 26 64 62 victory against No.4 seed Laura Granville in the championship match.
"I feel great," Vaidisova said. "It was my goal coming from qualies to try to win this tournament. It just really feels great because I did my best."
Vaidisova, who made her debut on the WTA Tour back in February where she reached the quarterfinals, had a breakout performance this week in Vancouver. This week, she survived three qualifying matches to reach the main draw and won her main draw opener against Abigail Spears.
From there, Vaidisova faced three seeded players to reach the final - winning in three sets against No.5 Marissa Irvin, in straight sets against No.2 Milagros Sequera and in three against No.3 Alina Jidkova.
At just 15, Vaidisova is the youngest player to win a title on Tour this year. She is also just the second qualifier to win a title this year, joining Iveta Benesova, who won Acapulco as a qualifier earlier this year.
And with a ranking of No.174, Vaidisova is also the lowest ranked player to win a singles title in 2004.
"My rank is going to jump a lot and I'll be able to get into higher events so I'm happy about that," Vaidisova said.
Victory in Sunday's final makes Vaidisova, at 15 years, three months, 23 days, the sixth youngest singles champion in the history of the WTA Tour. The last time a 15-year-old won a Tour singles title was in 1997, when Mirjana Lucic (15 years, one month, 25 days) won the Bol title in her native Croatia.
Incredibly, Lucic was unranked and received a wildcard into the qualifying event, winning seven matches to claim the title.
Vaidisova was playing only her eighth professional event and just her third at Tour level. In her WTA Tour debut in March, the then 14-year-old reached the quarterfinals of Acapulco.
Since turning pro in October of last year, Vaidisova has accumulated a solid 24-5 record, which now includes a WTA Tour title, another Tour quarterfinal and two other ITF titles.
Competing in her first WTA Tour final on the day when the competition at the Olympic Games in Athens is taking off, Vaidisova has already set a goal for a few years from now - to play for the Czech Republic at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
"I don't know how our players did today, but I want to be on the 2008 team that goes to China, that's for sure," Vaidisova said.
Vaidisova was one of two 15-year-olds that had impressive play in Vancouver. Bulgaria's Sesil Karatantcheva, also a qualifier, made it through to the quarterfinals before falling to Pin.
The trip to the Canada final ended a miserable stretch of tennis for Granville. Before stepping foot in Vancouver, the American had dropped 11 of her last 12 matches including six straight. Her record had slumped to 9-16 and Granville's confidence on court was clearing lacking that which helped her earlier in the year to a semifinal at Memphis and fourth round at Indian Wells.
But this week, Granville appeared to be a completely different player. She surged past Samantha Reeves in the first round and Bethanie Mattek in the second. She overcame a one set deficit to defeat No.8 seed Lindsay Lee-Waters and held her ground in a three-set victory against Camille Pin.
A title in Vancouver would have been the biggest win for the Chicago native since she turned pro back in 2001. Prior to turning pro, Granville won back-to-back NCAA singles titles for Stanford University.
In doubles, No.3 seeds Bethanie Mattek and Abigail Spears won their first title together as a team, defeating Els Callens and Anna-Lena Groenefeld, 63 63. It was the first career doubles title for Mattek and the second for Spears.
October 17, 2004
Vaidisova Wins Tashkent Open for Second Tour Title
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Fifteen-year-old Nicole Vaidisova won her second WTA Tour title on Sunday when she defeated No.9 seed Virginie Razzano 57 63 62 in the final of the Tashkent Open by Zeromax.
"It was a tough match," said a smiling Vaidisova. "I was a bit nervous, felt stiff, in the beginning. I wasn't moving well.
She played very well, moved and served well at points, but in the end I overpowered her."
Razzano was disappointed but accepted that she had given her best and lost to a better player. Razzano said, "I played my game and I tried to win every point but she is tough. I moved her around in the first set but she kept hitting the lines all the time. She had good concentration and she was very strong mentally."
Vaidisova became the sixth youngest player to win a Tour title in August, when she claimed the Vancouver title. She now adds Tashkent to her title list. Vaidisova was competing in only her sixth WTA Tour main draw event.
Razzano was making her first appearance in a WTA Tour singles final. Her previous best results were semifinal appearances at three events of Estoril, Sarasota and Luxembourg.
After losing the first set, Vaidisova started the second more consistently. She was clearly frustrated in her attempts to break Razzano, who often served up an ace at deuce. Vaidisova finally got a break in the eighth game and then served powerfully in the next, winning it at love, with an ace, to take the set.
"I let the first set slip away and felt frustrated," said Vaidisova. "But I forgot about it and started all over again."
Vaidisova went full steam ahead in the third set, taking a lead to go up 4-1. She finished the match off losing only one more game, taking home her second title victory in her young career.
In doubles, the Italian sisters of Adriana and Antonella Serra Zanetti teamed to win their first doubles title together. They defeated the No.2 seeds Marion Bartoli and Mara Santangelo 16 63 64.
Adriana took home her third WTA Tour doubles title while Antonella secured her first WTA Tour title of any kind. The two have played together fairly regularly since 1997.
October 2, 2005
Vaidisova Wins First Title of 2005 at Seoul
SEOUL, Korea - Czech teenager Nicole Vaidisova won her first title of the year and third of her young career on Sunday by defeating top seed Jelena Jankovic in the finale of the Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships.
The 16-year-old from Prague did not drop a set all week in Seoul, finishing off her successful run at the Tier IV event with a 75 63 victory against Jankovic. Vaidisova adds the Seoul title to the Vancouver and Tashkent trophies she won in 2004.
Vaidisova - the No.2 seed in Seoul - faced very little opposition during her stay at the tournament, which included victories against Finnish lucky loser Emma Laine, Akiko Morigami, No.8 seed Marion Bartoli and Catalina Castano to reach the final.
This was the second time in 2005 that Vaidisova had appeared in a Tour final, after finishing as runner-up to Venus Williams earlier this year at Istabul. She is now projected to jump to a career-high No.21 in Monday's Sony Ericsson WTA Rankings.
Jankovic, who owns on career Tour singles title ('04 Budapest), was playing in her third final of the year after also making championship match appearances at Dubai and Birmingham. The No.1 seed started her week in Seoul off well, defeating Severine Beltrame and Meghann Shaughnessy in straight sets before needing three sets to move past No.6 seed Vera Douchevina and No.3 Tatiana Golovin.
In doubles, the Taipai team of Yung-Jan Chan and Chia-Jung Chuang captured their first career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles titles, defeating Jill Craybas and Natalie Grandin, 62 64.
October 9, 2005
Vaidisova Wins in Tokyo for Fourth Career Title
TOKYO, Japan - In an unfortunate end to a wonderful week highlighting the future stars of women's tennis, France's Tatiana Golovin was forced to retire in the final of the AIG Japan Open against fellow teen Nicole Vaidisova.
Golovin, 17, appearing in her second Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles final and aiming for her first title, trailed the 16-year-old Czech 76(4) 32 when a left Achilles tendon injury prevented her from continuing.
"This is my first retirement and hopefully my last because you feel so bad, especially because you just want to keep playing," said Golovin, the No.3 seed.
Golovin had been bothered by the injury for the past three days, but had managed to play through it, scoring wins this week over Abigail Spears, Saori Obata, No.5 seed and two-time former champion Ai Sugiyama and No.8 seed Sania Mirza.
In an evenly contested match, the players traded breaks in the middle of the first set to reach 6-6. Golovin was able to predict Vaidisova's shots and hit winners, but Vaidisova's big serve was key in winning the tie-break, repeatedly putting Golovin on the defensive.
At 3-1 in the second set, Golovin called for the Tour's primary health care provider, Kathy Martin, to attend to a broken toe nail on her left foot. While she was sitting down during the medical time-out, her Achilles tendon tightened up on her, and although she won the next game to get to 2-3, Golovin decided she couldn't play anymore.
"It didn't feel that bad this morning and I thought that it would be okay," said Golovin. "The last three days, I've been feeling (the pain in my Achilles tendon), but I think the adrenaline keeps you going and you sort of forget about it.
"But after I sat down (for the medical time-out), I really felt it and just couldn't go on. I'm sad that I couldn't play. Unfortunately, if it's your Achilles, you feel it all the time; it's not a special movement."
It was the eighth-youngest final on the Tour in the Open Era, with a combined age of 34 years, two months. Last year, a 16-year-old Golovin featured in the third-youngest final, falling to then-17-year-old Maria Sharapova in the Birmingham decider. The all-time youngest final saw Jennifer Capriati (15 years, four months) defeat Monica Seles (17 years, eight months) in the 1991 San Diego final, with a combined age of 33 years.
"I thought it was a good match," said Vaidisova of Sunday's final. "I hope that I would have won anyway, and I think I could have closed it out, but those are just 'maybes.' I thought she was moving really well and got to a lot of balls. I hope that we'll meet again in a final."
In a true showcase of new talent on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, both semifinals were all-teen affairs, with Golovin defeating 18-year-old Mirza and Vaidisova beating Maria Kirilenko, also 18. It was the first time four teenagers reached the semifinals of the same Tour event since 2001 's-Hertogenbosch, when Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Jelena Dokic and Iroda Tulyaganova contested the final four (Henin went on to beat Clijsters in the final).
Vaidisova, who is projected to break into the Top 20 on Monday's Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Singles Rankings, becomes the 15th multiple winner on Tour this season, having collected her first title of 2005 last week in Seoul, Korea. The 16-year-old Czech now owns four Tour singles titles, having won Vancouver and Tashkent last year as a 15-year-old.
"I'm definitely happy," added Vaidisova, who defeated Akiko Morigami, Rika Fujiwara, Sofia Arvidsson and recent Beijing champion Maria Kirilenko to reach the final. "It's great to win two titles this year and two in a row. And it's nice to upgrade (to my first Tier III).
"I think I've been playing more steadily this year. Last year, I would have a good week, then a bad one, but I think this year, I've improved my consistency. I know there is a lot to improve, but I'm happy with my progress so far."
Despite the loss, Golovin was pleased with her efforts this week, even in the final prior to the injury.
"I was kind of ready for how she plays," said Golovin of Vaidisova. "I could pick up a few things about her game and just had to take more advantage of the chances that I had, but I got tired and made some unforced errors. I tried not to give her too many angles but she can get to every ball with her long arms and legs. I tried to hit to her body and keep it deep."
Golovin falls to 0-2 lifetime against Vaidisova, having lost their only prior encounter here last year at the Japan Open in the second round.
"I'm very happy with they way I played this week. I had a lot of good matches and gained a lot of confidence. I think I played a great set and half and did the right things on court. It was nice to come back and do better after last year, so I can now take back some good memories, and hopefully, I'll be back next year."
For winning the title, Vaidisova, now on a 10-match win streak, earned $27,000, while runner-up Golovin took home $14,280.
In the doubles final, contested on Saturday, No.2 seeds Kirilenko and Gisela Dulko upset No.1 seeds Shinobu Asagoe and Maria Vento-Kabchi, 75 46 63. It was their first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles title as a team, having finished runners-up to Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur at New Haven in August. It is the second career doubles title for both Dulko (also 2003 Casablanca with Maria Emilia Salerni) and Kirilenko (2004 Birmingham with Maria Sharapova).
October 16, 2005
Vaidisova Continues Hot Streak to Win Third Straight Title
BANGKOK, Thailand – Nicole Vaidisova won her 15th consecutive match and claimed her third straight title when she outlasted top seed Nadia Petrova 61 67(5) 75 in the final of the inaugural ptt Thailand Open, a $200,000 Tier III event. Vaidisova, the No.2 seed, hasn’t lost a match since narrowly falling to Petrova in the fourth round at the US Open last month.
“It feels good,” exclaimed Vaidisova. “I don’t think it could get any better than this. I was pretty consistent today, and I’m happy with the way I played overall. I think I challenged her today and showed that I could beat a higher ranked player when I’m on my game.
“My game has improved and I’m happy, but I’m still going to keep working hard on everything overall.”
The match opened with both players holding serve. In the fourth game, Vaidisova took charge to earn the first break and went on to win the next three games, closing out the set on her fourth attempt. In the second set, the players exchanged breaks in the third and fourth games, but remained on serve for the rest of the set. Vaidisova saved two break points in the sixth game and one in the seventh, but Petrova was insistent on forcing a decisive, third set. Vaidisova looked good early on in the final set, firing two aces in the opening game to win all four points and saving a break point on her next service game. Though Petrova earned the first break of the set and led 4-2, nothing was going to stop Vaidisova from winning for the third straight week. Two more breaks on Petrova’s serve earned the 16-year-old her fifth title in six career finals.
“I couldn’t serve today,” Petrova said after the nearly two-hour match. “I’ve been struggling with a right pectoral strain since my last tournament, and yesterday after my three set match it seemed to get worse. I tried to fight through it, but in the third set it really started to hurt. Then my serve was just very off.”
“Today it was hard to challenge. She was going for winners and getting them. I tried to play my best, but I just couldn’t do it.”
Vaidisova’s Bangkok title follows victories in Seoul and Tokyo [Japan Open], making the young Czech the sixth woman to win five Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles titles before her 17th birthday, after Tracy Austin, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati and Martina Hingis. With her third straight title, Vaidisova becomes the first player in 2005 to win Tour singles titles in three consecutive weeks (the last player to win titles in three consecutive weeks was Lindsay Davenport in 2004 at Stanford, Los Angeles and San Diego).
Vaidisova joins Kim Clijsters, Davenport, Henin-Hardenne and Maria Sharapova as the only five women to have won three or more Tour singles titles in 2005. Additionally, she leads the Tour with 15 consecutive wins, the longest active match win streak this year (the longest of 2005 is Henin-Hardenne’s 24-match win streak).
Petrova, who was playing in her fourth Tour final, was seeking her first career title. The 23-year-old Russian is the only player currently in the Top 20 without a Tour singles title. Despite that fact, she is having an incredibly solid season, reaching at least the quarterfinals in 15 of 21 events and sporting an impressive 47-19 match record.
En route to the final, Vaidisova defeated Abigail Spears, Suchanan Viratprasert, No.6 seed Conchita Martinez and No.3 seed Gisela Dulko, while Petrova earned a berth in the final without facing a seed. Petrova ousted Nuria Llagostera Vives, Saori Obata, Stephanie Foretz and Antonella Serra Zanetti.
For her win, Vaidisova will pocket $30,500 and 120 ranking points, and as the runner-up, Petrova will take home $16,400 and 85 ranking points.
In doubles action, No.2 seeds Shinobu Asagoe of Japan and Dulko of Argentina defeated the top seeded Spanish team of Conchita Martinez and Virginia Ruano Pascual 61 75. Asagoe/Dulko won the doubles title in their first-ever partnership, defeating a team that is currently fourth in the Porsche Race to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships. It is Asagoe’s seventh career doubles title (second of 2005 after Auckland with Srebotnik), while it is Dulko’s career-third and second of 2005, having won the Tokyo [Japan Open] title in her most recent event.
Martinez/Ruano Pascual were contesting their fourth final as a team this year, having won Tier I titles at Charleston, San Diego and Toronto. Martinez owns 13 career doubles titles, while Ruano Pascual has 34.
May 27, 2006
Vaidisova Wins Maiden Clay Court Title in Strasbourg
STRASBOURG, France - Czech phenom Nicole Vaidisova captured her sixth career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title on Saturday, defeating China's Peng Shuai in straight sets for the Internationaux de Strasbourg, one of two Roland Garros tune-ups this week.
Vaidisova, seeded No.2 at the Tier III event, notched her 99th career singles match victory against the unseeded Peng, 76(7) 63, but not without a fight. The Chinese led 3-0 in the first set and seemed on the verge of taking the first set tie-break, but made two errors to hand the set to Vaidisova. The Czech then took control of the match in the second set.
"I had to cut down on my errors to get back on track," said Vaidisova of the early lapse. "She had a couple of chances in the tie-break to take the set but I was luckier. We were both nervous. I was up 3-0 in the second set and I let that get away from me, but managed to pull it out in the end."
For Vaidisova, the Strasbourg run marks her first title of the year, and sixth of her career. The 17-year-old had five titles to her credit already, at Vancouver and Tashkent in 2004, and at Seoul, Tokyo [Japan Open] and Bangkok in 2005. The three most recent titles were acquired during an 18-match win streak that also took her to her first Tier II semifinal last November at Philadelphia. This is her first title on clay, however, and the timing couldn't be better.
"This is the best preparation for Roland Garros," said Vaidisova, seeded No.16 in Paris. "To win an event on the same surface is the best preparation you can have. I'm extremely happy with my week in Strasbourg and I'm going into Paris as well-prepared as I can be."
The teenager also won a Mazda MX-5 sports car for winning the title.
"I'm really happy to win the car but I don't start driving lessons for another couple of months!"
For Peng, Strasbourg still remains a great achievement despite the defeat. After a stellar 2005 and a disappointing beginning to 2006, Peng resurrected her game during this clay court season, winning consecutive matches for the first time this year two weeks ago in reaching the Prague semis, and now winning another string of matches in reaching her career-first Tour final here.
"I reached my first final and that is a good thing," Peng stated. "Now I will forget about this loss and concentrate on the Grand Slams. I start in Paris on Monday, so I have to just rest and start to focus on that. I had a good week here."
Last year, Peng was one of the fastest-rising players on the circuit, notching three Top 10 wins (including a stunner over Kim Clijsters in San Diego, the Belgian's only loss on summer hardcourts) and going as high as No.31, a record for China.
In the Internationaux de Strasbourg doubles final, top seeds Liezel Huber and Martina Navratilova downed No.3 seeds Martina Müller and Andreea Vanc, 62 76(1). Huber took home her 14th career Tour doubles title (and second of the year), while Navratilova claimed her 176th (and first of the year).
Müller also featured prominently in the singles draw, ousting top seed Patty Schnyder in straight sets in the second round, the German's first Top 10 win.
Last edited by Vaidisova; May 27th, 2006 at 05:28 PM.