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Jan 8th, 2005, 05:46 PM

Jan 9, 2005
By Alan Granville at the ASB Tennis Centre, Auckland

Ask double ASB Classic champion Karatina Srebotnik if she enjoyed her week in Auckland and you know the answer from her beaming smile.

The unseeded 23-year-old was unheralded, unfancied and unknown coming into the tournament, with only two career titles under her belt, the last in 2002 in Acapulco.

She was expected to rollover to number eight seed Alina Jidkova in the first round but a tough three-setter showed she meant business.

She was still lurking under the radar after her 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 win over Russian Lina Krasnoroutskaya in round two but her victory over Israeli future star Shahar Peer in the last eight made people sit up and notice.

However, she was expected to be cannon fodder for fifth seed Marion Bartoli, last year's beaten semifinalist.

The Slovenian had other ideas and a thriller three set victory later, Srebotnik was in the final against fourth seed, and her doubles partner, Shinobu Asagoe.

Many of the crowd as the ASB Tennis Centre were still scratching their heads asking who she was, but her comeback from 6-7 0-4 and 15-40 down to win a nail-biter in three sets will mean she will not be forgotten in a hurry.

Just to cap off her day, she took the doubles title, with beaten finalist Asagoe, over Kiwi Leanne Baker and Francesca Lubiani of Italy 6-3 6-3.

All in all, not a bad week's worth of tennis for the Slovenian and she was delighted with her double victory.

"I have been working so hard before the Australian Open these last two months, I guess I am in pretty good shape, which helped a lot. Mentally I just kept going and going, I just didn't want to give up," said Srebotnik.

She put down her amazing comeback against Asagoe down to her determination on the court.

"I wanted to give something to the crowd, they have been wonderful. I wanted to show a little bit more fight. At 0-4 down I just wanted to win one more game, that was my goal. I didn't want to lose 0-6.

"I just wanted to win that game so badly so I kept fighting and then it was 3-4 and I just kept going and then I was the winner. It is an amazing feeling and I am so happy.

"I felt the crowd was more on my side and that helps when you are down. The crowd can bring you up and they are one of the reasons I was able to make this comeback. I love Auckland, it is an unbelievable place."

Just to add to her troubles in the final she played with a leg injury.

"Asagoe was running me from side to side and I was getting tired. My legs are tired but they will get a nice break because I am pulling out of the Canberra tournament next week because I need to rest."

She paid tribute to her friend Asagoe after her victory.

"Shinobu is a great player. You could see even after her big lead, a lot of people would go out of the court and have a cry, but she was just smiling and being nice and gave me a great hug after the match. She wasn't feeling down in the doubles."

Srebotnik has proved she will be a dangerous floater in the draw for the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Source: One Sport

Jan 8th, 2005, 11:38 PM
Thank you !! :wavey:

jimbo mack
Jan 9th, 2005, 05:32 AM
nice article :)

Jan 9th, 2005, 06:07 AM
theres another article that qouted kata saying that she wanted to cry for asagoe after the final and then the stuff about asagoe being a great doubles partner and not feeling down in the dubs. its really heartwarming to hear that about these two

Jan 9th, 2005, 02:26 PM
They make a very good team and are both very nice ! :)

Jan 9th, 2005, 04:41 PM
Nice article....

It is probably better for her she skipped Canberra.

Jan 9th, 2005, 06:50 PM

Tennis: Srebotnik revels in her 'miracle'
09.01.05 8.35am
By Dylan Cleaver

Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik celebrates her victory in the final of the ASB Classic after defeating Shinobu Asagoe in three tight sets. Picture / Nigel Marple

Nice girls do not come last. Katarina Srebotnik yesterday won a gripping final of the ASB Classic over Japan's Shinobu Asagoe, coming from a set and 0-4 down in the second to win 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 20 minutes. This followed a 150-minute thriller in the semifinal earlier.

"Miracles happen, right?" Srebotnik said following the epic.

Along the way the regular visitor to Auckland showed a humility and sportsmanship not often associated with this sport.

She smiled, laughed at her errors, applauded her opponent and, incredibly, gifted her a point when she was awarded a let at 5-5 in the first set.

It cost her the game, probably the set, but won her the fans.

"I am so overwhelmed," Srebotnik said. "I need a holiday."

She didn't have time though. Shortly after the final she had to pair up with Asagoe to face New Zealander Leanne Baker and her partner Francesca Lubiani in the doubles final. Asagoe had done Srebotnik no favours either.

"All I could do was keep running and running and running. She was so mean. In that first set, unbelievable. I just kept fighting," said Srebotnik.

Asagoe's most quotable moment of the tournament came as she missed a forehand while serving to stay in the second set.

"Aaiieee," she screamed as she saw her title slipping away. A point later Srebotnik had broken to take the game into a third set.

It was quite a comeback from Srebotnik, who had a treatment break and looked dead and buried at 0-4 down in the second set.

It looked like a day, or more particularly a week, of hard tennis had caught up with Srebotnik, while Asagoe seemed to be all the fresher for her walkover victories in the second round and quarter-final.

But from nowhere Srebotnik found the will to fight.

The unseeded Slovenian came into the year ranked 87, but was as high as No 30 11 months ago.

The victory was Srebotnik's third on the WTA Tour, while Asagoe is still waiting on her first.

It was a minor miracle the final was played yesterday.

Like every other event in New Zealand this 'summer', the ASB Classic has been at the mercy of the weather gods

Jan 9th, 2005, 07:48 PM
awww kata :hug: :worship: she's such a nice girl

not many players would have done something like that at 5-5 :)

Jan 11th, 2005, 07:16 PM
I only read this just now. Such great articles. Kata :hearts:

Jan 13th, 2005, 09:15 AM
kata's so sweet :) hope she and shinobu will play at AO together

Jan 14th, 2005, 05:57 AM
theres another article that qouted kata saying that she wanted to cry for asagoe after the final and then the stuff about asagoe being a great doubles partner and not feeling down in the dubs. its really heartwarming to hear that about these two

This is so true.

So happy for Katarina! :D