Forest Hills Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Classic
August 25, 2007
Dulko Downs Razzano For Second Title of Year
© Joan Roldan
FOREST HILLS, NY, USA - An inspired first round foe, a match with one of her nemeses in the semis and one of the most in-form players around in the final didn't stop Gisela Dulko, as she earned her second title of the year at the Forest Hills Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Classic presented by Commerce Bank.
The No.3-seeded Dulko capped the Tier IV title run with a 62 62 win over No.1-seeded Virginie Razzano in exactly an hour, 62 62.
"I never thought it would be this good a result against her," Dulko said. "I played a really good match today. I served well and mixed it up from the baseline. It was very hot and humid and it was difficult to play, but I think I stayed very focused and positive, and in the end it went my way."
The early rounds weren't so kind to Dulko this past week. In the first round, she suffered a first set blowout but came back to beat Chinese Taipei's Chan Yung-Jan, 16 60 62. After a quick quarterfinal victory over American wild card Audra Cohen, she was pushed to the limit by Nathalie Dechy in the semifinals, saving a pair of set points trailing 5-4 in the first set before rallying back to win, 76(4) 64.
"My match with Chan was really strange; the first set I didn't play well, but she was just hitting winners all over the court, like 20 of them. It was unbelievable. But I found a way to make her play worse, and then it went well. The second and third sets were good. I think I was able to make her feel uncomfortable."
Dulko's victory over Dechy was particularly impressive, considering she hadn't beaten the former world No.11 in either of their two previous encounters.
"That was a really good win. She's a really good player and I've had a tough time playing her in the past. It was a really tough match under the sun, but I focused and just thought about the tactics. I played really well on those two set points."
By defeating Razzano - which, incidentally, avenged a loss in their only previous encounter, at Estoril four years ago - Dulko nabbed the second Tour singles title of her career, having won at Budapest in the spring. She had been a runner-up two times in her first two finals, at Hobart in 2005 and at Pattaya City in February.
"This is very important to me. My goal this year was to win one tournament, and I now have two, so it's a great feeling. And especially to do it in New York City is wonderful - I love this city. This club is special, too. The US Open was here and the stadium has a lot of history. Guillermo Vilas won here, and he was an idol in tennis in Argentina. So I'm really proud to win the title here at Forest Hills.
"I'm looking forward to the US Open. I hope to continue to play like this."
Despite the loss, Razzano put some finishing touches on an impressive second half of the summer with her run to the final, having reached quarterfinals at Los Angeles and Toronto (her first Tier I quarterfinal), then making it to her second career final at the former US Open venue this past week.
"Playing against Virginie was not very easy because she is a great player," Dulko added. "I was happy to play with her today and I think it was really good for her to have made it to the finals."
Other standouts this week were Dechy, who reached her first semifinal since November 2005, and Elena Vesnina, who broke a quarterfinal curse by reaching this week's semifinals, having fallen in all seven of her previous quarterfinals.
This was the fourth year of this event. Elena Likhovtseva won the inaugural title in 2004, beating Iveta Benesova in the final. Lucie Safarova outlasted Sania Mirza in an all-teenager title match for the 2005 title. Last year, Meghann Shaughnessy spoiled the now-retired Anna Smashnova's perfect finals record for the title.