It was the Fed Cup final... The fifth and decisive rubber... And Lucie decided to leave the best for last! Her performance in that doubles match was just top-notch, and considering that it also helped to decide who took home the Fed Cup this year, it really was something special to see. Lucie was sharp from the beginning of the match; she served aces; hit her groundies consistently; returned well; volleyed well; put away overheads; she even had the honor of smacking that winner on match point. She finished this year in style, and you really couldn't ask for anything more than that.
2011 was easily the best season of her career -- she finishes it with year-end ranking highs of 51 and 15 in singles and doubles respectively -- but I think that there is still a lot more to come from her in the future. She's maturing as a player, and her confidence is going from strength to strength. I'm really looking forward to seeing what's in store for her next year.
Thanks for the updates and pic, k!riosh and Yellow Moon. I'm really happy that she started the year off with a win over Brianti -- who beat her in the 1st round of the Aussie Open last year. Her % of first serves in was horrible those first two sets, but she really got it together in that 3rd set. Here's a pic of her in action yesterday; it's taken from the ASB Classic's website.
Now she's through to the quarters with a straight sets win over Peng -- who beat Lucie in 3 sets in Indian Wells, last year. It was such a solid, all-round performance by her today, and once again, she finished stronger than she started. Actually, she didn't lose a single point when serving in that 2nd set. These sorts of wins are doing Lucie's confidence a world of good, and that extra belief in herself is going to make her so much more dangerous.
Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic celebrate after their match against Julia Goerges of Germany and Flavia Pennetta of Italy in the doubles final at the ASB Classic Tennis in Auckland on January 7, 2011. Hlavackova and Hradecka won the match 6-7, 6-2, 10-7