PENNETTA OF ITALY WINS LA TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
By Kelly Richards
Flavia Pannetta (ITA)
All Photos by Adam Davis
CARSON, CA – In the biggest win of her career, Italy’s Flavia Pennetta took the 2009 Los Angeles Women’s Championship at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California Sunday. She beat Australia’s Samantha Stosur in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
Stosur came out strong but started making mistakes midway through the first set. With eight double faults, her usually powerful serve failed to deliver. Pennetta seemed to even have an answer for the Aussie’s wicked slice kicker, a serve that sends her opponents scrambling to return.
“She was very hard to beat,” said Pennetta. “I was afraid of her serve.”
By the end of the first set, the 14-ranked Italian was pushing Stosur side to side with punishing ground strokes. Stosur just couldn’t keep up.
“I think she got a pretty decent amount of first serves in. When I got chances on second serves I wasn’t able to split the court very well,” the 25-year-old said.
In the second, Pennetta was consistent and steady while Stosur struggled with error after error.
“I didn’t put enough pressure on her,” said Stosur. “I think that was the difference today.”
With 22 titles, Stosur is no stranger to the winner’s circle in doubles. But she has yet to win a singles tournament. On the other hand, the 27-year-old Italian has won seven, now eight, WTA championships.
“Sure I’m disappointed,” Stosur said. “I would have loved to have won my first title today, but it wasn’t meant to be. I played a very good player today and she played a little better than me. It’s certainly something I’m going to build on the rest of the year.”
Italy has built its recent winning Fed Cup international team around Pennetta, a key factor in a tennis renaissance there. “Women’s tennis in Italy has improved a lot in the last three years,” she said. “After we won the Fed Cup everything changed. It’s pretty important now.”
This is the second time in as many years Pannetta has made it to the finals. Last year she lost to Russia’s Dinara Safina. It was a win that sent Safina on the road to her number one ranking.
“I enjoy to play this tournament,” she said. “I feel great here. I’m completely focused here.”
Flavia Pannetta (ITA)
Sam Stosur (AUS)
In the doubles final, Chia-Jung Chang of Taipei won her second consecutive LA doubles final this time teaming with Zi Yan of China to beat Russia’s Maria Kirilenko and Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-0, 4-6, 10-7. The pair will split $34,000 while the runners-up get $17,600.
Said Chuang: “This is the second year that I have won the doubles title here (won with Yung-Jan Chan last year). I was very happy that I could come back and win again. We had a very good week even though this was our first time playing together. We played very good all week and I hope we can play this good next week in Cincinnati.”
Yan couldn’t remember a tournament where she’s played so many close matches. All four of the pair’s wins came in super tiebreakers. “Every match went to match tiebreaker so it was very good experience for us,” Yan said. “This was my 16th doubles title, but my first one in a long time (2008 Strasbourg). I am very happy to win another title.”
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