Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 starts with a great story: Arn wins Auckland

Greta Arn was supposed to play in the ASB Classic qualifying rounds, but some late withdrawals opened a slot for her in the main draw. That was a piece of good fortune, and Arn needed it--she arrived in Auckland without her coach (he didn't want to make the long trip), and without her luggage (it was lost).

Until last year, Arn had become an almost forgotten journeywoman. The 31-year-old Hungarian has played for both Germany and Hungary, and, for a few years, she didn't play at all. Then, in 2007, with a ranking of 176, she qualified for and won the Estoril tournament by defeating Victoria Azarenka in the final. Last year, she reached the third round of a major (Wimbledon) for the first time in her career.

Today, Arn became the first title-winner of 2011: She defeated defending Auckland champion Yanina Wickmayer 6-3, 6-3. After winning the first set, Arn got a break in the second, but was unable to win a match point on Wickmayer's serve. She then got a match point on her own serve and double-faulted. The "turnaround" looked like it was about to happen, as it does so many times when a better-ranked player is losing, and then takes advantage of an opponent's nerves. At 3-5, Wickmayer appeared to have her service game under complete control, but the determined and still-confident Arn crept in, and won the match--and the tournament--on her third match point.

"I'm 31, you're only 21, believe me, you have so much time," the new champion told her opponent during the trophy ceremony. Her opponent did not appear to be amused.

To win the title, Arn defeated Zuzana Ondraskova, 8th seed Sofia Arvidsson, 1st seed Maria Sharapova, 4th seed Julia Goerges, and 2nd seed Wickmayer. The defending champion had a few long and tough matches in her draw, including an almost three-hour semifinal against Peng Shuai.

The doubles title was won by top seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik. They defeated Sofia Arvidsson and Marina Erakovic 6-3, 6-0.


Anonymous said...

"Her opponent did not appear to be amused."
Nice sly understatement. :-)

When I saw Arn's post-match comment I could imagine the look on Yanina's face. I hope, at least, that their handshake was gracious.

And it is a feel good story!

Diane said...

I would describe the handshake as "very fast."

Sunny nine said...

I liked this story also. Arn has won two titles. One in 2007 at around 27 years and now at 31. Pretty cool.

Diane said...

I was really pleased for her. She played so well, and--most impressively--got herself back in just when it looked like Wickmayer was taking over. Experience has really ruled the WTA lately.

Anonymous said...

This was an excellent win for Arn to start the new year. She did a great job to beat Sharapova and Wickmayer.