On the Baseline Tennis News
August 29, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut—On Saturday, August 29, Caroline Wozniacki defeated Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4, to earn her second consecutive Pilot Pen title, and her sixth Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title.
The women’s final match came very close to being a washout, thanks to a steady stream of rain that began on Friday.
The wind, rain, and cold continued through the 12pm start time on Saturday. Tournament organizers even took down the video monitors above Stadium Court, as a precaution. After a 3 1/2 hour rain delay, the clouds dried up just in time for Wozniacki and Vesnina to battle it out for the title on Stadium Court. But unfortunately for TV viewers, not in time for ESPN or CBS to air the match live.
Wozniacki took an early lead in the first set against Vesnina, and broke her serve to make it 4-1. Vesnina held her serve to win the second game in the 2nd set, taking it to 5-2, but Wozniacki held on to take the first set 6-2. Things turned slightly in Vesnina’s favor in the 2nd set, as Wozniacki dropped her serve, bringing it to 3-3. Maybe it was Vesnina’s loud “haayaa!” after hitting the ball that made the difference, or maybe she simply found her rhythm in the second set.
Whatever the case, it seemed as though Vesnina was taking control of the match, but it didn’t last. “I was not that upset that I lost my serve at 3-all,” says Vesnina. “She played really good that game. I was still hoping, you know, that I can turn everything back because I had a feeling that if I would be a little bit more consistent, you know, if I would be a little bit more just not doing a lot of errors, I can win the second set, I can win the match. It’s impossible to win a match if you’re doing so many unforced errors.”
Wozniacki hadn’t dropped a set during the entire tournament. When she won the second set and the Pilot Pen title, the audio system was blaring “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. “Now it’s my time,” said Wozniacki. “It’s my turn to win some tournaments. I just feel I’ve had a great year. I’m so happy that it’s my name coming up a lot of times now.”
Wozniacki reached her her 7th final this year. When the Pilot Pen began, Wozniacki faced Edina Gallovits in the 1st round. She handed Gallovits a double-bagel, in just 43 minutes — the shortest match of the tournament. Wozniacki also beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Virginie Razzano, and Flavia Pennetta on her way to the final. The last WTA player to win back-to-back Pilot Pen tournaments was Venus Williams, a four-time winner from 1999-2002.
No. 32 ranked Elena Vesnina is a rising Russian tennis star, who made her first appearance at the Pilot Pen this year. She defeated Gisela Dulko, Samantha Stosur, Anna Chakvetadze, and Amelie Mauresmo to reach the final. Her coach, former ATP player Andrei Chesnokov, said that he would shave his head if Vesnina made it to the final – and he kept his promise. Regardless of the outcome, Vesnina said “we were just happy we were able to play outdoors. So it looks like a real final.”
Football Fun at Yale
During the Pilot Pen, Caroline had a chance to watch the incoming students moving into the Yale dorms, and meet the entire Yale Football Team (all 105 of them). “Being the only girl, and 105 guys, that wasn’t bad,” said Caroline. That could happen a little bit more often,” she said with a laugh.
Caroline’s Thoughts on the U.S. Open
With the US Open starting on Monday, the Pilot Pen champion won’t have much time to regroup, but has already started to think about what she could face in the coming weeks. “I expect it to be very competitive. There are a lot of players in good shape right now. Dinara Safina has not won a Grand Slam yet, but she’s been in a lot of finals. She’s always dangerous. She’s No. 1 in the world, and won so many other good tournaments.” Wozniacki also commented on Serena and Venus Williams, and Flavia Pennetta as players who could be tough to beat.