Medina Garrigues Defends WTA Strasbourg Title

Posted on May 25, 2008

STRASBOURG, France -- Anabel Medina Garrigues was previously known for being the queen of Palermo, winning that clay court title in four of six attempts; now she's building that same royal reputation on the clay of Strasbourg, winning her third title in five attempts there on Saturday with a nail-biting final victory over Katarina Srebotnik.

Medina Garrigues, who captured the Internationaux de Strasbourg in 2005 and last year, had a relatively smooth path to the final -- not dropping a single set -- but was given all she could handle against Srebotnik, who was seeded a spot above her at No.5. She went up 64 42 despite a smattering of rain delays, and judging by their history -- all five of their previous encounters being decided in straight sets, with Srebotnik up, 3-2 -- it looked as though the Slovenian was on her way to the title.

That's when the second half of the match began. Medina Garrigues rebounded with three straight games and survived a tight end to the second set, which ended in a tie-break, to push the match to a third. Once there the Spaniard surged down the home stretch as her opponent faded, and the new queen of Strasbourg pulled off a 46 76(4) 60 victory for the Tier III championship title.

"I was down 64 65 and Kata was playing so well, so I'm even happier I was able to win the title today," said an elated Medina Garrigues. "I think I was playing defensively in the beginning and she was taking advantage of it. It was hard to concentrate, with all of the rain delays, but I really tried to hit deeper and be more aggressive. That was what helped me get back into the match."

"I had a couple of funny finals but I would say this was the toughest; it stopped and started, I don't even know how long we were out there," Srebotnik stated. "It was the same for both of us. Who knows what would've happened if there was no rain -- but what I do know is that she was just too good today. Hopefully I'll do better next time, but it's always disappointing to lose."

Medina Garrigues now has eight Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles titles to her name, and all but one of those have come at Palermo or Strasbourg (her lone hardcourt title, at Canberra in 2006).

"It feels so, so good; I feel like I'm at home here," Medina Garrigues continued. "It was such a satisfying win today, but my victory over Amelie last year was the biggest victory in all of the years I played here, and maybe of my career. I was down 4-3 in the third and the whole crowd was behind her and I won it 6-4 in the third. So that was definitely unforgettable."

Srebotnik was playing her 10th singles final on the Tour and is 4-6 in those. She has two clay court titles to her name, at Estoril in 1999 and Acapulco in 2002. She had a similar match storyline in the semifinals against Chan Yung-Jan, taking the first set and losing a second set tie-break, but in that one she came back to win.

While the fifth and sixth seeds were duelling for the trophy, none of the Top 4 seeds even reached their projected semifinal berths. Top seed Marion Bartoli retired in her opening match versus Peng Shuai with a right wrist injury, No.2 seed Alona Bondarenko lost to Timea Bacsinszky in the quarterfinals, No.3 seed Virginie Razzano lost to Chan in the first round and No.4 seed Flavia Pennetta withdrew before her quarterfinal due to a left thigh strain. Srebotnik and Medina Garrigues beat unseeded teenagers Chan and Bacsinszky in the semifinals.

The Top 2-seeded teams did make the doubles final however, and it was No.2-seeded duo Tatiana Perebiynis and Yan Zi who emerged victorious, upsetting No.1 seeds Chan and Chuang Chia-Jung in a tight match tie-break final, 64 67(3) 106. Perebiynis and Yan won the first set and seemed headed for a straight set victory as they built leads of 3-1 and 5-3 in the second set, but Chan and Chuang battled back to take it to a match tie-break; in the end, the Ukrainian-Chinese team prevailed for their first title as a team. Perebiynis emerged with her sixth career Tour doubles title; Yan won her 15th.
-- Sony Ericsson WTA Tour