Stephens Bags 3rd 2016 Title in Charleston, Targets Red Clay
American Sloane Stephens continued her steady 2016 title haul on Sunday in Charleston, S.C., defeating Russian quaifier Elena Vesnina 7-6(4), 6-2 in the championship of the Volvo Car Open.
The No. 7 seed in the semifinals upset top-seeded Angie Kerber when the German retired with injury, and Vesnina upended seed Sara Errani. The 23-year-old Stephens now says she has momentum entering the red clay season in Europe.
“I love red clay, so starting in Madrid, I think I’ll have a lot of fun and just look forward to the French Open,” she says. “Obviously coming into [Charleston], I have a lot of anxiety coming into this tournament because I’ve never done well here. I just thought, you know, I’m just going to go have fun.”
It was the third title of 2016 for Stephens after Auckland and Acapulco. Vesnina, who saw her ranking at such a low point that she was forced to play the qualifying at the Aussie Open in January, has this year recorded wins over former No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams, former No. 2 Simona Halep, and now the former French Open runner-up Errani.
“This final is like a win,” the Russian veteran said. “I feel like I’m a winner because I played so many matches from qualies. I was just counting, I had like eight matches in singles and two in doubles, so 10 matches in one week…I’m just really happy about my run here, and let’s see how it’s going to be the rest of the year.
3 Not the Charm for Giorgi as Cibulkova Wins Katowice
Dominika Cibulkova denied Camila Giorgi, who was appearing in a third consecutive Katowice Open final, 6-4, 6-0 on Sunday to win her first title since 2014 in the Polish city.
Looking to win for the first time in her third straight final, Giorgi saw her hopes dashed when the veteran Cibulkova raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first set, and baked a bagel in the second set.
“I would say today I was prepared very good for Camila,” said Cibulkova, who was 0-2 against Giorgi entering the final. “My tactic was to go for it, and I was doing it 100 percent. I was just playing really solid, going for the shots really strong and I was reading her game really well. When I had an easy shot, I always made it, and this was very important today. In the second set, I was going for it even more, and that’s why I won today. I wasn’t afraid.”
Cibulkova is finding her form after sitting out five months of 2015 due to Achilles surgery and addressing a bone spur issue.
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