Wozniak wins title in Stanford

July 20, 2008 08:08 PM

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak became the first Canadian to win a WTA Tour singles title in 20 years, taking an advantage of an injury to Marion Bartoli to win the Bank of the West Classic 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday.

Aleksandra Wozniak
Wozniak, 20, needed to win eight matches—including three qualifiers—in nine days to become the first Canadian since Jill Hetherington at Wellington in February 1988 to win a women’s singles title. Wozniak was only 5 months old at the time.

Only three other Canadian women have won tour titles: Patricia Hy-Boulais, Taipei, 1986; Helen Kelesi, Tokyo, 1986; and Carling Bassett-Seguso, Strasbourg, 1987.

Wozniak also became just the third qualifier to win a tournament this year and the first to do it in a Tier II tournament—one with more than $600,000 in prize money. She lost her only previous final in a much smaller tournament in Morocco last year.

The match was tight for most of the first set, before Wozniak took charge with Bartoli serving for the set at 5-4. She won 12 of the final 14 points to take the set, using her powerful backhand to break Bartoli’s serve twice.

Then in the opening game of the second set Bartoli began grabbing at her left hip, appearing to struggle with an injury. After losing that first game at love, Bartoli asked the referee to get the trainer on call and Bartoli took a medical timeout trailing 2-1.

Bartoli came back on the court limping noticeably and struggled to move around. She gamely played on but never was able to threaten Wozniak and lost the match when her backhand hit the net cord and fell back to her side.

Wozniak gave a subdued fist pump and ran to the net to congratulate her opponent. With the victory, Wozniak is expected to achieve her goal of making it into the top 50 for the first time in her career.

While Wozniak needed to navigate through eight matches this week, including a three-set win over Angela Haynes in the first round of qualifying, she benefited from injuries to her opponents in the last two rounds. Top-seeded Serena Williams pulled out of the semifinal with a knee injury after losing the first set and trailing in the second to Wozniak.

Bartoli, who has three career titles, has not won one since 2006. This was her first final since losing at Wimbledon to Venus Williams last summer.