COLLEGE PARK, MD -- Second-seeded Russian Nadia Petrova defeated top-seeded Israeli Shahar Pe'er 7-5, 6-2 to win the inaugural Citi Open at the Tennis Center at College Park. The title is Petrova's first since winning at Quebec City in September of 2008.
Pe'er broke Petrova in the first games of both the first and second sets, and was able to control rallies early in each set when she stuck to a more offensive strategy. But Petrova's percussive power was ultimately too much for the counterpunching Pe'er to handle, and the Russian broke back quickly in each set.
Petrova, who has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the WTA rankings, exploited Pe'er's weak second serve, quickly jumping ahead in rallies with strong returns that helped her break serve five times in the match.
Petrova, who leads the WTA in aces this year, smacked seven in the final, and was able to keep points short in the sweltering conditions.
"After Miami I had vertigo for six weeks, and I felt really down, and haven't been in a happy place since then," said Petrova. "Wimbledon was a turning point for me, and obviously this trophy is a big achievement."
Though the win by No. 32 Petrova over No. 24 Pe'er was an upset on paper, nothing in Petrova's workmanlike attitude made this seem like anything more than a normal day at the office. Her celebration after winning match point was more one of quiet relief than jubilation.
After her press conference had ended, Petrova walked back into the media tent, slung the heavy crystal trophy over her shoulder, and walked out.
But she did it with a smile.
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