Saturday, August 28, 2010

Caro improves to 12-0 in New Haven

She came into New Haven having won only one of four matches in the summer hardcourt swing, but at the Pilot Pen Tennis at Yale it has all come together. Nadia Petrova fought back from a first set blowout to beat Maria Kirilenko, 2-6 6-2 6-2, and reach the 20th final of her career.

Petrova, the No.8 seed, lost the first set to her fellow Russian in 39 minutes, dropping her big serve twice; but she would not be broken again the rest of the match, dominating her service games and upping the aggression on her return.

"Even if you have pain, you have to try. I decided to continue," said Kirilenko, who was treated for a low back injury during the match. "I was in pain in the first set, but I won it because she was making a lot of mistakes. She was missing the first ball, the second ball. It was good for me. But then she started to play better. I'm playing well and to get this out of nowhere is always sad."

"When Maria called for the physio, those couple of minutes did very well for me," Petrova said. "I saw she was struggling and believed I could come back and win. I had a good conversation with my coach. I cut down on my mistakes and focused a lot on my serve. I felt I started playing the right game."

Petrova almost didn't play in New Haven, but received a last minute invite. "It's amazing. I got a phone call from Anne Worcester late Friday afternoon. I was still in Montréal, about to leave the hotel and fly to New York. Then suddenly she offered me that last wildcard. It was a great gift. I was very happy. I'm sure my team was also excited to come for an extra tournament before the Open."

At night, No.1 seed and two-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki improved to 12-0 lifetime at New Haven with a 1-6 6-3 76(5) triumph over No.4 seed Elena Dementieva, rallying from 5-3 down in the third set to win.

"The crowd really helped me today. It wasn't easy," Wozniacki said. "This is a great tournament. Obviously I'm playing well here. I'm really happy to be in the finals again, the third time in a row. Hopefully I can win the last match here."

Wozniacki leads Petrova in their head-to-head, 2-1, with Wozniacki retiring from their first encounter in 2008 but winning both of their matches in 2010.

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