Lifestyle April, 12th 2010 by

Andalucia Tennis Experience: Pennetta takes the title, but Suarez still amazes

For the second year in a row, the young Spanish tennis talent Carla Suarez has failed to win her first WTA title, but her youth guarantees many successes to come. This was her second consecutive year participating in the Andalucia Tennis Experience in Marbella. In both years, she reached the final, often matching her opponents serve for serve, but she has lacked the confidence needed to win, even if the tournament was, as her father commented a few days ago, made just for her.

Andalucia Tennis Experience logoThis year, Suarez showed an amazing ability to defy expectations and come back from behind. In both the quarter-final and the semi-final, she faced lofty, more experienced tennis stars. A pattern emerged as she worked her way to the final. In each match, her opponent would win the first set, but then she would dash any expectations her opponents had of an easy victory by tying the match in the second. Finally, she would leave her opponent behind, stealing victory in the third.

But for this final, she found herself facing the Italian Flavia Pennetta, currently WTA ‘number two’, a player who met every challenge during the tournament, always believing she could achieve what she had set out to do.

Suarez and Pennetta both proved that they were the two best players in the tournament, but at the end of day, the title belongs to the Italian. Pennetta seized every opportunity from the start to deliver the most effective serves and returns, swinging in her characteristically aggressive style. She found and took advantage of the same errors that her young but gifted opponent had shown since the quarter-finals. With a 6-2 lead at the end of the first set, she seemed to be on her way for an easy ride to the trophy.

Pennetta did have the advantage, but the game would soon become a harder match than everyone thought, as Suarez became more confident during the second set. Suarez won the first game of the set, with the second game going to Pennetta, who rallied to regain control. The second set remained an even match, each returning the other’s serve, until the sixth game, when the Italian rallied again, but still struggled to regain control.

The match remained in virtual stalemate throughout the second set until the tenth game, when two possibilities emerged: The set would either end in a tie at five games each, or Suarez would finally manage to break through one of Pennetta’s serves to take the set by one game. What happened was the second, and Suarez began to emerge from behind much as she had in the two previous matches, both the quarterfinal and the semifinal. Suarez took the second set away from Pennetta, 4-6, achieving the same leverage that eventually led her to beat Martínez. Once again, spectators were witnessing an even match-up.

Pennetta and Suarez, each receiving the trophy deserved.

Going into the tie-breaking third set, neither player was able to win her serve. Pennetta eventually won the first game, but then Suarez dominated in the second through the fifth, finally taking the lead on the scoreboard 3-2. At that point, most spectators surely believed they had their champion, and she would be Spanish.

But at last, Pennetta prevailed, 6-3. Perhaps Suarez was exhausted after such exhilarating play during the previous two days, or perhaps she simply has much to learn, and many errors to overcome, while Pennetta demonstrated once again how seasoned she is.

Whatever the reason, two facts became clear. Suarez has exploded onto the WTA scene as one of the youngest, most gifted players on the circuit. And Pennetta accomplished what she had set out to do. She knew she would get there from the very beginning. 

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