4 May 2009
Fourth seed Anastasia Sevastova of Latvia won the inaugural R1-million ITF Soweto Women’s Open on Sunday, beating eighth seed Eva Hrdinova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-2 in a one-sided final that lasted only 50 minutes.
Afterwards, the elated winner said: “I have beaten [former world number four] Jelena Dokic before, but this win – and my first title at this level of tournament – is my most special moment.”
“Anastasia played really well, more flat, really low over the net, so when I tried to come to the net there was nothing to work with,” a disappointed Hrdinova said.
‘Tactically she’s very clever’
“I didn’t play that badly, but my opponent didn’t allow me to play my game. Tactically she’s very clever, and her strategy worked.”
Sevastova said she would love to come back to South Africa in 2010. “I am the first-ever winner of this tournament and it is a great feeling. The tournament was very professional, the accommodation, the conditions, and everything else was great, and if my schedule allows it, I will be back.”
The Latvian’s speed, court-craft and low-error game was too much for Hrdinova, who had a superb 6-4 6-2 win over top seed Katie O’Brien of Great Britain in the semi-finals on Saturday. Sevastova broke her Czech opponent’s serve twice in the first set and twice in the second for a convincing victory.
In Saturday’s first semi-final, Sevastova beat sixth seed Kristina Kucova of the Slovak Republic 6-4 6-3.
She missed out on doing the double when she and her best friend Kucova were beaten in the final of the doubles. They narrowly lost to another unseeded pair, Naomi Cavaday of Great Britain and Lesya Tsurenko of the Ukraine, 6-2, 2-6, 11-9.
With both the Soweto Open men’s and women’s tournaments proving to be great successes, the City of Johannesburg has indicated it will continue to support them over the next couple of years.
South African Tennis Association chief executive Ian Smith said tennis was entering an exciting new era in the country, and the national tennis body was intent on building on the achievements of 2009, which include the development of the game at junior level.
Highlights off court
For the players, particular highlights off court were their trips to game parks around the City of Johannesburg.
Commenting on Johannesburg, bubbly African-American Megan Moulton-Levy gushed: “It’s just like any city.”
There was a special moment three days prior to the final when top seed Michaella Krajicek donated $2 000 to the Friends of Rescued Animals (Fora) shelter in the Johannesburg suburb of Roodepoort.
Source: South African Tennis Association