Apia International Sydney 2012 tournament review
apiainternational.com.au Thursday 2 August 2012 Comments Off
In 2012, over 89,000 fans enjoyed world-class tennis action from an outstanding line-up led by Grand Slam champions Li Na and Juan Martin Del Potro and Australia’s number one player, Samantha Stosur.
Joining Li Na and Samantha Stosur in the women’s field were fellow top 10 players Caroline Wozniacki (No.1), Petra Kvitova (No. 2), Victoria Azarenka (No.3), Vera Zvonareva (No.7), Agnieszka Radwanska (No.8) and Marion Bartoli (No.9).
Apia International Sydney Ambassador Lleyton Hewitt, World No.18 John Isner, Medibank International Sydney 2011 Finalist Viktor Troicki, Frenchman Richard Gasquet and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, headed up the men’s field, along with Australian wildcards Matt Ebden and James Duckworth. Men’s qualifier and Medibank International Sydney 2009 Men’s Finalist Jarkko Nieminen was joined by qualifier Denis Istomin.
In the women’s singles draw, seeds Stosur, Zvonareva, and Ivanovic were early casualties, while Australian wildcard Jelena Dokic went down to world No. 9 Marion Bartoli in the second round.
Crowd favourite Li Na was joined in the semi finals by Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic , along with Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska and Belarusian Victoria Azarenka.
The fourth seeded Li came from a set down to defeat Kvitova 1-6 7-5 6-2 in the first semi final, whilst Azarenka also came from a set down to defeat Radwanska 1-6 6-3 6-2 setting up her first appearance in the Sydney women’s final.
The women’s final on Friday night drew an enthusiastic and vocal crowd keen to witness two of the form players on the tour fight for the prestigious Sydney title.
Azarenka led the charge taking the first set 6-2. Li Na, playing in her consecutive women’s final in Sydney had a very vocal Chinese crowd behind her, claimed the second set 6-1. The third set showcased some spectacular tennis with games staying on serve. At 4-3 in the decider Azarenka then found an extra gear, breaking her opponent to serve for the match. Azarenka went on to take the third set 6-3 and win the final 6-2 1-6 6-3 in one hour and fifty six minutes making Sydney her ninth WTA crown. For the second year in a row one of the Sydney finalists went on to win the Australian Open crown. In 2012 Azarenka claimed both the Sydney and Australian Open titles.
Much like the women’s singles final, the doubles featured some of the best players on the circuit. Top-seeded pair Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik squeaked by No. 2 Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in a match tiebreaker, 6-1 4-6 13-11 . Peschke and Srebotnik found themselves back in the Sydney finals a year after they lost a heart-breaker to Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. It was a match between the last two teams to win grand slam titles: Srebotnik and Peschke did so at Wimbledon in July and Huber and Raymond won their home slam at the US Open to finish out the summer
The men’s draw produced some outstanding first round match ups, none more so than the encounter between our own Lleyton Hewitt and Serbian world No. 22 seed and Medibank International Sydney 2011 Men’s Finalist Victor Troicki.
Troicki edged home favourite Lleyton Hewitt in a three-set tussle to open his campaign at the Apia International Sydney. The Serbian rallied from a set down to beat former World No. 1 Hewitt 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and four minutes.
Troicki had led 4-1 in the first set, before four-time Sydney champion Hewitt struck back to lead by a set and a break. Troicki regrouped, and after levelling the match, broke Hewitt’s serve twice to claim victory in the decider.
The men’s semi finals featured a mix of past singles finalists and seasoned campaigners with Marcos Baghdatis, Jarkko Nieminen, Julien Benneteau and Denis Istomin all vying for the Apia International Sydney title.
Medibank International Sydney 2009 finalist Nieminen won his way into the final with a 7-6(12) 6-3 victory over Istomin, while Frenchman Benneteau defeated Baghdatis 6-4 6-4 in the second semi final.
2009 finalist Jarkko Nieminen went one step further on Sunday afternoon at the Apia International Sydney by taking down Frenchman Julien Benneteau to win his second career title, 6-2 7-5.
The final, between qualifier Nieminen and the unseeded Benneteau, had for the first time in the tournament’s history been delayed by a day due to persistent rain. But just as it looked like mother nature was ready to declare the result a draw – the clouds parted and Jarkko Nieminen took his chance to claim the title.
The Finn kept his 100 percent record over Frenchman Benneteau to become the first qualifier since Hyung-Taik Lee in 2003 to win the event, 6-2 7-5. With the victory, Nieminen joined the likes of all-time greats Roger Federer and Pete Sampras and four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt on the Sydney honour roll.
Backing up after his singles win, Nieminen then paired up with Australia’s Matt Ebden to take on the world No. 1 team of Bob and Mike Bryan . Ebden and Nieminen received a wildcard into the event and won two out of their three matches coming into the final in three sets. They had never been paired together before this week. The Bryan brothers put on an impressive display taking the match 6-1 6-4. The Bryan brothers were making their fifth appearance in the final in nine trips to Sydney and won their second Sydney title in 2012.
Be a part of the action this year as the superstars of the tennis world descend on Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre 6 -12 January 2013 for another week of spectacular tennis.
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