DALLAS, TX, USA - With none of the Top 4 seeds making the quarterfinals, the No.5 seed saddled up and rode off into the sunset. Sabine Lisicki survived the wave of early upsets and overpowered all comers to win the inaugural Texas Tennis Open this past week, losing just 13 games in five quick matches.
Lisicki, one of the most in-form players on the WTA since the grass season, lost three games in each of her first three matches against Sania Mirza, Alberta Brianti and Kateryna Bondarenko, then kept getting better, crushing No.8 seed Irina-Camelia Begu in the semifinals, 60 61, and qualifier Aravane Rezai in the final, 62 61. Lisicki and Rezai were on serve at 2-all in the first set when the big-serving German pulled away, winning 10 of the next 11 games for a 49-minute championship victory. She never faced a break point in the final.
"It was a tough one," Lisicki said. "I really had to hang in there in the beginning. Aravane's a tough player. You can't have any letdowns or else she'll play very well - she can really go for her shots. I had to make sure I went for mine today."
Lisicki won her third WTA title, her first coming at Charleston in 2009 and her second coming at Birmingham earlier this year. She goes into the US Open with a lot of momentum now - she has now 22 of her last 26 matches.
"I was really looking forward to another final," said Lisicki, now 3-2 in finals. "It has been an incredible week, and an incredible three months. I've picked up my game again and am playing so well. I'm just happy to be on the court again."
Lisicki's 13 games is the fewest lost by a WTA champion in a single week since 2005, when two players lost 12 games en route to WTA titles - Venus Williams (who did it in Istanbul) and the now-retired Anna Smashnova (in Budapest).
Rezai had an incredible week too. Having finished 2010 at No.19, she is now out of the Top 100 after a dismal first half of 2011 - but she qualified and then went all the way to her seventh WTA final here in Dallas, and is now 4-3 in those.
In an all-unseeded doubles final earlier in the day, Alberta Brianti and Sorana Cirstea beat French pairing Alizé Cornet and Pauline Parmentier for the title, 75 63. Brianti won her second WTA doubles title, Cirstea her fourth.
"In each point we really wanted this victory, so we really fought," Brianti said. "Unfortunately we aren't playing the US Open together because we already had different partners, but I hope to play more with Sorana in the future."
"I thought Alberta had some of the best volleys I've seen in women's tennis," Cirstea said. "We were a great team. We really complemented each other. You can't just be singles players on the doubles court. We'll be back next year!"