Sunday, October 21, 2012
Williams reaches Luxembourg final, Niculescu in too
Venus Williams reached the Luxembourg Open final after defeating Andrea Petkovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
Williams will play Monica Niculescu, who beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-1, 6-3.
Petkovic kept up with Williams until 4-4 in the final set. Then she dropped her serve and Williams closed out the match in 2 hours, 38 minutes.
"She's such a tough opponent - I just had to keep fighting," Williams said. "She was playing so well and attacking all the time, and the only thing you can do in a match like that is just try to win more points than your opponent - that's all I tried to do, just keep coming back, coming back, and winning more points."
"This was the first tournament since I came back that I felt like the old Andrea Petkovic," Petko said. "That's very important for me because I was doubting myself the last few weeks. I feel better about my game now; I feel like I can get back to the high level I had again."
"It's great to be in the final, but I'm more focused on just winning the match, so I can win the tournament," Venus Williams said. "I don't want to stop."
Niculescu cruised in the first set and came back from a 2-0 hole in the second to advance.
"Daniela was hitting the ball so fast and so strong, but today I felt like I was in my zone," Niculescu said. "I started very solid, playing very intense on every point and doing what I had to do from the beginning. I played unbelievable."
"My opponent made it difficult today - she plays a very awkward game and I felt I didn't deal with it very well," Hantuchova said. "Not too many players slice their forehand like she does and it's difficult to do something with her shots - you feel like you want to hit winners on every single shot but you can't, because if you rush you'll hit every single shot into the fence. I just couldn't find the answers.
"Sometimes you just try your best but nothing works."
Niculescu was asked if she knew why Luxembourg has been so good to her. "No, but I would like an explanation!" she joked. "I honestly have no idea. I saw the draw and it was so tough, even from the first round against Oprandi, so I didn't have any expectations. And my year didn't go so well because I got injured and it's never easy to come back from something like that. Then I had to defend my semifinal in Beijing, and I didn't. So I wasn't expecting anything.
"I don't have an explanation - if you do, let me know!" she added.
"To defend my final and have another chance to win the title, and to be in the finals of the doubles also, everything is going fantastic. I'm so happy!"
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images