Nadia Petrova wins Family Circle Cup

Nadia Petrova beat Patty Schnyder 6-3 4-6 6-1 in the final of the Family Circle Cup in South Carolina.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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South Carolina:

Nadia Petrova and Patty Schnyder came into Sunday's final of the Family Circle Cup with every right to be positive. The Russian has won more matches than anyone else on the WTA Tour this year, while Schnyder had beaten top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne for the first time in Saturday's semi-finals. The Swiss left-hander also owned a 5-3 record over Petrova heading into this one, but the Russian has been sharpening her game week by week in 2006, and this textbook backhand volley helped her gain the first break of the match in just the third game. Petrova came into this contest with a nine-match winning streak, after lifting the trophy at Amelia Island last week, and she was on course for her third title of the year, when she broke again with an exquisite lob in the ninth game to wrap up the first set 6-3. But Schnyder has always been tough to beat in Charleston, and she was determined to improve on her 25-9 lifetime mark in this prestigious WTA tournament. Her groundstrokes began finding their mark in the first game of the second set, and the 27 year-old gained the immediate break. Petrova appeared to be struggling in the South Carolina heat, and Schnyder sensed her chance as she tried and succeeded with several drop shots as she maintained her advantage in the second set. Schnyder went on to wrap up the set 6-4, and for the seventh time in nine encounters between the two they were headed to a deciding set. In the third set, the match turned again, with Petrova crushing her opponent 6-1. The 23 year-old was relieved to finally wrap it up with her sixth match point, and it was the perfect way to celebrate her first appearance in the world's top five, which will become official on Monday. The elegant Russian has now won 28 matches this year, to clearly lead the WTA tour, and after back-to-back tournament wins on clay she'll be among the favourites when the players gather at Roland Garros for the year's second grand slam next month. (AP)