Review of the 2013 Brasil Tennis Cup
The Brasil Tennis Cup was played for the first time in Florianopolis, Brazil from 24 February to March 3. It is now part of the WTA International tournaments circuit and featured former world #1 Venus Williams. Thanks to the wonderful weather enjoyed in this part of Brazil, the tournament was an outdoor hard court event which only featured 3 of the world’s top 50 female players. Clearly, Williams felt that it was an ideal chance to get back to winning ways.
Despite being the top seed in the event, Williams failed to take the title. She was dumped out at the semi-final stage by Olga Puchkova of Russia. It was unseeded Romanian Monica Niculescu who took the spoils however as she beat Puchkova 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the final to gain her first WTA title and catapult her back into the world’s top 60. She was ranked in the top 30 in early 2012 but a poor run of form caused her ranking to fall dramatically.
Her first round match with Anabel Medina Garrigues was her toughest before the final as she was taken to the third set. In the next three matches, she was to drop just 9 games in 6 sets before the competitive final. It is terrible news for Williams and one wonders if she has what it takes to get back to the top of the tree. Although she won the doubles title with her sister Serena at Wimbledon last year, perhaps the 32 year old will decide to call it a day in a couple of years time. For the record, Niculescu won $40,000 along with the Brasil Tennis Cup title.
Although Medina Garrigues suffered a first round exit in the singles event, maybe it was a blessing in disguise as it enabled her to focus entirely on the doubles tournament with her partner Yaroslava Shvedova. The # 1 seeds did not disappoint as they won the event with a stylish 6-0, 6-4 final win over Anna Keothavong and Valeria Savinykh. The only real resistance the winning duo encountered was in the semi-final which went to a tie break but they triumphed 10-5 and took this confidence into the final.
The total prize fund was $235,000 and considering that this was the first ever Brasil Tennis Cup, it was a resounding success. It is likely to attract more of the world’s top players next year and it may well become a fixture on the WTA tour.
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