Germany’s Andrea Petkovic landed the 7th WTA Title of her career when she defeated Mayar Sherif, 6-1 6-1, to win her first tournament in more than 6 years on Sunday at the inaugural Winners Open in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, stopping the Egyptian from more trailblazing.
I’ll keep my head up, to learn from these losses and keep going forward. I’ll take it in a positive way. Every match I played with all my heart, all my effort, all the mental effort that I could," Sherif added in her post-match media conference. Happy from where I arrived with this tournament, and hopefully I’ll make everybody proud back home. Mayar Sherif
“I feel so happy,” Petkovic told the press, after her win. “It feels much longer than six years, because so many things happened in the six years.
“I was ready to retire, I almost did retire, I started five new jobs!
“Now being back to what I love most, tennis, and winning at it, is just the best feeling. I’m the happiest person in the world right now.”
The 2nd-seeded former top tenner has not dropped a set this week, and she never faced a break point in the match against the unseeded Sherif, who was the first Egyptian woman ever to reach a WTA final.
Petkovic converted 5 of her 10 break chances in the 61 minute encounter to claim her 5th title on clay courts.
Her career-best performance at a Grand Slam event also came on the clay at 2014 Roland Garros, where she reached the semi-finals.
It has been a resurgent summer for Petkovic, who has made the final at 2 of her last 3 events, her first final since she claimed the title at Antwerp in February of 2015, and finishing as runner-up in Hamburg last month.
At 33-years old, who she has now won 12 of her last 14 matches, was in dominant form against Sherif, earning two-thirds of points returning the Egyptian’s second serve, while holding her own deliveries with some ease.
Despite the loss, it has still been a historic week for 25-year-old Sherif, who blazed through her 4 straight-set matches in the singles draw, and also reached the doubles final with Katarzyna Piter from Poland but lost on Saturday to Russia’s Natela Dzalamidze & Kaja Juvan from Slovenia, 6-3 6-4.
“I’ll keep my head up, to learn from these losses and keep going forward,” Sherif said on court, while accepting her finalist trophy. “I’ll take it in a positive way.
“Every match I played with all my heart, all my effort, all the mental effort that I could,” Sherif added in her post-match media conference.
“Happy from where I arrived with this tournament, and hopefully I’ll make everybody proud back home.”
Petkovic found her targets with sturdy groundstrokes as she zipped to a 5-0 lead in the opening set and while Sherif averted the bagel with a hold for 5-1, she could not stop Petkovic’s momentum, as the German slammed an error-forcing forehand to convert her first set point.
Sherif did well to save 2 break points in the opening game of the second, but it proved to be her last stand, as powerful returning by Petkovic helped the 2nd seed reel off 6 games in a row to wrap up the win, ending it with one final flourish of a forehand return winner.
“I’m going to the States to do hard court,” Petkovic responded when asked what is next for her. “Funnily enough, I feel most comfortable on hard court, and I hope I can take this good form and this confidence that I gained here in Cluj with me over the ocean, into the US.”