Petrova defeats Peer, wins first title in 3 years

COLLEGE PARK — — A familiar figure popped into the media tent Sunday afternoon at the Tennis Center at College Park, about 10 minutes after Nadia Petrova had discussed winning her first WTA championship in three years.

The visitor? Petrova. Seems the Russian forgot to lug away the crystal vase she earned by dispatching top-seeded Shahar Peer, 7-5, 6-2, to win the Citi Open, a first-year event.

With no singles title since 2008, second-seeded Petrova had not been accustomed to leaving events with heavy hardware. She earned this one, winning her first three matches this week in straight sets, rallying to victory in the semifinals after dropping the first set, and then by handling Peer on Sunday after dropping the first two games in each set.

"I love crystal, and I have already a nice collection of it," the Miami-based Petrova said with a smile. She also picked up $37,000 for the victory.

Petrova, 29, has now beaten Peer, 24, in all six of their meetings, five times in straight sets, including at the French Open in 2005 and Wimbledon in 2009. Petrova said that she hasn't been keeping track of her record in the series. Peer sure has though, and during the on-court trophy ceremony Sunday, the Israeli graciously mentioned her winless streak against Petrova.

Petrova won 30 of 36 first-serve points and collected seven aces to just one for Peer. Petrova led the WTA Tour in aces in 2010 with 306.

"I knew that Shahar was not really able to hurt me with her serve," said Petrova, who in 2006 was the third-ranked player in the world and a two-time French Open semifinalist. She's now ranked 32nd. "Especially if it's the second serve I had to take an advantage out of it. And then I knew if I'm serving solid it would be very difficult for her to break."

"[In the semifinals], I served huge in the most important part of the game," said Peer, who at No. 24 was the highest-ranked player in the 32-woman field. "Unfortunately [not] today when I really needed my serve. Because with such a big server, you do need to get some free points and I didn't get it today. She's a player that can get out of very tough situations with her serve."

Peer double-faulted five times in the first set.

Despite the championship loss, it was a rejuvenating week for Peer, who was ranked 11th earlier this year but who had been bounced in the first round of her five previous tournaments before rolling into Washington.

In the doubles championship Sunday, Sania Mirza and Yaroslava Shvedova defeated Olga Govortsova and Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-3, 6-3.