Charleston: Andrea Petkovic, who is coming back from a string of injuries in recent years, earned her first title in nearly three years Sunday with a straight-set win in the Family Circle Cup.
Germany’s Petkovic posted a 7-5, 6-2 win over rising star Jana Cepelova for her third WTA Tour crown and first since winning in Strasbourg in 2011. Her first title came five years ago in Bad Gastein.
Petkovic clinched the win in the eighth game of the second set when Cepelova’s forehand return sailed past the baseline.
Petkovic celebrated the victory on the green clay surface by doing a shuffle dance on the court.
“I am excited and emotional,” she said.
She won 32 of 49 first serve points in the 79-minute contest which lasted almost as long as her post-match speech in which she thanked numerous people for helping her overcome some troubling injuries.
She said she feels as comfortable in front of a microphone as a politician.
“I am almost like a politician, talking more than everyone else,” said Petkovic who improved to 3-5 all-time in WTA finals.
The 14th seeded Petkovic was down 4-5 in the first set and fought off a set point. She then reeled off eight straight games to seize control of the match.
Petkovic has battled a myriad of injuries.
“I was just so relieved and proud that I’ve come back from all these injuries, and I never thought I would play in the finals of the big tournaments again, and so I was just proud and happy and everything just sort of came together,” said Petkovic, who was ranked as high as number nine in 2011.
Petkovic said she didn’t expect to play in a final against the 20-year-old Cepelova, who easily knocked off world number one Serena Williams in the second round.
Cepelova, who appears to be headed for a breakout season on the Tour, achieved something very few 20 year olds have been able to do. She came to Charleston alone — without any entourage of any sort, including a coach.
“I want to congratulate Jana,” Petkovic said. “I am amazed you did this all by yourself. No coach, nobody with you.
“If you had said something I would have coached you but obviously you don’t need it.”
Cepelova was seeking to become the first player since Sabine Lisicki in 2009 to claim her maiden title in Charleston.