Olga Govortsova in action during the Midland women's final.
© Robert Spears Photography
By McCarton Ackerman, special to USTA.com
MIDLAND, Mich. -- The 24th Annual Dow Corning Tennis Classic at the Midland Community Tennis Center concluded with championship singles and doubles matches in front of a sold-out crowd on Sunday. No. 7 seed Olga Govortsova of Belarus, who has won seven WTA Tour doubles titles throughout her career, clinched the biggest singles title of her career by beating No. 2 seed Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in a third-set tiebreaker. Meanwhile, in the doubles final, No. 1 seeds and 2011 French Open Champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka clinched the championship over Vesna Dolonts of Russia and Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France.
In the first match of the day, Govortsova served to stay in the match at 5-6 in the second set and fought off both of Rybarikova’s chances to serve out the match in the final set, rallying from 3-5 and 5-6 down to take the title with a 6-3, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5) victory. The match, which took nearly three hours to complete, was the first career meeting between the two players.
"When I lost in the second-set tiebreak, I said to myself that I have to start going for my shots more." said Govortsova. "She was keeping the ball so low with the slice, though, so it was really hard for me. I think that was the toughest final I’ve played."
Govortsova reached the semifinals at her only other appearance in Midland in 2007. Currently ranked No. 96, she was ranked as high as No. 35 in June 2008. She won her first ever main-draw match at the Australian Open last month and said she is playing the best tennis of her career.
"I didn’t have such a good year last year, but this has been a great start (to 2012) for me so far," said Govortsova.
Govortsova also won a winner’s check for $15,200, while Rybarikova took home a check for $8,107. Both Govortsova and Rybarikova will head off to the WTA event next week in Memphis, where main-draw action will kick off next Monday. Rybarikova is the defending champion at that tournament.
"I’m just really sad now because the match was right there for me," said Rybarikova. "I don’t think I’ve ever had a final like this before. I think it almost might be better to just get blown off the court than to lose like this."
In the doubles final, No. 1 seeds and 2011 French Open doubles champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic defeated Vesna Dolonts of Russia and Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France, 7-6 (4), 6-1. This tournament marked the first time that current Grand Slam title-holding doubles champions have competed in a USTA Pro Circuit event. Hlavackova/Hradecka also won the doubles title at the WTA event in Auckland last month before going on to reach the semifinals at this year’s Australian Open.
The Dow Corning Tennis Classic is in its 24th year on the USTA Pro Circuit, making it the longest-running women’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit. Several former competitors at the event have gone on to win Grand Slam titles and reach the top 10 in the rankings. Past competitors include seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and Olympic gold medalist Justine Henin, three-time Grand Slam singles champion Maria Sharapova, two-time Grand Slam singles champion Mary Pierce, 2011 French Open singles champion Na Li, 2010 French Open singles champion Francesca Schiavone and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Anna Kournikova.
ABOUT THE USTA PRO CIRCUIT
With approximately 90 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its pro circuit in 1976 to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from over 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Andre Agassi, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport, Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.
Dow Corning Tennis Classic
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Midland Community Tennis Center
Sunday, February 12 - RESULTS:
Singles – Finals
Olga Govortsova, Belarus (7), def. Magdalena Rybarikova, Slovakia (2), 6-3, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5)
Doubles – Finals
Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, Czech Republic (1), def. Vesna Dolonts, Russia, and Stephanie Foretz Gacon, France, 7-6 (4), 6-2