Newly crowned US Open champion Flavia Pennetta battled to a 6-2 6-4 victory over young up and coming Daria Gavrilova. In a matchup of experience versus youth, experience proved to be too much on Wednesday at the Kremlin Cup, held in Moscow. For the 3rd seeded Italian, it was her opening match of the tournament as she received a bye in 1st round. The 21 year old Russian battled past Alize Cornet in a highly contested 3-6 6-3 7-5 three set match to advance to the 2nd round. It was the pairs first head to head match against each other.
The 33 year old Italian is continuing on her farewell tour as she inches torward retirement by the end of the year. With the opening round win, she is the 7th player to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore. After she plays in the finals she will call it quits and retire from her very successful career. She will not play in the quarterfinal match against Lesia Tsurenko as she has given her opponent a walkover to the semifinals.
The difference in the match would come down to the Italian's play on break points. She would save 10 of 12 break points and convert 5 of 11 break points, to take the match in an hour and a half. 72% of 2nd return points won would not be hurtful either, as she put pressure on her young opponent.
Pennetta In Full Control
Pennetta would be eager to get off on the right foot as the match began. She would break the Russian in the 1st game to go up 1-0. After a hold of serve she would take a 2-0 lead, but the world number 36th would then get on the board with a hold for 1-2. The 33 year old veteran would then show effortless control as she would place a volley winner perfectly past Gavrilova on advantage to take a 3-1 lead. The Italian would break in the next game as the 21 year old would hit a shaky slice backhand into the net. The Russian would fight back as she would go up 40-15 on Pennetta's serve by holding her opponent far behind the baseline with powerful shots. The break back would soon come after a 2-4 deficit. The world number 8 would then assert herself as she would hit an impressive swinging forehand volley to get another break on AD-out. With the 5-2 lead, the Italian would never look back as she would hold at 15 to take the set 6-2 with a dynamic backhand winner.
US Open Champion Finishes Strong
The 2nd set would start out at 1 a piece for both players. Eventually the set would go to 3-3 all as Pennetta would take a 30-0 lead on the Russian's serve. She would then break to get an important 4-3 lead. Moments of brilliance would be shown from the Grand Slam champion as she would hit a graceful forehand winner to take a 30-0 lead on serve. With solid play, she would close out the game to take a 5-3 lead. The Russian would make her opponent earn it as she would take care of business on her serve. In a close last game, the pressure would be too much for Gavrilova as she would hit a overhead error on AD-in to give the Italian hold of the game, set, and match. The world number 8 would win the match 6-2 6-4 in convincing fashion.