Third-seeded US duo Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears defeated Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and her partner, Janette Husarova of Slovakia, 6-4, 6-1 on Sunday in the final of the Southern California Open doubles competition.
Kops-Jones and Spears were runners-up in 2011 and champions last year in Carlsbad, and they took a 11-1 record into this year’s final. It was Kops-Jones and Spears’ most emphatic victory of the week, as they never faced a break point.
It was the Americans second straight doubles title, having won in Stanford, California, the previous weekend. Carlsbad was their eighth WTA doubles titles as a duo, while it was Chan and Husarova’s third outing as a pair and their best result so far.
In the singles, Sam Stosur claimed her first title in nearly two years, beating top seed Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-3.
Fifth seed Stosur of Australia had lost all of her previous eight matches against Azarenka, winning only two sets.
The win was Stosur’s fourth career WTA singles title and the first since she won her only major, the 2011 US Open.
“I think this is a huge boost for me,” Stosur said. “I haven’t had great results for really all year, so to be able to bounce back and come away with this is really exciting and a good boost going into the last [Grand] Slam of the year.”
Later on Sunday, Azarenka withdrew from Rogers Cup in Toronto this week because of a lower-back injury.
“I’m so disappointed that I can’t make it to Toronto as I added it to my schedule knowing what an important event it is,” Azarenka said. “I am sorry to all my Canadian fans, and I will work hard to get healthy and back on the courts as soon as possible.”
Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open champion, played another loose match, committing 32 unforced errors, including seven double faults, and had only 11 winners.
“I think I was taking too many wrong kind of decisions or too risky decisions when there was no need to be risky,” she said. “I didn’t try to sometimes stay in the rally. I just wanted to make what sometimes I can make with [my] eyes closed. [Sunday] I didn’t do it with open eyes.”
Stosur, playing in her first final since October last year, hit 20 winners compared with 29 unforced errors, but played the key points well, including saving 11 of 12 break points.
“That was a really big part of the match,” Stosur said. “That first set, she did have lots of opportunities. I think nearly all of them except one I hit a really good first serve in and she didn’t make the ball into play.”
Stosur, ranked No. 13 in the world, requested and was granted a wild card into the event after she lost her opening-round match last week in Stanford, California. She had victories over world No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska and the third-ranked Azarenka, the first time she has defeated two top five players in an event since the 2011 WTA Championships.
“You can practice all you want, but at some point you got to put it into play in matches,” Stosur said. “That was the reasoning behind coming here. You got to put yourself under that pressure of playing matches. That’s why I came and obviously now, very, very pleased with that decision.”
Azarenka, who moved into the world No. 2 ranking ahead of Maria Sharapova yesterday, was playing her first tournament since withdrawing from Wimbledon with a right-knee injury before her second-round match.
Azarenka set the tone early when she did not win a point on her first service game of the match, including consecutive double faults to give Stosur a 2-0 lead. She then scored her only break of the match on Stosur’s serve in the next game, before the Aussie broke back for a 3-1 lead.
In a key game, Stosur fended off five break points in the next game to hold her serve and take a 4-1 lead en route to winning the first set.
Stosur held a huge advantage with her serve in the set over one of the game’s best returners. Stosur, who had six aces, won 73 percent of her first serves compared with Azarenka’s 43 percent.
Azarenka was even worse on her second serves, winning only 30 percent.
Azarenka improved her game slightly in the second set as the pair were on serve until Stosur struck with the only break in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead.
Stosur improved her record in finals to 4-12.
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