2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships
Carson, CA, USA - August 9, 2009
Editorial courtesy of the LA Womens Tennis Championships
Photography by David Burrows.
Italy's Flavia Pennetta won her eighth career Sony Ericsson WTA singles title Sunday, but called winning the $700,000 2009 LA Women's Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife the biggest win of her career.
Pennetta hoisted the crystal trophy and gladly accepted the $107,000 first-place check after her convincing 6-4, 6-3 win over Australian Samantha Stosur at the Home Depot Center.
"I think it's different when you never get to the finals," said Pennetta, who won on the final day for only the second time on hardcourts. "I've played a few finals before. It's not the same because this one is a very big tournament, but I was ready to play the finals today."
Pennetta is expected to rise to No. 12 in the rankings on Monday, one spot away from her career high of No. 11. Stosur, who won $55,500, goes to a career-high No. 17.
"Sure, I'm disappointed," Stosur said. "I would have loved to have won my first title today, but it wasn't meant to be. I played a very good player today and she played a little better than me. It's certainly something I'm going to build on the rest of the year and the rest of the U.S. summer."
The 10th seeded Pennetta served well all day and came back after a sub-par serving night in the semfinals against Maria Sharapova on Saturday. "I think my serve was very good today," she said. "Almost all week it helped me a lot in the important points. I was very aggressive. When I was aggressive I won the points. That was a big step for me to improve my game."
Pennetta is the first player to reach back-to-back finals at this event since Lindsay Davenport in 2003-04. Stosur has now lost in five career singles finals.
"I'm very happy about this tournament. All week I was improving and playing better and better. Today was a very good match. We both fought a lot. I had a great chance in the first set and the second, I took it and that's why I won.
"Women's tennis in Italy has improved a lot in the last three years. After we won the Fed Cup everything changed. It's pretty important now. To become No. 10 is going to be a big step for tennis in Italy.
"I think my serve was very good. Almost all week it helped me a lot in the important points. I was very aggressive. When I was aggressive I won the points. That was a big step for me to improve my game.
"I think it's (finals) different when you never get there. I've played a few finals before. It's not the same because this one is a very big tournament, but I was ready to play the finals today.
He (coach Gabriel Urpi) told me to be more relaxed with my serve, not try to find the ace and be aggressive. Sometimes I don't listen because I'm too nervous, but most of the time I try to listen.
"I think I just enjoy playing this tournament. I feel great here. We stay in a nice place where there isn't much to do. It's relaxing and I'm completely focused on my tennis.
"I started to play better on hard court two years ago. I work hard with Gabriel (Urpi) and he tried to change a little bit of my game. My serve and my forehand are much better. I'm starting to put more power in the leg and everything.
"We spend like four or five hours a day on the court, so I think that's why I've improved."
"I think she got a pretty decent amount of first serves in. When I got chances on second serves I wasn't able to split the court very well.
"I thought she served pretty well today.
"I didn't put enough pressure on her. I think that was the difference today.
"I wasn't overly nervous about today's match. Some days you go out and everything feels great. Its not that I felt bad today, she played well.
"I actually felt really good going into today's match. I wanted to treat it like any other match I had here. I didn't think like 'oh my god, I'm in a final. How am I going to handle it?'
"Sure, I'm disappointed. I would have loved to have won my first title today, but it wasn't meant to be. I played a very good player today and she played a little better than me.
"It's certainly something I'm going to build on the rest of the year and the rest of the U.S. summer.
"It's a really good feeling going into the U.S. Open. I couldn't have set myself up any better than I have. I don't want to dwell too much on today's loss. It's disappointing, but I want to focus on the positive."
 Flavia Pennetta (Italy) d  Samantha Stosur (Australia) [black dress] 64 63
Earlier Columns from this Event:
August 8, 2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships Coverage: Flavia Pennetta, Maria Sharapova
August 7, 2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships Coverage: Maria Sharapova, Urszula Radwanska
August 5, 2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships Coverage: Sharapova, Azarenka
August 4, 2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships Coverage: Ivanovic, King
August 3, 2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships Coverage: Sharapova, Bondarenko, Shaughnessy, Groth
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