By Ros Satar
(June 22, 2013) EASTBOURNE, England –
Elena Vesnina def. Jamie Hampton 6-2, 6-1
Elena Vesnina followed up her maiden WTA title in Hobart with a convincing win over Jamie Hampton.
Playing in extremely blustery conditions, Vesnina seemed to handle the conditions better when it counted.
The crowd was treated to some epic games, and in truth the score line feels a little harsh for the American qualifier, who was playing her eighth match and had played through almost every type of weather conceivable.
Vesnina did have to contend with a warning for time violation as the wind played havoc first with her ball-toss and then with her outfit.
The first break, when it came, was more down to a rash of errors from Hampton, but she then failed to take three break point opportunities to break straight back.
Her concentration and confidence seemed to take a dive as another string of errors handed Vesnina the first set.
Despite calling for her coach before the second set, Hampton struggled to hold her serve, saving two break points and brought her coach out again before finally getting a game on the board.
But it really was one-way traffic after that point, as Vesnina was able to play the bigger points better.
There is a lot for Hampton to take from this week, playing matches in some really adverse conditions, including a haze so heavy it was hard to see the scoreboard at the other end of the court.
“I have given myself like a two hour time limit to sulk, basically the journey up to Wimbledon, maybe have a little chocolate (smiling) and then move on and get on with Wimbledon, start thinking about the match a little bit,” she said before going on to praise her opponent.
“I was surprised honestly how she was even hitting the ball in the court, and on top of that she was playing very good tennis. She was very deserving of the title today.”
Hampton moves up from 41 to 25 in the world rankings on Monday and will be the No. 3 American behind Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams.
Hampton will face Sloane Stephens in the first round of Wimbledon – perhaps a little unfortunate as both had good runs at the French Open.
Before the start of this year, Vesnina was 0-6 in both singles and doubles finals.
Now she has two tour titles, and a Grand Slam title, winning the doubles with Ekaterina Makarova at Roland Garros.
Battling similar conditions to her maiden title in Hobart, she described the experience after the match.
“At the beginning of the match, I was like, Oh, my God, I just need to stay in the match, just try to play every single point. Don’t think about wind and just fight.
“It was just about fighting spirit.
“If you’re able to handle this, if you’re able to play under the pressure with this kind of wind, you will do well.”
Winning a grand slam title at Roland Garros has given Vesnina a degree of confidence, but it could have also been destiny.
“Yevgeny Kafelnikov, he’s from Sochi, he’s from my home city, and when he won Roland Garros many years ago I was coached by his dad.
“I came to his house, and his dad showed me the trophy.
“He told me that it’s going to be your first Grand Slam title, believe me.
“And it happened.”
Not that boost of confidence has gone to her head.
“Everybody is joking right now about me, Oh, like you’re a Grand Slam, you can say whatever you want, like you can do whatever you want.
“It gave me that confidence, gave myself belief even more.
“But I didn’t change as a person. I’m same.”
Vesnina has been as far as the Round of 16 at Wimbledon but in recent years has struggled to get past the first two rounds.
She will face Andrea Hlavackova in the first round, and Wimbledon starts on Monday, June 24th.
Ros Satar is a British Journalist – an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. She was covering the AEGON International this week as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her personal twitter at @rfsatar.