By Barbara Galiza
(March 1, 2013) Venus Williams looked apathetic in her semifinal loss to Olga Puchkova in Florianópolis, but made no excuses. The American, normally an ace machine, was hitting serves at around 62 mph and, during a few points, seemed close to collapse. The Russian won in 2 hours and 31 minutes, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 and made her first final since 2006.
“Olga played a good match, from start to the end. I did the best I could on the court today, she just played better. It was very close. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the final but hopefully I will return again next year”, said the former number one. “My next tournament is Miami so I’ll go home, rest a little, and get ready to play there.”
Puchkova, all smiles in her post-match news conference, shared a curious story about her and Venus. In the final, the Russian-born player, that trains in California, faces Monica Niculescu.
“When Venus was 18 or 19, and I was about seven, they were throwing this huge campaign for her in Florida and my dad took me there. So I have this picture with her, hugging me, and I still have the ball she autographed for me. It’s pretty amazing, I didn’t know I was ever going to play her. Actually, I wanted to find the picture and ask her to sign it. How crazy would that be?”
Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro and is covering the WTA tennis tournament in Florianópolis, Brazil as media in for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her updates on @TennisNewsTPN.
WTA BRASIL TENNIS CUP
February 24-March 2, 2013
Results – Friday, March 1, 2013
Singles – Semifinals
Olga Puchkova (RUS) d. (1) Venus Williams (USA) 46 64 75
Monica Niculescu (ROU) d. (7) Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 60 62
Doubles – Final
(1) Medina Garrigues/Shvedova (ESP/KAZ) d. Keothavong/Savinykh (GBR/RUS) 60 64
Order Of Play – Saturday, March 2, 2013
Centre Court (from 20.00hrs)
1. Singles Final: Olga Puchkova vs. Monica Niculescu