The final round robin match at the WTA Tour Championships in Istanbul on Friday was inconsequential with Victoria Azarenka hacving already nooked her semi-final spot and reserve player Marion Bartoli, coming in for Maria Sharapova who pulled out after losing her firts two matches, not having any chance of making the alst four.
Azarenka had won 7 of their 8 previous matches but Bartoli was the one who triumphed this time winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in what was the second longest match of the event so far.
The Frenchwoman came out firing, winning the first four games and bringing up two set points at 5-3 . The momentum swung in Azarenka'sfavour, as she won nine of 10 games to build a 75 20 lead, but Bartoli kept fighting, and eventuallu winning in two-hours and 31-minute.
Bartoli won just one more point: 101 to 100 for Azarenka.
"I lost many, many times against Vika," Bartoli said. "I had this huge lead in the first set and she came back very strongly to win the first set and lead 2-0 in the second. I just tried to focus on my own game and play well from my side."
I was really ready to play this match," she commented. "I had never practiced on this court, so actually the first ball I hit with Vika today was the first ball I ever hit on center court in Istanbul.
"It was very nice to have this experience. It was a really great atmosphere, a great crowd. I'm very pleased with my victory over Vika today."
Next up for Bartoli is the Commonwealth Bank Tournament Of Champions in Bali, where she will be the No.1 seed. "I have to pack my suitcase tonight and be ready for 23 hours' trip tomorrow to the wonderful city of Bali. It's nice to finish the season over there. It really feels like paradise - you have the white sand beaches... it's a great place to be for the last tournament of the season."
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.