A year after making the finals of LA and losing to Dina, Flavia came through a tough draw (beating Nads, Bepa, and Masha) to take it to Sammy Stones and win the biggest title of her career, 64 63.
It was a really impressive display by Flavia, the third straight impressive match I'd seen from her. The match came down to two things: Flavia's decision to break down Sam's backhand (which worked) and Sam's inability to serve well (she was outaced. By Flavia Pennetta. Think about that.) Flavi (yes, she calls herself "Flavi") played within herself and was totally contained.
I went into the match thinking that I was going to root for Flavs. But as the match started I really started pulling for Sam, partly because I wanted three sets, and partly because, having watched her play a bunch this weekend, I just REALLY love watching her play tennis. As Victoria and I were discussing, Sam plays like a guy, and I mean that as a total compliment. Big serve, big forehand, good volley. You don't really get the sense of how big her serve and forehand are on TV. Those things are Rafa-like in the way that they kick up from the court. Unfortunately for Sam, Flavs totally negated both weapons, hitting consistently to her backhand, and then Sam couldn't execute her serve. Tough loss for Sam. This was a really good opportunity for her to notch her first WTA singles title.
So congratulations to both of them for a solid tournament. But for now, Flavia is the Queen of Awesome. If there's a lifesize cutout of her next year, I'm going for it.