At the Bank of the West Classic final, a premier tourney, eighth seed Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli blocked out her second set miscues and prevailed over second seed Venus Williams 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to claim her first title in the States.
After dropping only five games in the quarters and semis against Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva respectively, California fans expected a routine victory for Venus, the world number three. Instead, Bartoli, ranked 14th , showed that she was fearless. After each player had no problem with her initial service game, the two traded breaks. After Venus squandered an advantage point, Bartoli earned another break point with a forehand winner. She converted when Venus sliced a backhand into the net. After a multiple deuce game ended with a forehand mistake by Williams, Bartoli consolidated for 4-2. Then, with more backhand errors and a double fault from Williams, Bartoli broke for the third time and went on to capture the set.
The marks of success for Bartoli were great returns, pressuring Williams’ serve and forcing errors in the long rallies. With that game plan, Bartoli took the first game in the second set and consolidated for 2-0. After saving break point, Venus kept within reach for 2-1. Although Bartoli had several more chances to extend her lead, she was turned away. With Bartoli serving for the championship at 5-4, Venus struck a winner and induced a string of errors to level the set at 5 all. Subsequently, with backhand volley and forehand winners, Venus saved double break point and went on to take her first lead in the match at 6-5. Then, Bartoli capped an error filled game at 0-40 with a double fault giving Williams the second set.
With three consecutive errors and a double fault from Williams, Bartoli took a 1-0 lead. Marion consolidated and swung out to a 3-1 advantage. After sealing a tough game with an ace for 2-3, Venus was gifted three successive errors and a double fault to equalize the third set at 3 all. However, the illusion of Venus being in the driver’s seat was shattered by a double fault and a myriad of mistakes, which handed Bartoli double break point. Marion secured the break when Venus dumped a backhand into the net. After holding serve for 5-3, Bartoli failed to break Williams and had to serve out the match. With a backhand up the line winner and error from Bartoli, Venus had 0-30. Still, Marion composed herself and with a forehand crosscourt winner had 30 all. Then, with two more errors from Venus, Marion sealed the championship.
In the quarterfinals, Bartoli saved two match points to advance against Jelena Jankovic. Moreover, in the semifinals against Samantha Stosur , who beat Serena Williams the previous round, Bartoli needed a third set after easily winning the first set. Bartoli now leads the U.S. Open Series race and will see a rise in her rankings.