Last year at the Polstat Warsaw Open, qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru, ranked 201st, beat Alona Bondarenko in the finals. As a result, Dulgheru became the lowest ranked player to prevail at this renamed event whose roll call of distinguished winners includes Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams. Again, this year, Dulgheru, now world number 32, clashed with a seasoned competitor, Zheng Jie. The 20 year old triumphed over Zheng Jie 6-3,6-4 to obtain her second WTA title.
After Zheng had no problem her first two games, she faced triple break point when Dulgheru fabricated a forehand dropshot winner. Once Zheng’s forehand crosscourt landed out of play, Dulgheru took a 3-2 lead. Despite a difficult game, Dulgheru consolidated for 4-2. Later, with a backhand down the line pass for a winner, Dulgheru captured a second break extending her advantage to 5-2. Serving for the first set, Dulgheru double faulted on triple break point, reducing her lead to 5-3. However, with a forehand up the line winner, Dulgheru had her fourth break/set point. By crushing another forehand up the line, Dulgheru broke for the third time to secure the set.
Subsequent to a tough hold to open the second set, Dulgheru arrived at break point with a forehand crosscourt winner. An error on the forehand crosscourt by Zheng allowed Dulgheru to seize a 2-0 edge. Yet, with three consecutive mistakes, Dulgheru gave Zheng triple break point. The Chinese woman got back on serve with a lob winner. Soon, with a couple of timely winners, Zheng had triple break point. When Dulgheru donated a double fault, Zheng captured the break for 3-2. Promptly, Zheng consolidated for a 4-2 edge. After Dulgheru held another hard fought game, she teased three straight miscues out of Zheng for triple break point. By Zheng netting a backhand, the players were leveled at 4 a piece. Then, by connecting with a forehand crosscourt winner, Dulgheru went in front 5-4. With Zheng serving and ahead 40-15, Dulgheru produced a backhand winner and provoked an error to reach deuce. After Zheng erased an initial break point, a miscue on a swing volley handed Dulgheru her second championship point. Dulgheru sealed the victory with a backhand crosscourt winner.
Still, for Zheng, it has been a terrific tournament, reaching her first final since 2006. Consequently, Zheng, the fifth seed and 25th ranked, will see a minuscule bump in her ranking. Caroline Wozniacki, the number one seed, retired with an ankle problem after dropping the first set to Zheng in the semifinals. While Elena Dementieva, the second seed, was booted out in the second round by qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova, third seed Li Na was bounced by Dulgheru in the semifinals and fourth seed Marion Bartoli in the first round. Qualifier Greta Arn took out sixth seed and 2009 finalist Bondarenko in the quarterfinals, thereby continuing the alarming trend of top players falling this clay season.