In a surprising final in Sydney on Friday, the world number 107, Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, took the title in two straight sets. A professional on the tour since 2002 with a career highest ranking of 31 in 2010, Pironkova had never won a WTA title – singles or doubles – to date. Her greatest claim to fame was that she beat Venus Williams in straight sets at Wimbledon in 2011.
She went through against the 3rd seed in the qualifiers on a retirement, had a very easy second round match and then beat the 11th seed in the final round to make the main draw. In her first two rounds she had straight sets wins, followed by a 7-6 6-3 win over 3rd seed Sara Errani and a 7-6 6-2 victory over 2nd seeded Petra Kvitova in the semis.
Pironkova’s opponent in the final was 5th seeded Angelique Kerber, who won all her rounds in straight sets without meeting a seed on the way after top seeded Agnieszka Radwanska was beaten by another qualifier in her first match. The Bulgarian and the German had a win each in the head to head records, with Pironkova having won in their last meeting, in Doha in 2012. During the final the Bulgarian served four aces and one double, while the German scored no aces and double faulted three times. The final score was 6-4 6-4, completed in one hour and thirty six minutes – a great result which will give Pironkova a boos going into the first slam of the season on Monday.