Zheng Jie www.photosport.co.nz
By Stephanie Neppl
Zheng Jie of China has won the 2012 ASB Classic when Italy’s Flavia Pennetta was forced to pull out due to injury.
The final was moved indoors due to inclement weather, and No. 4 seed Pennetta charged ahead and won the first set 6-2. However, she frequently received treatment on her lower back. Despite being down a break in the second set, Zheng turned the tides and won the set 6-3. Pennetta’s physical struggles continued and she could not play on after going down 0-2 in the third set.
The victory was Zheng Jie’s first since she won a title in Stockholm in 2005. She called her gap between titles, “too long” and said she hopes to come back next year. “I am so excited and so happy to win this title because this is the first time I’ve won my first tournament of the year,” she said.
Pennetta said she isn’t sure what the injury is and would get an MRI tomorrow. “I think now the important thing is to recover.” She first felt the injury at 4-2 in the first set and said despite oncourt treatments the pain just got worse and worse.
Zheng said she felt sad for Pennetta. “I want to say sorry for Flavia and the problems with her back. I hope she is better for next week.”
Stephanie Neppl is in Auckland, New Zealand covering the ASB Classic for the tournament web site. She is the Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland covering the ASB Classic and Heineken Open.
Follow the ASB Classic on their web site http://www.asbclassic.co.nz/, twitter https://twitter.com/#!/ASBClassicAuckland and Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ASBClassic.
Auckland, New Zealand
January 2-8, 2012
Results – Sunday, January 8, 2012
Singles – Final
Zheng Jie (CHN) d. (4) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 26 63 20 ret. (low back injury)
Doubles – Final (played Saturday)
(3) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. (4) Goerges/Pennetta (GER/ITA) 67(2) 62 107 (Match TB)