(photo credit: AP)
Shahar Pe'er and Anna-Lena Groenefeld finished their first week together as doubles partners with a title after beating Italian Maria Elena Camerin and Gisela Dulko of Argentina 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, on Sunday.
The win marked Pe'er's second career WTA Tour doubles title and saw her shoot up to a career-best 35 in the new rankings. She moved up one spot to No. 25 in the singles rankings.
Despite needing nearly three hours to get by Marion Bartoli of France and Poland's Marta Domachowska in Saturday's semifinals, the third-seeded Israeli/German duo came out stronger and never let up until it lifted the title.
"I am happy we played together this week," Groenefeld told the WTA Web site. "It was a last minute decision. We had a lot of fun and I'm happy we won the tournament. We wanted to be aggressive, cross a lot, and make the points short."
Pe'er and Groenefeld will not continue their partnership this week at the Acura Classic in San Diego. Groenefeld will reunite with her regular partner, American Meghann Shaughnessy, while Pe'er goes back to Bartoli.
Ironically, the first opponents for Pe'er and Bartoli will be Domachowska, Bartoli's partner at Stanford, and Tatiana Golovin of France. The winning side advances to face the top-ranked pair of Australian Samantha Stosur and American Lisa Raymond in the second round.
Pe'er opens singles play against Dulko (33), with No. 5 seed Patty Schnyder (8) awaiting the winner.
Anna Smashnova (64), who won her 12th career WTA Tour title Sunday in Budapest, withdrew from the event with a right shoulder injury.
Clijsters routs Schnyder for another Stanford title
Kim Clijsters won her fourth Bank of the West Classic title in six years, effortlessly beating Schnyder 6-4, 6-2 to stay unbeaten in the event since 2002.
The hardcourt specialist got off to another sterling start in the five events leading up to the US Open, where she won her first Grand Slam title last year. The well-heeled crowd at the tournament on Stanford University's campus cheered loudly for its local favorite during a 52-minute match - her shortest of the week.
Clijsters won the tournament in 2001 and 2003, missed the event with an injury one year later, and then repeated her title last year, beating Venus Williams.
Clijsters has won this tournament more times than anyone except Martina Navratilova, who has six titles in the San Francisco Bay Area's long-running WTA Tour event.
She overwhelmed her Swiss opponent with sharp serves, then ran her ragged with back-and-forth groundstrokes to win her 32nd career title and her second this season, following a victory in Warsaw in May.