Charlottesville 01 mei 2010 S: Rodionova (170) 6-4 6-4
Making the family proud
Michaella Krajicek was 7 years old when her older brother, Richard, defeated Pete Sampras on his way to winning the Wimbledon singles title.
For many pro tennis players in the making, this would be a seminal moment.
For Krajicek? Not so much.
Krajicek remembers family members watching all the matches on television — but nothing else.
“I was playing with my Barbies,” said Krajicek, laughing, “and they were more interesting at that time than the Wimbledon final.”
Well, Krajicek’s little sister, whose nickname in Dutch is “Kleine Kraai” (Little Crow), has certainly warmed up to tennis since. The 21-year-old has been ranked as high as No. 30 in the world. In 2007, she made it to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
On Saturday afternoon at the Boar’s Head Sports Club, the fifth-seeded Krajicek defeated Arina Rodionova, 6-4, 6-4, to move into the finals of the Boyd Tinsley Women’s Clay Court Classic.
Krajicek will play Laura Siegemund at 11:30 a.m. today. The unseeded Siegemund was a 7-5, 6-4 winner over eighth-seeded Anastasia Yakimova in Saturday’s other semifinal.
The 141st-ranked Krajicek and Siegemund (No. 278) have never played.
“I think it will kind of be the same story like today,” Krajicek said. “She mixes it up pretty well.
“Some girls can be nervous in the final, but I’m just going to take it as another match. Seeing as how she’s won four matches, she must be playing pretty well.”
Against Rodionova, Krajicek displayed the same trait that vaulted her brother to success — a big serve.
“I think, in general, every match has been pretty good so far — but I’m getting better and better by every match,” Krajicek said. “Today, the circumstances were a little more difficult because of the wind and it was much hotter today also, but I think I played well and I served well.”
In the first set, Krajicek broke Rodionova to take a 5-4 lead, then calmly held serve, closing out the set with two service winners.
In the second set, Krajicek jumped on Rodionova from the get-go, taking an early 3-0 lead.
However, Rodionova clawed back to 4-3 and Krajicek had to hold on for dear life in the eighth game, staving off six break points. On two of those occasions, she hit lobs that just clipped the back of the tape for winners, clearly frustrating Rodionova.
“It was a tough game and just too bad that I lost it,” Rodionova said.
Krajicek knew the importance of the game. If she had lost it, the match could have very easily taken a different turn.
“I was trying to stay aggressive,” she said, “but my first serve wasn’t going that well in that game. I got a little bit nervous, but I kept things together except for the one double fault.
“She was going for it and pressured me, so I had to hit [the lobs].”
Krajicek, who is actually the former Wimbledon champ’s half-sister — they have the same father but different mothers — says her big brother helped tutor her on the court as a teenager.
Today, Richard Krajicek is the director of a tennis tournament in Rotterdam, writes books, and is married to a former model who once played a “Bond girl” in the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”.
Not a bad gig if you can get it.
“He’s got a lot going on, but I’m sure if I were to call him now and say, ‘I need your help with my serve,’ he would be right here,” Krajicek said.
“I respect all of his achievements. He was No. 4 in the world and he could have been No. 1. A couple of times, he was one match away. That’s how close it is.
“Obviously, I look up to that, but while I’m here I’m trying to be myself.”
|Making the family proud 2 mei 2010|
|Krajicek rolls in Tinsley final 3 mei 2010|