Varvara Lepchenko successfully defended her Goldwater Women's Tennis Classic title today at the Phoenix Country Club 63 76(5) over No. 1 seed Melanie Oudin. The tournament, sponsored by Grant Woods Law, grew this year to $75,000 in prize money, up from $50,000 in the inaugural Goldwater Classic last year. The victory was Lepchenko's 3rd consecutive ITF title and she has now won fifteen straight matches.
The Championship match started with Oudin serving and both players traded breaks. As the nerves settled a bit, each player held serve and the match was squared at 2-all. Lepchenko was serving well and managed to hit three aces in her first two service games and ended with four aces on the day. In the 5th and 9th games of the 1st set, Lepchenko would convert break chances yet again, won the set 63 and ended the set a perfect 3 of 3 in break point conversions.
Lepchenko would win the opening game of the 2nd set and then fail to get a stranglehold on the match as she hit a forehand long with Oudin serving at 30-40 in the 2nd game. The miss would allow Oudin to steady her game, play with renewed confidence and break Lepchenko in her next 2 service games to race to a 5-1 lead in the 2nd set. Realizing that the set would be difficult to win, Lepchenko relaxed, started to swing freely, found her game again and won her service game. The set would turn drastically as Oudin, now serving for the set at 5-2, would be broken at love.
Next, Lepchenko would hit her 4th ace of the day at 40-30 to seal her service game, making the score 5-4 in favor of Oudin. Amazingly, Oudin failed to win a point yet again while serving for the set for a second time and the set was tied 5-5. Now it was Lepchenko's turn to get tight as she served to take a 6-5 lead in the 2nd set.
Uncharacteristically, she missed six first serves in the game and Oudin broke in her 2nd opportunity to do so in the game to again have the opportunity to serve for the set. Oudin fell behind love-30 as the tally of consecutive points lost on her serve now stood at ten. Oudin would save two break points in the game before double faulting on the 3rd break point and the 2nd set headed to a tiebreaker. Lepchenko jumped to leads of 2-0, 4-2 and 5-3 in the breaker. Oudin won the next point on Lepchenko's serve as well as her service point when Lepchenko's forehand found the net. At 5-5, with Oudin serving, the players traded deep groundstrokes before Oudin sent a backhand just beyond the back corner of the court.
Lepchenko had the Championship on her racquet, serving at 6-5 in the 2nd set tiebreaker. Oudin would hit a Lepchenko drop shot beyond the baseline and a match that seemed certain of going to a 3rd set just 20 minutes earlier ended with the defending Champion winning again.
After the match, Varvara Lepchenko complemented Oudin for her fighting spirit on the court and her father for all of his support throughout the years and her boyfriend for being with her at this tournament. Oudin paid tribute to Grant Woods - tournament sponsor, Sara and Dan Stablein -tournament directors, Bunny Williams and Missy Malool - USTA officials and the Phoenix Country Club for its outstanding facilities.
In the Doubles Championship, American Coco Vandeweghe and Tetiana Luzhanska of the Ukraine teamed to defeat Americans Sloane Stephens and Julia Boserup 75 64. Earlier this year, Stephens won Grand Slam Junior Doubles titles at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and at the US Open with partner Timea Babos of Hungary.