Latest 8 Jan 2011
Can You Believe It!
Ranked 88 in the world, the Hungarian veteran (31) arrived alone in Auckland – missing her luggage – having snuck into the KIA Motors Singles main draw only after a couple of late withdrawals. That was all the opportunity she needed.
In the final, Arn simply continued the rock solid play that had carried her past seeds Sofia Arvidsson (eighth), Maria Sharapova (first) and Julia Goerges (fourth) on the way.
"I am so happy," she beamed afterwars. "It is a dream come true."
While Wickmayer seemed to be wrestling with herself mentally and perhaps – after her 2h 51m marathon semifinal win over Chinese Shuai Peng yesterday – physically, her opponent was ruthlessly efficient, breaking twice to take the opening set 6-3.
"I had three tough matches where I had to come back a lot of times," said Wickmayer. "That doesn't make it easy to stay fit mentally."
The Belgian second seed again struggled on serve, winning barely half her first-serve points through that first set.
By contrast, Arn allowed her no chances to break back.
"I could see that I was frustrating her and that's what I have to do," she said. "My game plans was to mover her around. She had a tough match yesterday and she looks fit, but it worked."
During the second set, Wickmayer began to hint at another comeback, but dropped a crucial service game at 3-2. That was probably the straw that broke her back.
"I wasn't just disappointing at losing, also disappointed with my game today," said Wickmayer. "Everyone wants to win, but I also wanted to play a good match today and I didn't.
"I had one bad day, but four good ones this week."
Arn had another break point for the match at 5-2, but couldn’t capitalise. She needed two more before finally clinching it on serve in the next game.
"At that moment, you are so happy. It's what you have wanted and you finally have it."
The title is Arn's second - she won as a qualifier at Estorial in 2007 - but comes at a cost. Making the ASB Classic final means she will not make the qualifying tournament in Sydney this week, so she will now travel straight to Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open.
"It's a good problem."