Stefanie Voegele Arrives in Acapulco
While it may be hard to fathom, Roger Federer is not the only Swiss national making headlines; Stefanie Voegele, currently ranked 127 on the WTA Tour, reached her first main tour final at the Alberto Mexicano Telcel. Although she lost in three tight sets to the defending champion, Lesia Tsurenko, the soon to be 28-year-old Voegele did not fail to impress.
In the quarter-finals, Voegele faced the top seed and reigning US Open champion, Sloane Stephens. Fully aware of the American’s struggles since winning her first grand slam title last summer, she took advantage and won the first set 6-4. Though she lost the second and only set of the tournament thus far, she regained the momentum and took the third 6-2.
Heading into the final, Tsurenko-also twenty-eight years of age-led the head-to-head 4-1 but lost their most recent encounter in 2016 on an indoor hardcourt in Katowice.
Behind an explosive serve and lethal two-handed backhand, the Swiss took the first set 7-5 and was within 7 points of the upset as the second set went to a tie-break. Each player had broken serve three times leading up to the tie-breaker but Voegele was unable to create any break or match points winning just two in the breaker. Tsurenko would ride this momentum and close out the match 6-2 in the deciding set to earn her fourth career title.
Though she served more aces than Tsurenko (4/2), it was the second serve that betrayed her winning well below 50% while the Ukrainian won close to 60%. Despite hitting twenty fewer winners than Tsurenko during the nearly 3-hour match, Voegele was memorable when facing break points, saving eight of fifteen.
Stefanie Voegele reached a career-high ranking of #42 in 2013 but finished last season well outside the top 100 at #152. Her performance this past week in Mexico should provide ample motivation to continue to improve and sustain this upward trajectory.
In the not so distant past, twenty-eight was considered old and north of a player’s prime but thanks to the recent and remarkable accomplishments at the grand slam tournaments of Roger Federer and Serena Williams, both thirty-six years of age, the fervently debated concepts of age, longevity, and prowess have permanently been redefined.
Now, through this lens, Stefanie Voegele’s career is far from over and barring injury or mental exhaustion has much to look forward to both this season and for years to come. Voegele, it would appear, is once again, on her way.