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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Clay Queen Petrova Has an Eye on French Open

APPetrova posing with the trophy in Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday.
CHARLESTON, South Carolina -- Nadia Petrova is looking forward to the French Open even more than usual.

Petrova has done well at Roland Garros in the past and she'll head there as only the sixth player to win both American clay-court tournaments in the same season.

"I feel my game is taking another level, and I'm really looking forward to the red clay," she said Sunday after winning the Family Circle Cup with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 win over Patty Schnyder.

Petrova won the other American clay-court tournament at Amelia Island the previous week. She made it to the semifinals of the French Open in 2003 and then again last year.

And just making the finals of the Family Circle means the 23-year-old Russian, who was seeded second here, is ranked No. 5 in the world, her highest ranking yet.

She said her victory at Amelia Island was unexpected.

"I came here with a very good feeling because I've done actually way over what I had to do. So I really had nothing to lose in this tournament," she said.

But Petrova didn't lose, battling 31 degree Celsius heat and sore legs to defeat Schnyder and win her first top-tier tournament.

"At one stage in the match, I wasn't really sure if I was able to finish it," Petrova said.

Schnyder, ranked ninth, was runner-up at the Family Circle four years ago when she lost to Iva Majoli.

Petrova took the first set, but Schnyder got up a break in the first game of the second set and made it stand. When it went to three sets, Petrova thought she might have to retire.

But during the break after the second set a trainer massaged her legs and rubbed her with ice and made her drink water.

"There were lots of things that went through my mind at that stage and it was extremely difficult for me," Petrova said. "I knew I had a good chance, I just needed to win one more set, and I could have actually retired at any time, but I just didn't want to give up.

"I was never really feeling my game. My serve was not really there," said Schnyder, who said that, nevertheless, the heat didn't really bother her.

"From the start I was like feeling my concentration was not on. I always had to tell myself, 'Watch the ball and then really focus,'" she said. "That's what takes a lot of energy."

Petrova, who has four tour victories -- all in the past six months -- said she learned something from winning her first top-tier tournament.

"No matter what happens out there -- how badly I play or how badly I feel -- I still can find the strength in me and win it," she said. "I will remember it forever, of course, and when I have a difficult time on the court again, I'll probably remember this final."