Aravane Rezaï (Persian: ارغوان رضایی , Latin alphabet: Aravane Rezaï, born March 14, 1987) is an Iranian tennis player born in Saint-Étienne, France to Iranian parents. She is the current French No. 2 in women’s tennis. Rezaï took up tennis after a childhood stint as her older brother’s ball girl. She has defeated many top players on the WTA, such as, Justine Henin, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Dinara Safina, Jelena Janković, Francesca Schiavone, Caroline Wozniacki, Marion Bartoli, Victoria Azarenka, Flavia Pennetta, and Ai Sugiyama, .
2001 and 2005: Women’s Islamic Games
2006: U.S. Open & ITF Success
She also competed on the ITF circuit throughout the year. She reached the final of two ITF tournaments, as well as winning one in the later part of the year on the hardcourts of France.
At the international clay tournament of Istanbul (Turkey) Rezaï reached the final by beating American World No. 29 Venus Williams in the 2nd round (6–4, 6–4) and Russian World No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the semi-final (6–2, 6–4). In the final she lost to Russian Elena Dementieva due to retiring, trailing 6–7(5) 0–3.
In spite of her good performance in the international clay tournament, she lost the week after 6–2, 6–4 to Marion Bartoli in the first round of the 2007 French Open. In her first appearance in Wimbledon she defeated Shenay Perry from the U.S. in the first round 6–2 7–6 and Francesca Schiavone from Italy the 29 seed in the second round, 6–4 2–6 6–4. However, in the third round she was defeated by Ana Ivanović from Serbia by 6–3, 6–2. At the 2007 US Open she once again lost to Ana Ivanović in the second round.
She ended an appalling year with yet another ITF Circuit title Deauville France. She won the title, losing only one set en route.
Her only other grand success of the year came on the clay of Morocco through late April to early May. She reached the semi-finals. However, she lost to Gisela Dulko.
She won the first WTA Tour title of her career in Strasbourg, beating Lucie Hradecká 7–6(2), 6–1 in the final. Despite a first round loss at the Australian Open, she flew to the 4th round of French Open after defeating Michelle Larcher de Brito by 7–6(3), 6–2, but lost to World No.1 Dinara Safina 6–1, 6–0, effectively putting an end to her participation in Roland-Garros.
Seeded tenth at the 2009 Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions Rezaï won her first round robin match against fourth seed Sabine Lisicki 6–1, 3–6, 4–6 and then beat Melinda Czink in her second round robin match, 6–3, 7–5 to make her the first player to advance to the semifinals of the inaugural event. She then went on to the semifinals where she beat María José Martínez Sánchez 6–2 6–3. In the final she faced Marion Bartoli and won the first set 7–5 before Bartoli retired. Because of her performance Rezaï reached a new career high.
Rezaï’s first tournament of the year is the 2010 ASB Classic where she is seeded #7. In the first round she beat Julie Coin 6–4 6–3. On match-point the lights in the stadium shut off, but shortly after were fixed where Rezaï then closed out the match.
Her next tournament was the Medibank International Sydney. Rezaï won her first round match against Anna-Lena Grönefeld 6–7 6–2 6–2. She then faced Ágnes Szávay and won 6–3 7–6. In the quarterfinals she beat Flavia Pennetta 6–3 6–0. In the semifinal she faced World No.1 Serena Williams. She began strong leading the match 6–3 5–2 and was two points away from victory but ended up losing 6–3 5–7 4–6.
At the 2010 Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, Rezaï caused a huge upset in the first round, defeating the former World No. 1 and four-time French Open champion Justine Henin 4–6 7–5 6–0. In the second round, she won the match against Klára Zakopalová 6–3 7–5. In the third round, she defeated Andrea Petkovic in two sets 6–4 7–6 (10–8). Then and in the fourth round, she made another big upset by defeating Jelena Janković in two straight sets 7–5, 6–4. In Semi-final she won the match against Lucie Šafářová 6–1, 0–0 retired, reaching the most important final in her career. She defeated Venus Williams in the final 6–2, 7–5, coming back from a 2–5 deficit and overcoming numerous set points to win.
At the grass season rezai played at the 2010 AEGON Classic cruising thorugh the semifinals without dropping a set.
Her disappointing level of play continued right up until the end of her season as she lost in the first round of the 2010 Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions.