In an action-packed first full week of September on the ITF Pro Circuit, it was Russia’s Irina Khromacheva who reigned supreme, claiming the biggest title of the week at the $50,000 event in Budapest, while Canadian Frank Dancevic was victorious on home soil for the second-consecutive season—the perfect ending to a stellar week on the red clay of the Donalda Club in Toronto.
Russian Contingent Khromacheva, Kamenskaya, Kudmertova Claim Biggest Titles of the Week
In the biggest final of the week, it was second seed Irina Khromacheva of Russia who reigned supreme, claiming her 12th ITF singles title, but just her second at the $50,000 level with a mightily impressive 6-1, 6-2 victory over sixth-seeded Dutchwoman Cindy Burger, a match not really done justice by its lopsided score line. Astoundingly, Burger never held serve once in the match, with her three games all coming from service breaks, while Khromacheva was an impressive 8 for 14 on break points herself, a true reflection of just how dominant she was from the receiving end.
Meanwhile, another pair of Russians in Viktoria Kamenskaya and Veronika Kudmertova were victorious in respective $25,000 finals over the weekend, each claiming titles in rather dramatic fashion.
Kamenskaya, who is on the back end of a stellar summer that saw her scoop up a pair of titles on the ITF Pro Circuit, was victorious in Sofia with a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-0 victory over home favourite Viktoriya Tomova, one that could have very well been clinched in straight sets. Despite not holding a match point in the second, the sixth seed certainly had her fair share of chances to clinch the victory in straights before a resurgent Tomova, spurred on by a small partisan Bulgarian crowd, restored parity at one-set-apiece. But in the end, Kamenskaya wasn’t to be denied, winning all the right points to capture a blowout final set and with it, the title.
Kudmertova, on the other hand, was forced to overcome a sizeable deficit in the opening set before clawing back to later seal the win in straight sets. With her Israeli counterpart, sixth seed Deniz Khazaniuk, seemingly zoned in from the start, the second-seeded Russian found herself 5-2 down in the opener before she sprung to life, reeling off five games in a row to eventually clinch it by seven games to five. From there, Kudmertova and Khazaniuk traded blows in the second set before a decisive break was all the new world number 280 needed to seal the victory, 7-5, 6-4, in two hours and 18 minutes.
Dancevic, Authom, Bublik Slide/Serve Their Way to Victory in $25K Finals
In front of his home fans, top-seeded Canadian Frank Dancevic was given quite the tussle by Ecuadorian Ivan Endara before eventually coming out victorious in two tiebreak sets, 7-6(5), 7-6(3). After trading breaks in both sets, a seven-point shootout was required to decide both sets, with 31-year-old Dancevic’s experience playing a crucial role in the latter stages. With more than 500 spots separating them in the rankings, one could never tell who was the more experienced player, as both men played their part in countless thrilling exchanges from the back of the court, not willing to give the other an inch. But when it mattered most, it was the Canadian who slyly slithered his way to victory in just six minutes under the two-hour mark.
Elsewhere, across the Atlantic ocean in the French city of Bagneres-De-Biggore, fourth seed Maxime Authom of Belgium survived a second-set tussle, saving a trio of match points in the process before going on to claim the title in emphatic style with a 4-6, 7-6(9), 6-0 victory over sixth-seeded Frenchmen Hugo Nys. With only a single break separating the two in the opener, the second was a never-ending titanic battle, with both men trading breaks to ultimately force a second-set tiebreak. In that tiebreak, thrice did Nys stand within one point of the finish line before it all seemed to go wrong, as Authom turned the match around on a dime to claim his 18th ITF singles title at the age of 29.
Meanwhile, in another battle of the Russians for championship glory, it was second seed Alexander Bublik who served his way to victory, firing one shy of a dozen aces to hold off the charge of unseeded compatriot Alexander Vasilenko, 6-3, 7-5.