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Lower Level Tennis Weekly Review 2

ITF

ITF $75k Events

From the first day onward, there was just one European in the entire draw at the $75k event in Toyota, Japan, but that had little impact as An-Sophie Mestach stormed to her fourth title of 2014 and the biggest win of her career. She dropped just 13 games all week and capped it off with a dominant 6-1, 6-1 win in the final over Shuko Aoyama. It was an excellent week for the Belgian as, not only did she clinch the title, but she also secured a main draw spot for the 2015 Australian Open. It was just over two years ago that Mestach fell off the rankings list entirely after a series of injuries, but she has now broken the top 100 for the first time in her career. Aoyama's run to the final also clinched her a qualifying spot for the Australian Open.

An-Sophie Mestach clinched an Australian Open main draw spot in Toyota

Another player to clinch their spot at the Australian Open was Kimiko Date-Krumm, whose run to the semi-final lifted her 12 spots in the rankings to #89. She retired after the first set against Mestach in the semi-final, but her week will have delivered the desired outcome, having outed several promising young players in Ozaki and Hibi. Interestingly, it was Hibi's first professional tournament in the country of her birth and her first trip back to Japan in five years.

Date-Krumm was not the only older player to have a good run as former world #19 Tamarine Tanasugarn rolled back the years in a run to the QF. Wins over Namigata, Chang and Kumkhum would have been a good confidence boost for the Thai player and she may even consider entering the Asian wildcard tournament for the Australian Open.

The big loser for the week was undoubtedly Luksika Kumkhum. A QF exit for the top seed means that she drops out of the top 100 and will miss out on a main draw spot at the Australian Open. With second round points to defend in Melbourne, she will need to ensure that she come through qualification to avoid a big drop in her ranking.

ITF $50k Events

New Delhi is hardly renowned as a tennis hot spot, but it could be where the senior career of Ivana Jorovic really took off. The former junior #1 and French Open junior finalist clinched the biggest title of her fledgling career as she lifted the $50k title at the DLTA Complex in New Delhi. She also recorded the biggest win of her career when she took out #2 seed Anastasiya Vasylyeva in the SF before beating fellow teenager Barbora Haas in the battle of two unseeded players in the final. It is a win that lifts her over 100 places in the rankings and sets her up nicely for her first full year in the senior ranks in 2015.

Ivana Jorovic won the biggest title of her career thus far in New Delhi

It also marked the end of a successful year for Barbora Haas, who reached her 8th ITF final of the year, although she will be disappointed to have lifted just the two titles. However, having lost her opening set of this tournament 6-0 against Sofiya Kovalets, she will have been relieved to have simply made it that far.

There was disappointment though for her compatriot, Patricia Mayr-Achleitner. A run to the title would have given her a main draw spot for the Australian Open next year, but a QF defeat to Haas put pay to those hopes and means that she will have to qualify if she hopes to play the first Grand Slam of 2015.

The other $50k event of the week took place on the clay in Asuncion and was won after a herculean effort from Bianca Botto. With the semi-finals and the final taking place on the same day, she had to come from a set and a break down in the semi-final against Pivovarova to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 before beating Florencia Molinero in the final, who had cruised her semi-final earlier in the day. It was a fourth title of 2014 for the Peruvian and the biggest title of her career to date.

There was disappointment for the home fans as first Veronica Cepede Royg, then Montserrat Gonzalez were eliminated by Molinero, with Cepede Royg collapsing to a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 defeat after losing the last nine games of the match.

ITF $25k Events

There was only one $25k event last week, but it was dominated by the teenagers. Three of the four semi-finalists were aged 18 or under, but it was Oceane Dodin that continued her excellent run of form to lift the title. The results of her last four ITF events read W-F-SF-W and she shows no sign of slowing, having risen over 400 places in the rankings in 2014. It was Latvia teenager and Wimbledon junior champion, Jelena Ostapenko, that she beat 7-5, 6-4 in the final, although Ostapenko might count herself a little lucky to have been there after Kostova collapsed from 6-2, *4-2 ahead in their SF clash. The other semi-finalist was Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina, who enjoyed a good run by seeing off two seeded players in Katerina Vankova and Indy de Vroome. However, she topped off a good week by lifting the doubles title with her partner, Anna Shkudun.

ITF $10k Events

There were two teenage winners in the $10k events last week as Viktoriya Tomova won her third title of 2014 in Sousse, while Kristina Schmiedlova, the younger sister of #74 ranked Anna, won her first senior title in Antalya.
Elsewhere, there were also titles for Corinna Dentoni in Casablanca, Olga Saez Larra in Nules and Vojislava Lukic in Sharm El Sheikh.

Juniors

Some of the world's leading junior players converged on Mexico City last week for the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano and both the boys and girls events produced great entertainment. It was America's Michael Mmoh that clinched the boys title after a three set final against Seong Chan Hong, although he had to come from a break down in the deciding set. A number of questionable line calls in the final set had gotten the crowd fully involved on the side of the Korean, but Mmoh kept his cool to clinch his second Grade A title and extend his recent run to 20-1 on both junior and senior tours. He will have been particularly pleased with a straight sets win over top seed Andrey Rublev in the semi-final, while for Hong, this was the best run of his career to date.

In the girl's event, Dalma Galfi extended her winning run to 19 matches after adding her first Grade A title to her back-to-back senior titles in Greece. The 16-year old Hungarian saw off sixth seed, Natalia Vikhlyantseva, in the final having taken out the second seed, Anna Kalinskaya, earlier in the tournament. It was just one step too far for Vikhlyantseva, having beaten US Open champion, Marie Bouzkova, and third seed Fanni Stollar, in consecutive rounds to reach the final. You can watch the entire final below.


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