Fantastic Fortnight For $125s In Taipei & Pune
Published November 12, 2012 12:00
TAIPEI, Chinese Taipei & PUNE, India - The new WTA $125 series kicked off in style over the last two weeks, with the OEC Taipei WTA Ladies Open in Taipei and the Royal Indian Open in Pune both crowning bright young stars as their champions - and some very familiar faces doing very well, as well.
In Taipei two weeks ago it was 19-year-old Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic who came out on top, going to three sets in three of her first four matches then beating Chinese Taipei's own Chang Kai-Chen in straight sets for the title, 64 63. It was by far her biggest career title - she had won four ITF Women's Circuit titles before that, the biggest one being a $50,000 tournament in 2011.
Mladenovic won the doubles title as well, alongside Chan Hao-Ching.
This past week in Pune it was 18-year-old Elina Svitolina who came and conquered, serving up 25 aces during the week, including 10 to beat Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals, 62 75, and six more to beat Kimiko Date-Krumm in the final, 62 63 - both Petkovic and Date-Krumm were former Top 10 players. The doubles title went to Nina Bratchikova and Oksana Kalashnikova.
And so, the first two WTA $125 champions came from the rising star category - both teenagers, both former junior World No.1s and Grand Slam champions (Mladenovic won the French Open juniors in 2009, Svitolina the French Open juniors in 2010). But with the aforementioned Top 10 players in the field, as well as a slew of former Top 20 players - Peng Shuai, Tamarine Tanasugarn, Alexandra Stevenson - the WTA $125s have already started to gather quite a following, and the players have been very impressed with it all, too.
"I had been coming to Taipei for three or four years and was very happy to hear it was being upgraded," former No.19 Tanasugarn said. "I know the organizers very well and they are very friendly - they do as much as they can for the players. And the spectators are great as well. This tournament has a lot of experience from being a $100,000 ITF event, and they have the potential of becoming even bigger, for sure - I hope they continue to do great in the future."
"I'm very happy about these new tournaments," former No.4 Date-Krumm said. "It's a new category with more points and prize money, and it feels like we're playing a WTA, even though the tournament and fans are the same as the previous years. It's also very good for the Asian people - we don't have as many tournaments here as in Europe or America and we need more middle-sized tournaments like this so we can get more points and improve our rankings."
Petkovic couldn't have been happier as well - she played the WTA $125 in Pune and shared her praise in her WTA Player Blog throughout the week.
Also catch up on all the action from on and off the court over the fortnight in Taipei and Pune with a slew of photo galleries, courtesy of wtatennis.com.
Watch this space for more on the WTA $125 events for the 2013 season!