It was a long wait for Bernarda Pera to reach her first tour-level final, but once she got there, the American went all the way to her first Hologic WTA Tour singles title. Pera defeated Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Hungarian Grand Prix title.
Pera took 87 minutes to beat Krunic and finish off a run in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Pera did not drop a set all week, which also included two straight-sets wins in qualifying.
"It’s still so overwhelming," Pera said afterward. "I’m still a little bit shocked how it turned out, but I felt I played some good tennis and I’m so excited for the win.
"[Krunic] pushed me to play a great match. She’s a great player and she’s been feeling great, I think, this last week as well. From the outside it looked easy, but from the inside it wasn’t that easy. She hits fast also, so I had to be quick on my feet and had to take control of the points early. I was happy I was able to do that."
By the numbers: Pera had been 0-4 in semifinals at tour level before this event, but the 27-year-old at last moved into a final with a victory over Hungarian No.1 Anna Bondar on Saturday.
After backing that up with her championship win over Krunic, World No.130 Pera becomes the third qualifier to win a tour-level title this season, joining Tatjana Maria (Bogota) and Anastasia Potapova (Istanbul).
Pera is also the fourth first-time singles champion on tour this year, alongside Potapova, Martina Trevisan (Rabat) and Beatriz Haddad Maia (Nottingham).
"The beginning of the season was tough for me with a small injury that kept me off for two months," Pera said. "So it’s been a tough year, not many wins, but it turns so quickly."
Krunic had also not dropped a set coming into Sunday's final, but Pera had beaten the Serbian in their two previous meetings, and she extended her undefeated record with another win in Budapest.
Match moments: Pera started strongly by winning the first eight points of the match, then fended off four break points during a hold for 4-1. Behind powerful lefty forehands, Pera held onto control, erasing one more break point at 5-3 before converting her fifth set point of that game.
After falling behind 3-2 in the second set, Krunic rallied for her first service break of the day, leveling the set at 3-3. However, solid returns helped Pera reclaim her break advantage in the very next game, and the American qualifier powered her way to the title from there.
Pera finished with 21 winners to Krunic’s 18, while Krunic was undone by 37 unforced errors. Pera was particularly strong returning the Krunic second service, winning 60 percent of those points. Pera converted four of her 10 break points, while Krunic was 1-for-6 in that department.
Doubles champions: The all-Georgian pairing of Ekaterine Gorgodze and Oksana Kalashnikova took the Hungarian Grand Prix doubles title on Sunday, when the No.4 seeds outlasted Katarzyna Piter and Kimberley Zimmermann 1-6, 6-4, [10-6] in 1 hour and 19 minutes.
In only their third WTA event as a pairing, Gorgodze and Kalashnikova withstood five aces by their opponents and successfully came back from a set down, winning six of the last seven points in the match-tiebreak.
Kalashnikova won her fifth career doubles title, but it is her first title since 2017. It is Gorgodze's second career doubles title.