American Bernarda Pera won her second career title and second in the last two weeks Saturday at the Hamburg European Open with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over top seed Anett Kontaveit.
After sprinting through qualifying all the way to her first title last week in Budapest without the loss of a set, Pera's white-hot form continued in Hamburg. She stretched her winning streak to 12 matches, and 24 sets, to take the title.
Her week began with a 6-0, 6-4 win over No. 9 seed and defending champion and Elena-Gabriela Ruse and ended with a 74-minute win over World No.2 Kontaveit, her best victory by ranking.
The win against No.2 Kontaveit is Pera's second career Top 10 win. Her first came over then-No.10 Johanna Konta in the first round of the 2018 Australian Open, when she reached the third round as a lucky loser.
That's back-to-back titles!!! 🏆— wta (@WTA) July 23, 2022
🇺🇸 @bernarda_pera continues her incredible run with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Kontaveit 💫#HamburgOpen pic.twitter.com/357HjGJdoK
Tale of the tape: The result flipped the script of the pair's first meeting, which came last month at Wimbledon. In Round 1 there, Pera served for the first set before falling 7-5, 6-1. On Saturday, the American left-hander was in command throughout.
She broke Kontaveit's serve four times in her first eight service games to open up a lead of 6-2, 5-2, and only faced (and saved) one break point herself over that time.
Though she failed in serving out the match her first attempt, she made no mistake on the second. After losing the first point of the 10th game, she won the next four to seal the title.
Outstanding stuff from 🇺🇸 @Bernarda_Pera as she takes the first set 6-2 against Kontaveit!#HamburgOpen pic.twitter.com/rc7c3YSPAF— wta (@WTA) July 23, 2022
For Kristijan: In an emotional conclusion to her victory speech, Pera dedicated her victory to former coach Kristijan Schneider, who passed away this spring at age 41 after bravely battling battling abdominal cancer. Schneider also coached Borna Coric on the ATP Tour, as well as Ana Konjuh and Olga Danilovic.
"I was lucky enough to be coached by him, and I want to dedicate this trophy to him and his memory," Pera said. "I hope I can bring at least a little bit of his shine, passion and drive into the world."
For Kristijan 💜 pic.twitter.com/VDRf3Tr52b— wta (@WTA) July 23, 2022
Stats of the streak: Pera is the fifth player to win multiple Hologic WTA Tour singles titles this year, joining Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur, Beatriz Haddad Maia and the now-retired Ashleigh Barty.
Ranked No. 130 when she came to Budapest last week, Pera will be at a new career high on Monday. She's projected to rise into the Top 60, bettering her previous career-best of No. 59.
Americans Chang, Kulikov win first-ever WTA doubles title
A three-set win for Sophie Chang and Angela Kulikov in the doubles final assured gave Americans a sweep on championship Saturday: The unseeded pair won their third three-setter in four matches to take home their first doubles title.
Chang and Kulikov were shut out in the opening set of their semifinal match against Anastasia Potapova and Yana Sizikova before rallying to reach the final in a match tiebreak. Against No. 3 seeds Aldila Sutjiadi and Miyo Kato, they won the first set, but again needed a match tiebreak to take the title, 6-3, 4-6, [10-6].
Chang and Kulikov also beat the British pairing of Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls in the opening round in a match tiebreak.
The duo came to Hamburg on a winning run in ITF World Tennis Tour events this year. The all-American pair reached five previous finals at ITF level this year, winning four of them. Their biggest previous title came in April at the W100 event in Palm Harbor Beach, Florida, also on clay.