Ana Bogdan's summer surge continued on home soil as the No.3 seed captured her first WTA 125 title at the BCR Iasi Open, defeating No.2 seed Panna Udvardy 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in the final.
The No.75-ranked Romanian was fresh off her first tour-level final in Warsaw the previous week, where she had lost out to Caroline Garcia in the title match. But after maintaining her form during a stellar week in Iasi, Bogdan has now won nine of her past 10 matches and extended her 2022 record to 27-12.
Bogdan, 30, dropped just eight games across her first three matches to reach the semifinals, and Udvardy was the only player to win a set from her this week. The Hungarian took advantage of a dip in Bogdan's first serve percentage from 71% to 60% to snatch the second set.
However, Bogdan responded by racing through a one-sided decider in which she landed 85% of her first serves, found winning angles with her forehand at will and demonstrated fine touch at net. She converted her first championship point after Udvardy sent a forehand a fraction wide.
Bogdan's previous biggest title had been the 2019 ITF W100 event, and she had lost her only prior WTA 125 final at Limoges 2021 to Alison Van Uytvanck. Despite a career-high ranking of No.59, Bogdan has recently played several memorable matches on the Grand Slam stage that suggest she has the potential to exceed that.
In 2021, she narrowly fell 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 to Paula Badosa in the third round of Roland Garros; this year, she suffered another heartbreaking but high-quality loss in Paris, going out 6-7(7), 7-6(1), 6-2 to Victoria Azarenka in the first round. In her Wimbledon opener, Bogdan was inches from pulling off a remarkable comeback from 6-1, 5-1 down against Petra Kvitova.
Bogdan becomes the 13th home WTA 125 champion since the tournament category was inaugurated at Pune 2012. Eleven of those winners were either American or Chinese; the only previous exception was France's Caroline Garcia at Limoges 2015.
Beaten finalist Udvardy has fallen to 0-2 in WTA 125 finals, having lost out to Diane Parry at Montevideo 2021, but the 23-year-old can be heartened by a summer resurgence of her own. Udvardy began 2022 with a five-match losing streak, and ultimately lost her first eight tour-level main-draw matches of the season through Eastbourne. But she came into Iasi fresh off the Cordenons ITF W60 title the previous week, and extended her winning streak to nine before Bogdan ended it in the final.
Chwalinska continues to rise, Astakhova enjoys breakthrough
This time last year, Maja Chwalinska had just started an indefinite break from tennis due to depression. Now, the 20-year-old Pole is surging. She reached the second round of Wimbledon as a qualifier on her tour-level debut, and made the same stage on home soil in Warsaw. In Iasi, Chwalinska sliced and diced her way to the biggest semifinal of her career so far, upsetting No.4 seed Olga Danilovic 7-6(4), 6-4 in the second round before falling 6-3, 7-6(2) to Udvardy.
No.256-ranked qualifier Darya Astakhova also enjoyed a career-best week in Iasi. The 20-year-old had never contested either a qualifying or main draw at WTA or WTA 125 level before, but dropped just 22 games in five matches to make the last four. This run included her best win by ranking to date over No.7 seed Irina Bara 6-3, 6-3 in the first round, and Astakhova was only stopped 7-6(5), 6-4 by Bogdan in the semifinals.
The biggest upset of the tournament came in the first round, when 21-year-old Japanese qualifier Yuki Naito scored the first completed Top 100 win of her career by ousting No.1 seed Viktorija Golubic 6-3, 6-4.
Astakhova, Rosca take doubles title
Astakhova's breakthrough didn't just come on the singles court as she joined forces with another home player, Andreea Rosca, to lift the doubles trophy after a 7-5, 5-7, [10-7] final victory over No.4 seeds Reka Luca Jani and Udvardy. This week marked the first time that the unseeded Astakhova and Rosca had ever teamed up, and they were contesting the first WTA 125 final of their careers.
Astakhova had previously won four ITF doubles titles, most recently at the Santa Margherita di Pula W25 in April alongside Ekaterina Reyngold. Rosca, 23, is a 14-time ITF doubles champion, most recently at the Jablonec nad Nisou W25 last September with Lisa Pigato.