Anna wins first WTA point in Surbiton
Anna Popescu won her first qualifying match in the 50K Women’s Pro event at Surbiton yesterday. The win gives Anna her first ranking point on the WTA tour.
Anna got into the qualifying draw as a late alternate as the top seed withdrew earlier on Sunday. This would be her first ever appearance at a 50K event, having played her first 3 women’s pro circuit events at the 10K level earlier this year. The tournaments start to become very professional at this level, with umpires, linesman and balls boys throughout all the rounds.
Her first round opponent was Holly Horsfall from Yorkshire. Anna started very nervously going down very quickly 3-0, before settling into the match and bringing the match even at 4 games all. From this point it went with serve to the tiebreak and after 4 set points Anna finally closed out the set 9 points to 7. The momentum was now well and truly with Anna and she took a commanding lead in the second 5-2. The nerves kicked back in as victory was now insight and Horsfall pounced on these nerves to bring it back to 5-4. Anna served again for the match and this time there would be no mistakes as she served it out to love. The win gave Anna her first WTA point. In the women’s circuit, players have to have 3 results before their ranking will show up on the computer. So Anna is a 3rd of the way to an official ranking.
There wasn’t too much time to celebrate this win as the 2nd round of qualifying would follow later in the afternoon. Anna would be up against Katarina Pitak, who she played in Greece in an epic 4 hour match, which Anna eventually won. This would be a different encounter though as they would play on a fast grass court as opposed to a high bouncing hard court. The match was very even to start with before Anna claimed the first break. She wasn’t able to consolidate on this breakthrough and gave the break straight back. This would be a theme that repeated itself through the match. Pitak seized on this opportunity and then broke again to win the first set 6-4. Anna broke first again in the second and took her lead to 5-3. Again she was broken back, before breaking at 5-5, to serve for it again at 6-5. Once again she could not serve it out and we would be heading to a tiebreak. Pitak played solid and forced the issue during the tiebreak. This would eventually take its toll on Anna and Pitak closed out the set and the match 6-4, 7-6.
Nonetheless the tournament was a great experience for Anna and successful as she claimed her first WTA point. Next up will be a trip to Ilkley in Leeds for another 50K event this coming weekend.