25 Jun 2013

Spotlight - Montserrat Gonzalez - May 2013


By Nick Fishpool

Photo: Firmino PitonMontserrat Gonzalez (PAR)

May 2013


Montserrat Gonzalez, 18, competed in three ITF Pro Circuit tournaments over the course of the month of May which saw her in action on clay in Argentina during the opening weeks before finishing the month on the hard courts in Mexico and climbing 200 places in the WTA rankings.

The teenager’s first tournament took place in Villa Allende, Argentina and coming into this tournament she held a singles ranking of 697.

Seeded seventh, Gonzalez began with a comfortable 61 61 victory over Stephanie Petit of Argentina before facing a tougher challenge in her second round clash with Peruvian player Katherine Miranda-Chang.

Gonzalez once more won in straight sets, although this was a much closer 63 64 scoreline. Victory carried her into the quarterfinal where she was to face the third seeded Argentine player Aranza Salut.

This encounter, her second match against a home nation player in Villa Allende, saw Gonzalez drop just two games in a surprise 62 60 triumph.

Her battle with home favourites continued into the semifinal with a match-up with Victoria Bosio, the tournament’s top seeded player. Gonzalez raced through the opening set 62 but the number one seed tied the score at one-all with a 64 second set win. A place in the final came down to a deciding third set and with a 63 triumph, Gonzalez moved into a second successive final having lost in the Sao Paulo final – her first professional singles final - the previous week.

During the week, Gonzalez was also competing in the doubles event, unseeded with partner Sara Gimenez, also of Paraguay. The two, playing together for the first time won through to the final, which was played the day before her singles final, where they faced the number one seeds of Victoria Bosio and Aranza Salut, two players whom Gonzalez had knocked-out of the singles event in the semifinal and quarterfinal respectively.

The two players’ attempt to avenge their losses to Gonzalez were not to prove successful and it was the two Paraguayan’s who emerged victorious with a 64 60 win to hand Gonzalez her first ITF Pro Circuit title.

The title match pitted Gonzalez against her fourth Argentine opponent in five rounds of tennis action. Facing her across the net as she looked to add to her doubles title and claim a first singles title was a wild card entrant, Constanza Vega.

The first set of the final was closely contested and it was Gonzalez who gained the upper hand when taking the set 64. Now within touching distance of a double title win in the Argentine city, the Paraguayan Fed Cup player pushed on and eased to the title win, dropping just the one game in the second set.

Gonzalez remained in Argentina for her next tournament which took her to the city of Villa Maria.

For this tournament Gonzalez had a change of doubles partner from the previous week and was now partnered by Melina Ferrero of Argentina. Like when partnering Gimenez, this was a first time partnership but, unlike with Gimenez, this was not to end with a title as the pair lost a thrilling opening round match 64 46 [10-8].

Better fortunes awaited though in the singles event for the 18-year-old. Unlike in Villa Allende, in this singles event Gonzalez was unseeded and found herself drawn to face the third seed, Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico, in the opening round.

Gonzalez appeared to be on the way to a quick exit after dropping the first set 62 but she was able to dig deep and turn this around to eventually eliminate the seed 26 63 76(5). A 61 61 defeat of a Brazilian qualifier followed in round two to leave Gonzalez facing her opponent from last week’s final, Constanza Vega.

In that final, Gonzalez dropped a total of five games and this was to be repeated here as she wrapped up victory in straight sets 63 62.

Her semifinal opponent was the first round conqueror of the number one seed, Sofia Blanco of Argentina. Gonzalez soon secured another straight sets win and was into a second singles final of the month and third in succession from her last three tournaments.

Chile’s Camila Silva, seeded fourth, now stood between Gonzalez and back-to-back singles title wins.

The final would require the full three sets to separate the two players. Gonzalez struck first with a 63 win and Silva drew level with a 64 second set win before Gonzalez repeated her opening set score to end her time in Argentina with another title.

Two weeks then passed before Gonzalez next stepped out onto a court, at the Mexican tournament in Quintana Roo, and when she did she had climbed 200 WTA singles ranking places to 497 to compete as a Top 500 ranked player for the first time.

In Quintana Roo, Gonzalez was reunited with Victoria Bosio as a doubles partner for the first time since their run to the quarterfinal of the 2011 US Open Junior Championships, although the two had faced each other as opponents back in Villa Allende.

Despite their high seeding of two, it was their Mexican opponents Sarah Garcia Carrera and Ana Luisa Perez Lopez who brought their reunion to a premature end with a 36 63 [10-8] first round win.

The early loss in doubles did allow Gonzalez to concentrate on the singles event where she was chasing a potential hat trick of titles in May.

Gonzalez, seeded third, eliminated two Mexican wild card entrants in the opening two rounds, both in straight sets. These wins set her up with a quarterfinal against a fellow seed in Julia Moriarty, seeded sixth, of Australia.

Gonzalez saw off the challenge from her Australian opponent 64 63 and then made it into yet another singles final with a 64 62 defeat of Francesca Segarelli, a qualifier from the Dominican Republic, in the semifinal.

This singles final, her third this month and fourth from her last four tournaments played, saw her take on the second seeded Ana Sofia Sanchez. Gonzalez’s last meeting with the Mexican came in round one of her last tournament in Villa Maria.

On that occasion Gonzalez had to come from a set down to earn the victory and this was repeated in this final. Sanchez narrowly won the opening set 64 but Gonzalez dominated tiebreakers in sets two and three to secure a third straight singles title with a 46 76(4) 76(1) triumph.