Photo: Bernarda PeraBernarda Pera (USA)
For this month we take a look at Bernarda Pera, an 18-year-old Croatian born American who was competing in the Netherlands.
During the course of June, Pera took part in three clay court tournaments, the first of which was held in Amstelveen where Pera was named among the seeds.
Seeded fourth she opened with a 64 61 win over Ema Mikulcic of Croatia then in round two her opponent from the Netherlands, Chayenne Ewijk, retired from their match with Pera having won the first set 62.
Into the quarterfinal and a match against another Dutch opponent, Maurien Rikkert, saw Pera record a 64 62 win and in the semifinal she was to face the top seed from Belgium, Ysaline Bonaventure.
Pera put up a spirited fight but ultimately was eliminated having lost two tiebreakers either side of a 63 second set win. A 76(4) 36 76(0) win ended Pera’s run in Amstelveen and Bonaventure would go on to take the title.
In her second tournament, Pera took part in both the singles and doubles events in Alkmaar. Here she was seeded sixth in singles and fourth in doubles with partner Gaia Sanesi of Italy whom she was teaming up with for the first time.
The doubles event saw Pera and Sanesi finish as runners-up to Dutch pairing Kim Van Der Horst and Monique Zuur who triumphed 63 76(5). This was Pera’s second career doubles final on the ITF Pro Circuit having also earned a runners-up placing during early April in Bol.
Pera also made an appearance in the singles final where she faced the number one seed and was looking to end a run of final defeats having contested five singles finals in her career, including two this year, all without success.
Her route to the final saw her post wins of 64 61 and 63 61 before being forced to come from behind in her quarterfinal against third seeded Cindy Burger of the Netherlands, recording a 57 63 63 win to reach a second successive singles semifinal.
Pera then returned to winning in straight sets and eliminated Czech Republic player Tereza Malikova 62 75 and in the title match she was to come up against Natalija Kostic of Serbia, the top seed.
The American teenager was in a determined mood in the final as she desperately wanted to claim her first career title and she was not to be disappointed as she overwhelmed the number one seed to take the title with a stunning 61 62 triumph and banish memories of those previous five final defeats.
The month came to a close for Pera in Breda and having waited so long for that maiden title, a second was soon to follow.
Pera was unseeded at this tournament and drew the fourth seed Cindy Burger in the opening round. Pera had already beaten Burger the previous week when she came from behind in their quarterfinal match but this was far more a straight forward victory as Pera dropped just two games in a 62 60 win.
The young American then suffered a scare in round two when qualifier Linda Prenkovic of Germany took the opening set of their match 61 but Pera then turned this around to take the next two sets 63 62.
Another seed, eighth seed Sviatlana Pirazhenka of Belarus, was then defeated 64 64 and in the semifinal, against another German qualifier, Pera found herself fall behind before earning the win. Vivian Heisen moved into a 63 lead but only managed three games in the following two sets as Pera reached the final with a 36 62 61 win.
Pera now had a chance of winning back-to-back singles titles and as she had in the Alkmaar final she was taking on the number one seeded player.
Top seed here was Isabella Shinikova of Bulgaria but for the second final running Pera was to produce an upset and with the two players having shared the opening two sets, each with the loss of four games, Pera dominated the deciding set to run out a 64 46 60 winner.
Pera came into the month with no Pro Circuit titles to her name but within the space of three weeks had secured her first two singles titles of her career and came close to a first doubles title.