Photo: Susan MullaneRebecca Peterson (SWE)
Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson has been making a name for herself on the ITF Pro Circuit over the course of 2013 winning her first title in May at Bastad before back-to-back successes in Stokholm during October.
Having not played in November, Peterson returned to the circuit in December in Merida, Mexico moving back up to the $25,000 prize money level and competed in the trio of event held at the same venue looking to build on her earlier successes.
The 18-year-old began the campaign with a convincing win against American Allie Kiick, the fifth seed, scoring a straight sets victory and set up a meeting with local wild card Ximena Hermoso in the second round. This proved to be a much tighter affair as she was pushed all the way in a 76(5) 26 64 scoreline.
The matches continued to get tougher in the following round as Peterson faced third seed Florencia Molinero. The Argentinian took the first set in a tiebreak before Peterson hit back to force a decider where the pair fought to play another tiebreak for the right to progress to the semifinal. It was Peterson who came out on top, holding her nerve to complete a 67(7) 63 76(2) comeback.
Nuria Parrizas-Diaz from Spain was brushed aside as Peterson moved into the final the following day for the loss of just five games, 64 61.
In the doubles competition Peterson paired with fellow Swede Hilda Melander and in what was their first tournament together they made a run to the final where they faced Chieh-Yu Hsu and Maria Irigoyen prior to the singles final taking place. It was disappointment for them, however, as they lost out in a match tiebreak.
The singles final was an equally close affair against the No.7 seed Indy de Vroome but Peterson was able to put the disappointment of the previous days defeat to one side and triumphed 75 46 63 to make it three consecutive titles in her last three events.
With confidence high entering the next week at the same venue Peterson made light work of the opposition dropping just a single set on the way to the title beating her doubles partner Milander in the semifinals and second seed Adriana Perez in the final to keep the impressive run alive.
There was no repeat of the doubles success of the previous week, however, as again partnering Milander they were defeated in the first round to eventual champions Vanesa Furlanetto and Molinero.
Peterson’s final event of 2013 was again in Merida and on this occasion she chose to concentrate on singles action alone. The opening two rounds followed the pattern of the previous events as she waltzed through against a pair of qualifiers without dropping a set.
From the quarterfinals it got considerably more difficult with Canadian 27-year-old Heidi el Tabakh taking the opening set before following the fate of those before her in a 46 63 63 loss.
Riding a 23-match win streak coming into the semifinal Peterson was faced with a Top 100 opponent, Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia. Tomljanovic was coming off a first Grand Slam victory at the US Open and the step-up in quality showed as the run of consecutive victories was halted with a 76(4) 62 loss.
There can be no doubting, however, that it was a hugely successful month for Peterson who ended the year in the Top 500 for the first time in her short career allowing her a greater chance of making direct acceptance at higher prize money events in the coming year and advancing further up the rankings.