01 Dec 2016

Title win records equalled

News Article

By Nick Fishpool

Photo: Fred and Susan MullaneKatharina Hobgarski (GER)

Coming into 2016, Germany’s Katharina Hobgarski had no ITF Pro Circuit singles titles and only one appearance in a singles final to her name. Now, as we approach the end of the 2016 season, the nineteen year old tops the women's singles title winners leaderboard with a record equalling eight calendar year title wins.

This impressive achievement, which has also seen her win all eight finals in which she has appeared, puts her in the company of Isabella Shinikova and Reka-Luka Jani who each claimed eight title wins in 2015 and 2013 respectively and also with the former WTA world number two and 2014 Australian Open champion Na Li who, back in 2000, was the first player to win eight Pro Circuit singles titles during a calendar year.

All of the teenager’s titles have been won on clay courts with the first coming in the week immediately following her nineteenth birthday, so maybe a clear indicator of what her birthday wish was when blowing out the candles on her cake!

The young German player is currently on a 34 match winning streak which is a new women's record on the ITF Pro Circuit in a calendar year and puts her just three wins from surpassing the all-time record, set over a three year period, by Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor from June 2012 to June 2015.

During this incredible run, which has seen her climb to a new career high WTA singles ranking of 354 with the latest ranking release on 28 November, it has been Hammamet which has proved a very favourable destination for Hobgarski having seen her win her last six titles at the Tunisian venue; twice winning in three consecutive week periods.

Hobgarski is presently not scheduled for any tournaments for the remainder of 2016 and, with only four playing weeks left, it looks likely that the titles won record will remain a four-way tie.

A similar story, by coincidence, has also been unfolding this year in the men's game as for the third time in the last four years, the leading men’s singles title count winner has amassed nine titles in a calendar year.

Italian Riccardo Bellotti joins Mohamed Safwat and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo who ended 2013 and 2014 respectively with the impressive title haul and all three are co-holders of the calendar year record.

"For me is nice too see that I won the most Futures, it means to me that I dominate at this level."

The 25-year-old’s ninth success came in Morocco at the start of November and was his 27th career singles title on the ITF Pro Circuit.

Riccardo Bellotti (ITA)

Bellotti has been unfortunate not to have become the first player to have broken into double figures with this latest title win having lost out in a late October final in Croatia where he was unable to complete the title match.

"In Croatia I played too many matches without rest and then in the third one I was struggling already at the beginning and in the finals i had pain, so I decide to retire because to beat [Jaroslave] Pospisil I needed to be very fit because he is a good player!"

The Italian also missed out on another title following a narrow defeat in early September.

Like Hobgarski, at the time of writing, Bellotti, who also topped the 2015 year-end winners chart with seven titles, is not scheduled for any upcoming tournaments so it remains to be seen if this is the year that sees the double figures barrier finally broken but did tell us: "[It] would be an honour if I would win other titles and be [the outright] world record holder!"