Photo: Srdjan StevanovicJelena Ostapenko (LAT)
HELSINGBORG, SWEDEN: Having won her first ITF Pro Circuit singles title in Stockholm, Sweden, towards the tail end of last year, 15-year-old Jelena Ostapenko was hoping for a successful return to Scandinavia to kick-start her 2013 campaign when she took in the $10,000 event in Helsingborg.
Ostapenko, ranked within the Top 25 in the Junior rankings, was playing in her first tournament since her quarterfinal exit at the Australian Open Junior Championships last month.
The highly-rated teenager began her week by overcoming a first set deficit to defeat Sweden’s Matilda Hamlin; winning the following two sets with the loss of just three games. She then faced another home favourite, eighth seed Beatrice Cedermark. Ostapenko won the first five games in the opening set, before her opponent retired from the contest.
The Latvian was then pitted against number one seed, Italy’s Angelica Moratelli, in the quarterfinal. Moratelli was entering the tournament on the back of a successful week in Linkoping, Sweden, and was on a seven-match winning streak. However, it was Ostapenko who produced an unnerving display over her opponent, posting a relatively straightforward 64 61 triumph.
Victory meant that it was the fourth time in eight ITF Pro Circuit tournaments that Ostapenko had reached the final four in singles competition. The semifinal would draw her against Moratelli’s compatriot, another seeded player in the form of fifth seed Alice Balducci. An assertive performance secured Ostapenko’s place in the final, courtesy of a 62 62 win.
Similarly to Ostapenko’s first ITF Pro Circuit singles title win in Stockholm last year, her opponent in the final was her doubles partner for the week, 18-year-old Ellen Allgurin. The Swedish youngster was hoping to avenge her 61 63 defeat to Ostapenko last time out, and was searching for her first ITF Pro Circuit singles crown.
However, Ostapenko made light work of the opening set, breaking serve early-on before striding into a 62 lead. The following set proved to be a much tighter affair, going the way of the young Latvian courtesy of a 7-3 second set tie-break. The 62 76 victory meant that Ostapenko had dropped just one set en route to her second singles title on the circuit.
As well as her singles success, she teamed up with Allgurin to taste victory in the doubles. The unseeded pairing defeated fourth seeds Cornelia Lister and Lisanne Van Riet in the final, 62 67(4) [10-7].
The win capped a fruitful week for the promising 15-year-old, taking her title tally in singles and doubles competition to four on the ITF Pro Circuit.