22 Aug 2016

Blinkova and Pervushina record career-best wins

News Article

Photo: Susan MullaneAnna Blinkova (RUS)

Anna Blinkova and Olesya Pervushina sent reminders to the women’s tour on Sunday that today’s crop of talented juniors are rapidly progressing towards the game’s elite levels.

Blinkova, who is just 17 years old, picked up her second tournament victory at pro-level - and the first at $25,000 level - defeating Valentini Grammatikopoulou 75 62 at the Ladies Tennis Cup in Westende, Belgium.

The Russian has focused solely on Pro Circuit events since winning the title at the ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu in April – but this week was just the third time since then that she had managed to win back-to-back matches in the main draw of a tournament. She has lost in the first round in five different events.

Blinkova’s struggles over the summer highlight the difficulty that even the best junior players can have in adapting to the stresses of the professional game. "This is the best day of my life so far," she said after beating Katie Swan in Chengdu. The win in Westende may not quite rival that victory, but it will certainly be a welcome moment of success after a tough few months.

By contrast, Pervushina’s win at the $25,000 Leipzig Open in Germany is the latest triumph in a stellar summer. The 16-year-old won the prestigious Trofeo Bonfiglio in May, before reaching the semifinals of the girls’ singles at Roland Garros.

She proved that she could adapt her game for different surfaces too, with an appearance on grass in the final of the Nike Junior International in Roehampton and a second consecutive junior Grand Slam semifinal appearance at Wimbledon.

Back on the clay in Leipzig, Pervushina qualified for the main draw comfortably and continued to power her way past the opposition. She defeated former Top 100 player and 4th seed Arantxa Rus in the semifinals before edging a tight final against Austria’s Julia Grabher, resisting a fightback from Grabher to grind out a 76(4) 36 75 win.

Pervushina will next travel to New York for the US Open junior event, which begins in early September. Blinkova, meanwhile, plays another $25,000 event in Bagnatica, Italy this week. She will no doubt hope that her first success at this level can be a springboard to greater things at the game’s highest level.