This month we feature a player from Slovenia, 21-year old Masa Zec-Peskiric.
The month began with a trip to her home nation and to the second largest city in Slovenia, Maribor, for a $50,000 tournament where she was the fifth seed. Maribor, which lies on the river Drava, was the location in August 2004 for Zec-Peskiric’s first ever titles on the ITF Women’s Circuit. As a 17-year old she successfully won the singles title and with her then 15-year old sister, Alja, also took the doubles title.
Four years on, and looking to repeat her previous success here, she opened with an emphatic 60 61 defeat of Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa. This victory was then followed by two more comfortable straight sets wins. Hungarian, Katalin Marosi, looked to be on her way to ending Zec-Peskiric’s march towards the title when she took the opening set of their semi final clash 62, but, was unable to build on this one set advantage as Zec-Peskiric fought back to take the next two sets 63 60 and move into the final. Her opponent in the final was Kristina Kucova who progressed to the main draw through qualifying. Kucova, who was defeated in the final in Hechingen in early August by Zec-Peskiric had any hopes of avenging that loss quickly ended as Zec-Peskiric ran out a 62 76(6) winner. In the doubles event, she was unable to repeat her 2004 win. With her Slovenian partner, Tadeja Majeric, she was defeated 75 61 at the semi final stage.
A trip to the Bosnia and Herzegovina capital city, Sarajevo, was next for Zec-Peskiric this month. As second seed, she was drawn against a wildcard entrant in the first round of this $25,000 tournament and wasted little time in taking the opening set 61. Although her opponent was able to put up more resistance in the second set, she wrapped up victory by taking the set 64. In the following round she nearly made an early exit from the tournament, but, after only winning two games in the first set, she raised her game to record a 26 62 64 victory. Her quarterfinal against Stefania Boffa got off to a tense start and Zec-Peskiric was made to work hard by her Swiss opponent in the first set, which she eventually won 76(2). Her passage into the semi final was secured by taking the second set 61. A place in a second successive singles final was achieved when Serbian fifth seed, Ana Jovanovic, was beaten 63 75 in their semi final match. The final, against the seventh seeded Slovakian, Klaudia Boczova, ended with Zec-Peskiric claiming back-to-back ITF Women’s Circuit singles titles for the second time in her career with a 61 63 win.
For her third tournament this month, Masa Zec-Peskiric travelled to the town of Mestre in Italy for a $50,000 tournament. Located on the mainland, this northern Italian town is connected to Venice by a large rail and road bridge. A shock 61 75 first round defeat, following her two title winning performances already this month, brought an early end to her participation in this tournament. As a result it did enable her to have more free time to spend site seeing in Venice, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world!
Finally this month for Zec-Peskiric was a $25,000 tournament in Podgorica, the largest and capital city of Montenegro. The enforced break she received courtesy of her first round exit the previous week seemed to have had a positive effect as she raced through to the final round winning forty-eight games and losing just ten. This impressive run of results for the top seed included a 61 61 quarterfinal victory over her opponent from the Maribor final, sixth seed Kristina Kucova, and a 64 60 semi final win against Aurelie Vedy from France. Faced with the daunting task of playing an in form Zec-Peskiric in the final was Slovakia’s Dominika Nociarova, who in contrast to Zec-Peskiric, fought her way through to the final by winning all but her opening round match in three sets. A tight final was edged by Zec-Peskiric who, in winning 63 76(1), claimed her third singles title of the month. This victory also meant that she has now won each of the last seven singles finals in which she has competed.
A Fed Cup player for Slovenia since 2006, Masa Zec-Peskiric now boasts an impressive record of ten career singles titles from fourteen finals on the ITF Women’s Circuit. This month alone, she managed to win thirty sets in singles competition with just four sets lost.
The WTA Rankings released on October 6th 2008 brought further good news as it revealed her singles ranking had climbed to a career high of 139 and on this form, breaking into the top 100 is a realistic goal for this talented 21-year old.