Jounieh - Nina Bratchikova
This month features Russian 22-year old, Nina Bratchikova.
Nina started the month with a trip to the Mediterranean coastal city of Jounieh, Lebanon for a $50,000+H ITF Women’s Circuit tournament. This was the 8th time that Jounieh had hosted a tournament on the ITF Women’s Circuit.
After recording a 61 61 opening round victory over Brazilian lucky loser, Rebeca Neves, Nina took on the event’s 6th seed, Corinna Dentoni from Italy. It took a tiebreak to settle the first set, which went to Corinna 7-5, but Nina levelled the match by winning the second set 61. Nina secured her passage into the quarterfinal when she won the decisive set 63. The quarterfinal saw Nina take on the top seeded player, Lourdes Dominguez-Lino from Spain. This was to be the end of Nina’s participation in the singles event as she lost in straight sets, 76(2) 62. Success however, did come Nina’s way in the doubles event, seeded 2 and partnered by Veronika Kapshay from Ukraine, the title was won with a 75 36 [10-6] win over Kristina Kucova & Stefanie Voegele.
The next stop for Nina was a visit to Russia and Europe’s largest city, Moscow, for a $25,000 ITF Women’s Circuit tournament where she was seeded 4th. Nina wasted little time in defeating Anna Arina Marenko, a wildcard entrant, 62 60 in the first round. Two successive straight sets victories over qualifiers saw Nina through to the semi final where she was up against Maria Kondratieva, the number one seed. This was the first meeting between the two since 2002. Similar to their 2002 encounter, it was Nina who emerged victorious, winning 62 76(5), to move into her first singles final at the $25,000 ITF Women’s Circuit prize money level since early July 2006. In the final, Nina played 3rd seed Ksenia Pervak, her 5th successive match against Russian opposition in the singles event here. For the first time in this event, Nina found herself a set down as Ksenia took the opening set 63. Fearing the title was about to slip from her grasp, Nina raised her game and levelled the match by taking the 2nd set 61. Both players fought hard in the deciding set and it was Nina who edged a close set 75 to claim her first singles title of the month and her second in 2008.
In the doubles event, Nina was partnered by Vasilisa Davydova for the first time since March 2008 and together, as 2nd seeds, they reached the semi final stage where they were beaten in straight sets.
Nina’s next tournament kept her in Russia for another ITF Women’s Circuit $25,000, this time in Togliatti. Looking to build on her success in Moscow, Nina, as the number 3 seed, defeated Marina Shamayko, Liga Dekmeijere and 5th seed Iroda Tulyaganova in successive rounds, all in straight sets. This set Nina up for a semi final match against the 2nd seed, Ksenia Pervak. This was to be their second meeting of the month following their clash in the Moscow final. As in the previous meeting it was Ksenia who gained the advantage by winning the opening set. Just as their previous meeting, Nina recovered and went on to win the match 36 64 63. 6th seeded Austrian, Patricia Mayr, provided the opposition for Nina in the final. After winning the opening set 63, Nina then stepped up a gear and won the second set 60 and with it her second successive singles title.
Nina also won the doubles title here in Togliatti, once again partnered by Vasilisa Davydova. As the events top seeds, they defeated the 2nd seeds, 63 57 [10-3] in the final.
With the release of the WTA Rankings on the 9th June 2008, Nina was ranked at 216 and is closing in on a return to the top 200 and her career high ranking of 197 – achieved in August 2006. In total, Nina has climbed 103 places in the rankings list since the first rankings of 2008 were announced.
During the month, Nina only lost 5 sets in singles competition, compared to 24 sets won.
Nina has now appeared in 9 ITF Women’s Circuit singles finals during her career, winning 5 titles. For 2008, she has 2 ITF Women’s Circuit singles titles from 3 finals to her name. In doubles, Nina has appeared in an outstanding 34 ITF Women’s Circuit finals, claiming 17 titles. Her doubles record for 2008 alone stands at 3 titles from 5 finals.