Photo: David Aliaga$10,000 Vallduxo - Amanda Carreras
This month we feature British 19-year old, Amanda Carreras. During this period, she took part in three ITF $10,000 tournaments all on her favoured clay court surface.
Her first tournament of the month was held in Badalona, a city situated on the left bank of the river Besos and on the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout this month the city, apart from hosting this tournament, was also celebrating Saint Anastasi, the patron saint of Badalona with various activities and festivals taking place.
This tournament marked the second consecutive year that the city has hosted an ITF Women’s Circuit tournament and Carreras was looking to improve on her second round finish in 2008. Named as the No. 6 seed, Carreras began with a match against Chilean qualifier Camila Silva. Carreras came close to making an early exit from the tournament after dropping the opening set on a tie break before recovering to win 67(4) 63 63. The second round saw her record a straight sets win over Nadia Lalami of Morocco to move into the quarterfinal and better her performance from 2008. Romania’s Cristina-Madalina Stancu, a qualifier, battled hard in the opening two sets but in the end it was Carreras who was victorious, winning 75 67(4) 62. In the semi final her tournament came to an end with defeat at the hands of Ukrainian qualifier Yevgeniya Kryvoruchko in straight sets, 75 62.
After leaving Spain, she travelled to Turkey for two tournaments in Manavgat, a town and district of Antalya Province, situated between the Taurus Mountains to the north and sandy beaches of the Mediterranean coast. Again named the No. 6 seed, Carreras swept through the opening two rounds with straight set victories and losing just nine games. Bulgarian 2nd seed, Dia Evtimova then threatened to eliminate her at the quarterfinal stage by claiming the first set 75. Another close set followed, going the way of Carreras 64 who then stepped up a gear to take the deciding set 62. Another closely fought match followed in the semi final as Carreras took on 5th seeded Russian Nadejda Guskova. A 64 75 win took Carreras into her first ITF singles final since November 2008. The final brought her up against a Spanish qualifier, Garbine Muguruza Blanco. The day before this singles final was to take place, Carreras, with first time partner Valentina Sulpizio of Italy, claimed the doubles title as No. 2 seeds. This title, a career first, gave her dual cause for celebration as this final took place on the occasion of her 19th birthday! Having now secured her first ever ITF Pro Circuit title, the newly turned 19-year old then refocused her attention on the singles final. The singles final proved a tense affair and a eventually a straight sets 75 75 victory presented her with a second title here and also gave her a first ever singles title on the ITF Pro Circuit in what was her career fourth appearance in an ITF Pro Circuit singles final.
This venue also played host to the final tournament this month for Carreras. For this tournament, Carreras found herself named as the 5th seed in singles and 3rd seed, again with Sulpizio, in doubles. Carreras, now with confidence running high following her double title winning performance the previous week, had little trouble progressing through the early rounds, recording wins of 64 60 and 62 62 to take her place in the quarterfinal stages. A tough quarterfinal beckoned as she was up against the top seed, Michelle Gerards from the Netherlands. The two players shared the opening sets but the match came to an end with Carreras leading 41 in the deciding set as Gerards retired from the match. In a surprisingly one-sided semi final, Carreras blew her 8th seeded opponent away with the loss of just game to reach the final for the second week running. Just as she had the previous week, before Sunday’s singles final Carreras picked up the doubles title on Saturday with her partner Sulpizio following a convincing 60 63 final victory. Switching her attention back to the singles final she again found herself up against a qualifier in the final. Her opponent, Sweden’s Sandra Roma, proved to be a tough competitor with the first two sets requiring tie breaks to separate the players, Carreras took the first 9-7 with Roma levelling the match by claiming the second tie break 7-2. The deciding set was finally won 64 by Carreras to cap a highly successful month for British player.
A memorable month then for Carreras as it not only saw her turn 19 but also saw her claim her first four titles of her career with back-to-back successes in the finals at the two tournaments in Turkey. To add to the birthday and titles winning celebrations, the WTA rankings released on May 25th 2009 showed that she had reached a career high of 461, a climb of 278 places on her ranking this time last year and with the points earned during the second tournament in Turkey still to be added to her ranking, she can expect to climb even higher when the next rankings are announced.