23-year old Spanish player, Eva Fernandez-Brugues is our featured player for this month.
During the month, Fernandez-Brugues competed in two $25,000 tournaments on the ITF Pro Circuit; both were held in Italy on her favoured clay court surface.
Coming into this month, she was ranked at 250 in the WTA singles rankings and knowing that a successful month could propel her further up the rankings as she looks to break into the top 200 for the first time in her career.
The month started with a trip to Galatina, a town in the Italian province of Lecce in Apulia, where she competed in a $25,000 tournament. Galatina, hosting a tournament on the ITF Pro Circuit for the thirteenth time, marked her return to the ITF Pro Circuit following two tournaments on her WTA Tour singles debut. As an unseeded player, Fernandez-Brugues stunned the tournament’s fourth seed, Jorgelina Cravero from Argentina, in the opening set of their first round clash, taking the set without losing a game. The roles were reversed in the second set as Cravero levelled the match, winning 62. The deciding set of the match was much more closely fought than the previous two rather one-sided sets and it was eventually settled on a tiebreak with Fernandez-Brugues winning 60 26 76(7). A more comfortable second round match followed and a 62 61 victory over Ukraine’s Irina Buryachok set up an all-Spanish quarterfinal against Estrella Cabeza-Candela, the fifth seed. Two contrasting sets saw Fernandez-Brugues emerge the victor 61 76(5). The number one seed, Paraguay’s Fed Cup player, Rosana De Los Rios, was her semi final opponent but despite her top billing she was unable to halt the progress of Fernandez-Brugues who ran out a 62 64 winner. Margalita Chakhnashvili from Georgia was now all that stood between Fernandez-Brugues and a first title since October 2008. In this match between two unseeded players it was Chakhnashvili who gained the upper hand by taking the first set 63. Fernandez-Brugues then took the second set by the same score to level the match before going on to secure the title with a 62 win in the final set. The doubles event saw her partner Marta Marrero of Spain and together they were narrowly defeated in the second round by the number one seeds in a deciding set match tiebreak.
After a one-week break, she returned to action and for her second tournament of the month, Fernandez-Brugues travelled to the other end of Italy for a $25,000 tournament in the city of Veneto. Hosting a women’s ITF Pro Circuit tournament for the fifth year in a row, this northern Italian city, and capital of the province of Padua, standing on the Bacchiglione River has the claim to fame of being the setting for most of the action in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The tournament began with a 75 61 win over Tina Obrez, a Wild Card entrant from Slovenia. The second round again saw her concede six games as she recorded a 62 64 win against her Dutch opponent, Marlot Meddens. Slovakia’s Michaela Pochabova looked on course to end Fernandez-Brugues participation in this event having taken the opening set 64 but an equally close second set saw Fernandez-Brugues level the match and then go on to win the match 46 64 62. Croatian qualifier Ivana Lisjak provided little resistance, losing 61 61, as Fernandez-Brugues moved into a second final of the month. In this final, she faced Italy’s Nathalie Vierin, seeded seven. The first two sets of the final were shared between the two players with each winning one-sided sets but the decisive set proved to be a far more closely matched contest. In the end it was Fernandez-Brugues who was celebrating victory having won 62 16 75 for a sixth singles title of her career.
The two titles won this month means she has now won 50% of the singles finals in which she has appeared and now has six titles from twelve finals (two titles from three finals in 2009). She is still awaiting a first appearance in a doubles final but she will not be too concerned by this as the release of the WTA rankings on July 6th 2009 showed that Fernandez-Brugues had climbed to a career high of 206 in the singles list.