The Czech Republic’s Renata Voracova, 26, is our featured player for April. Voracova came into the month ranked 117 in singles by the WTA Tour but performances this month would propel her into the Top 100 for the first time in her career and claim her first two singles and doubles titles of 2010.
Voracova’s last appearance in a singles final on the ITF Pro Circuit came back in November 2009 when she finished as runner-up in both Bratislava and Nantes, with her last singles title coming the previous month in Podgorica, but, in her first tournament of the month, she would bring an end to both these statistics.
The month kicked off for Voracova with a trip to Italy for a $25,000 tournament taking place in Civitavecchia, a town in the central Italian region of Lazio situated some 80km from Rome, across the Mignone River. Named as the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Voracova quickly saw off Slovakian opposition in the opening round, defeating Michaela Pochabova 60 61. This was to be her only match that would be played to a natural conclusion as she made her way through the draw to the final. Whilst leading 64 10 in the second round, her opponent, Irina Buryachok from Ukraine, retired from the match and Voracova was then presented with two successive walkover victories over seeded players; against the No. 5 seed in the quarterfinal and then in the semifinal versus the No. 4 seed. Her lack of match time allowed her to come into the final, versus Anna Floris, the Italian third seed, feeling fresh but with the lack of competitive play the chance of an upset was a real possibility. You would expect a final between the top seed and No. 3 seed to be a close match and this was to be no exception as Voracova took the title, winning 63 63. With Darya Kustova from Belarus, Voracova also took part in the doubles event here. As the No. 1 seeds they claimed the title, without the loss of a single set in any round, with a 75 75 victory over the second seeds.
After her time in Italy, Voracova moved onto Egypt where a $25,000 tournament was being held in the capital city, Cairo. Once again she found herself as the No. 1 seed and during the course of this tournament, Voracova would drop her one and only set, in either singles or doubles, of her two title winning tournaments. The tournament got off to great start as she rapidly wrapped up three successive victories whilst never losing more than two games in a set. This took her into the semifinal and an encounter with Romanian qualifier Liana-Gabriela Ungur and, for a while, Voracova looked in danger of making an exit from the tournament. Having dropped the opening set 64 to her Romanian opponent Voracova was then pushed hard in the second set which she narrowly won 13-11 on a tiebreak to force the match into a decisive third set. Neither player let up in the third set but in the end, with a 64 win, it was Voracova who progressed into the final. On paper, many may have considered the final would be a rather one sided encounter as the top seed took on a qualifier, but as proved in the semifinal, playing a qualifier offers no guarantee of an easy match. Her opponent in the final was Audrey Bergot from France, who must surely have been pleased by the long and tough match that Voracova had to play in the semifinal and may also have gained confidence from fellow qualifier Ungur’s performance. Maybe the exertions in grinding out a win in that tough semifinal worked against Voracova as once again she was pushed hard during the match but it was the No. 1 seed who would eventually come out on top and take the title with a close 63 64 win. With a change of partner from the previous week, Voracova again took part in the doubles event. This time partnered with Eva Birnerova from the Czech Republic and as No. 2 seeds she once again found herself winning the title without loss of a set during the week. This doubles victory in Cairo was all the more special as it came in a landmark 50th career doubles final appearance on the ITF Pro Circuit.
Voracova’s final ITF Pro Circuit tournament in April took her back to Italy for a $25,000 tournament in Bari, a city on the Adriatic Sea. Having secured the singles and doubles titles at both her previous two tournaments Voracova was to make a surprise first round exit. Named the No. 1 seed for the third consecutive tournament in April, Voracova’s participation in Bari was to be a very brief one. Having opted to only enter into the singles event she suffered a swift 62 62 defeat to Russian qualifier Valeria Savinykh.
Although the month did not end as positively as it had begun, Voracova could look back over her performances in April with some pride. Not only did she claim her first titles of 2010 but she also won back-to-back singles and doubles titles and it is these performances that have help elevate her, for the first time in her career, into the Top 100 of the WTA World Rankings in singles and leave her very close to making a return to the Top 50 of the WTA World Rankings in doubles. Her career record on the ITF Pro Circuit after this month’s play shows she now has eight singles titles from thirteen finals and a very impressive thirty-three titles from fifty doubles finals and for 2010 alone she has a 100% success rate in finals.