Pro Circuit - Spotlight On
23-year-old Sofia Kvatsabaia from Georgia is our first female featured player of 2012.
During the month the young Georgian, who featured in both the 2007 and 2008 Fed Cup campaigns, competed in three ITF Pro Circuit tournaments.
The first two of these were held in Antalya-Kaya Belek in Turkey on clay courts. In the opening tournament Kvatsabaia was seeded third in the singles event and opened with a convincing 60 62 demolition of a Romanian qualifier.
Another Romanian qualifier faced her in the second round and it looked as though Kvatsabaia was on course for another easy victory when she raced through the first set 60. Her opponent hit back though in the second set to level the match before Kvatsabaia claimed a close final set to record a 60 46 75 win.
Two more three-setters followed which included a quarterfinal win over the sixth seed, Hulya Esen, a match in which she had to come from a set down to earn victory.
Her opponent in the title match was another seed, Russia’s Eugeniya Pashkova, seeded fourth. This was expected to be a close match but, after three successive three set matches, Kvatsabaia returned to the form in which she began the tournament and raced to a surprising 60 62 win for her first singles title since May 2011.
Kvatsabaia also entered into the doubles event here with Dunja Sunkic from Serbia. This unseeded pairing, appearing in their first tournament together, began with a straight sets win over sisters Hulya and Lutfiye Esen, who were also the second seeds.
They then eased through their quarterfinal with a 61 60 victory before being on the receiving end of this same score line in the semifinals. This defeat came at the hands of fourth seeds Anastasia Frolova and Eugeniya Pashkova, coincidentally the players Kvatsabaia defeated in the singles semifinal and final respectively.
For the second tournament, which was being held at the same venue as the previous week, Kvatsabaia was seeded fifth in the singles and did not take part in the doubles event.
Kvatsabaia embarked on another run to the final, this time without dropping a set all week. Her passage into the final itself was made all the easier when her Romanian second seeded opponent, Liana-Gabriela Ungur, unfortunately had to retire from their match with the Georgian leading 60 3-0.
Playing for a career first time in back-to-back singles finals on the ITF Pro Circuit, a second title was secured with a 76(4) 61 defeat of Venezuela’s Marina Giral Lores, seeded seventh.
Kvatsabaia rounded off the month in Mallorca, Spain. Here she was fourth seed in the singles event and once again gave the doubles a miss.
Despite her two title winning performances in Turkey over the course of the previous two weeks, there was to be no repeat performance on this Spanish Isle’s clay courts.
Kvatsabaia started brightly enough, winning her opening two rounds without loss of a set but she came unstuck in the quarterfinal, suffering a 75 62 loss to German player Jasmin Steinherr.
Although the month ended in defeat, the points earned from having got her first titles of the year in the bag would see her return to the WTA Top 400 for the first time in six months.