Photo: Susan MullaneVictoria Kan (RUS)
In the final month before her 18th birthday, Russia’s Victoria Kan spent her time in Serbia competing on the ITF Pro Circuit and is our featured player for July.
In a week when the majority of the tennis publics eyes were firmly fixed on the events unfolding in the second week of Wimbledon, Kan was seeing action in Prokuplje where she was looking to end a run of almost a year without a singles title win.
In the opening round she brushed past a Bulgarian qualifier 63 60 before the first of three consecutive three setters. The first two of these saw her win the decisive third sets without loss of a single game!
Her semifinal three set win came against the only seeded player she would meet all week, fourth seeded Croatian Ana Savic. Savic, who only returned to professional tennis play at the start of the year after a long break, was the champion at this venue the previous week but Kan was to ensure there would be no repeat for Savic as she ran out a 64 67(2) 63 winner.
The final was an all-Russian affair with Kan taking on her unseeded compatriot Maria Mokh.
Kan began the tournament losing only three games in the first round and she ended it in similar fashion as she posted a 61 62 win to secure her first Pro Circuit singles title since her triumph in Portschach, Austria in August 2011.
Prior to her singles final success, Kan won her second doubles title of 2012 with a 60 26 [10-7] win alongside her Slovakian partner Lucia Butkovska as second seeds.
These two titles replicated her achievement in Portschach in 2011, the only other time she has been a double title winner.
A two week break from competitive tennis action followed for Kan before her return in Palic for her second $10,000 clay court tournament of the month in Serbia.
No doubles play for her this week as she concentrated solely on the singles event where she was named as the second seed.
Her opening round mirrored that of Prokuplje with Kan winning 63 60. Three games were also conceded in the second round with a 61 62 win over a qualifier to take her into the quarterfinal.
Serbian wild card entrant Dejana Radanovic went down 60 in the opening set of the quarterfinal but provided more competition in the second set but ultimately it was Kan who progressed 60 64 to face seventh seeded Romanian Camelia-Elena Hristea for a place in the final.
As the only two seeds through to the semifinal stage and with just the one set dropped all week between them a close match was anticipated. It was, therefore, something of a shock to all when Kan raced through the match recording a 60 60 win.
In her two tournaments this month Kan had now won seven sets by a 60 score line, nine if you throw in the two won in the Prokuplje doubles event!
The title match saw Kan up against another Serbian player in Doroteja Eric, conqueror of two seeded players in earlier rounds including the top seed in round two.
With both players looking to give themselves early presents ahead of their birthdays the following week it was Kan, impressive all week, who seized the advantage by taking the first set with the loss of just one game and leaving her in pole position to go on and claim the title.
The second set was more closely contested by the two players but Eric couldn’t force a deciding third set and Kan made it two from two with a 61 64 victory.
With her first singles titles of 2012 now securely under her belt Kan will be looking to continue with the form shown this week as she continues her climb up the WTA rankings.