German teenager Julia Kimmelmann is the featured female player from the opening month of the New Year.
19-year-old Kimmelmann, who plays left-handed, won her first ITF Pro Circuit titles during 2012 with a singles success in June and two doubles titles won in February and July. All three titles came in her homeland and this is also where she began her 2013 tennis season.
On the indoor courts at Stuttgart-Stammheim is where she saw action first as a wildcard entrant into the singles qualifying event. Named as the second seed she won through two rounds in straight sets to earn a spot in the main draw. Kimmelmann was also entered into the doubles event. Partnering Swiss player Viktorija Golubic for the first time, the two players found themselves named as the third seeds.
The singles draw pitted the young German with a tough opening round match, against the sixth seed Marina Melnikova from Russia, or so it was thought.
A quick fire 61 61 win was one of the surprise results of the opening round which also saw three other seeds eliminated, two of which, including the number one seed, were in Kimmelmann’s half of the draw.
A second Russian player faired only slightly better against Kimmelmann in round two as the German moved onto the quarterfinal and a match against Slovenia’s Anja Prislan who had defeated the top seed in three sets in round one.
Kimmelmann looked to be on her way to another easy win when taking the first set 62 but her fellow seed conqueror hit back in a close second set to level the score. Kimmelmann though held off the challenge to win 62 57 63.
The semifinal draw saw two qualifiers, both from Germany, up against two seeds for places in the final. Kimmelmann posted a 64 61 win and in the other semi, with a hard fought 46 62 75 win, her fellow German qualifier, Laura Siegemund, ensured it would be an all-German title match.
The day prior to the singles final, Kimmelmann was in action alongside 20-year-old Viktorija Golubic as the third seeds took on the fourth seeded Russian pairing of Olga Doroshina and Julia Valetova in the doubles final.
Having seen off the top seeds in the semifinal, Kimmelmann and Golubic were confident of taking the title and a 64 61 victory saw them do just that and claim the title in their debut tournament together.
Kimmelmann, with the doubles title secured, went into the singles final with the opportunity of winning both titles at the same tournament for the first time in her career.
The two German qualifiers contested a closely fought title match and, coincidently, Siegemund was also the last qualifier Kimmelmann had faced in a main draw match. On that occasion, back in July 2012, Siegemund had run out a 75 63 winner but not this time. Kimmelmann gained revenge for that defeat with a straight sets win of her own, 64 63, and with it took the title to cap a great week of tennis.
After her double title winning week in Stuttgart-Stammheim, Kimmelmann travelled to Kaarst looking to extend her recent run of good form.
There was no need to for Kimmelmann to qualify this time as she was a direct acceptance into the main draw where she was named as the tournament’s seventh seed. Kimmelmann and Golubic also continued their partnership following their debut success of the previous week and were named second seeds.
Kaarst, like Stuttgart-Stammheim, was an indoor tournament and as she had done the previous week she made short work of winning her opening round match. A 62 62 win over an Italian qualifier took her into round two. Good fortune was once again with the German teenager as for the second week running the top seed made a first round exit having been in Kimmelmann’s half of the draw.
In fact, all seeds in Kimmelmann’s half faced first round elimination and only two other seeded players joined Kimmelmann in the second round.
With the knowledge that there would be no seeded opposition to overcome until the final at the earliest Kimmelmann recorded another 62 first set win before edging a tiebreaker 9-7 to reach the quarterfinal.
For the third round in succession, Kimmelmann posted a first set win of 62 and dropped only four games in the second set to win her quarterfinal match and set up a semifinal showdown against her doubles partner Viktorija Golubic.
The opening set went to a tiebreak and it was Golubic who took it with a 7-3 win leaving Kimmelmann in the position of having to come from behind if she was to make the final. Given the closeness of the first set it was something of a surprise when Kimmelmann then raced through the following two sets, winning both 62.
In the other semifinal, Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova saw off the second seeded Czech player Katerina Vankova in straight sets. This result meant Kimmelmann would be facing a qualifier once again for the title.
As in Stuttgart-Stammheim, Kimmelmann was involved in the doubles final on the day preceding her singles final. In a clash of the top two seeded teams, Kimmelmann and Golubic were once again crowned champions, recording a 63 46 [10-5] win over Anja Prislan and Jasmin Steinherr from Slovenia and Germany respectively.
This title win also meant that Kimmelmann is now unbeaten in her last four doubles finals contested.
Kimmelmann’s last match of the month was the singles final in Kaarst. Already the doubles champion when she took to the court, Kimmelmann knew victory in this match would see her emulate her achievement of the previous week in becoming a double champion.
In a determined frame of mind Kimmelmann opened with a 63 first set win and then backed this up in the second set with the loss of just two games and become a back-to-back double champion this month. This 63 62 defeat of the Russian qualifier also saw Kimmelmann extend her win-loss record over qualifiers to 13-6.
What a great start to the New Year for Kimmelmann and if winning consecutive singles and doubles titles wasn’t enough, her performances during the month saw her reach new WTA career high rankings of 444 and 391 in singles and doubles respectively in the 4 February ranking release.
If Kimmelmann can maintain this form then the young German can expect a rapid rise up the rankings and Julia Kimmelmann could soon be a name that both tennis fans and her fellow players will be keeping an eye out for.