17-year-old Ana Konjuh Wins 1st WTA Title in Nottingham
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
Ana Konjuh, 17, has won her first WTA title beating Monica Niculescu in the final of the Nottingham open.
The final was delayed due to numerous weather disruptions last week, so the players took to the court this Monday morning in the UK.
The teenage Croatian was forced to come from behind after dropping her first set of the tournament in lopsided fashion. The experienced Niculescu raced to a 5-0 lead before closing out the set 6-1.
In this situation you would expect the Romanian to run away with it, but Konjuh had other ideas. The 17-year-old broke early in the second set, and soon found herself serving to level the match at 5-3.
But a combination of nerves and the experience of her opponent meant that Niculescu soon broke back. However, Konjuh soon rallied and after failing to serve it out, the Croatian finally sealed the set with a break, 6-4.
The momentum was now with the youngster, and after saving a break point in the opening game of the third set Konjuh began to run away with it.
A break for 2-0 was quickly followed by another to seal the victory for the 17 year old, who claimed her first WTA title in the process.
Despite it being an International event, this was a big coming out party for Konjuh who has announced herself as one of the brightest prospects on tour. To beat a player as crafty and unique as Niculescu at such a young age shows her talents.
Konjuh also beat Alison Riske, and Casey Dellacqua en route to the title which are good victories in themselves. She is certainly one to watch in the upcoming weeks, and indeed for years to come.
For Niculescu she has had a good tournament that saw her beat top seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The Romanian will be one to watch at Wimbledon as her unorthadox game can cause a huge variety of problems.
Konjuh will now move to her highest ever ranking #55 after enjoying junior success, winning the Australian Open and US Open junior titles.