2013 Nurnberger Versicherungscup
The 2013 Nurnberger Versicherungscup was played in Nuremberg, Germany from June 10th – 16th. It is the first edition of this event and the fact that it is new might explain why it featured none of the world’s top players. Another reason is because it is a clay court event and the elite are preparing for the grass court Grand Slam event at Wimbledon. As a result, Jelena Jankovic was the #1 seed despite only being ranked #18 in the world. In total, only five of the world’s top 30 players were featured at the event. This was of course great news for lower ranked players who got an opportunity to shine.
Jankovic must have felt that she had a golden opportunity to add another WTA title to her collection and cruised through the first three rounds without dropping a set. In fact, she only lost 12 games in her first 6 sets of the tournament but she was in for a rude awakening in the semi-final when she faced Andrea Petkovic. The German player was once ranked in the world’s top 10, but fell off the map and wasn’t even seeded for this event. However, she rediscovered some of her old form against Jankovic and won 6-4, 6-3 to reach the final.
On the other side of the draw, the seeds quickly fell which was not a surprise when you consider the low ranking of the seeded players. Number 2 seed Klara Zakopalova was beaten in round one, #3 seed Alize Cornet was beaten in round two, while #7 seed Simona Halep quickly looked to be the most dangerous player, as she easily won the opening three matches. Her semi-final was a closer affair as she took on #5 seed Lucie Safarova, but despite losing the second set 6-0, Halep composed herself and comfortably won the final set 6-3.
World ranked 57, Halep found herself in the unusual role of favorite, but was up to the task as she beat Petkovic 6-3, 6-3 to win her first WTA event. At just 21 years of age, she has lots of time to improve her game and perhaps challenge near the top.
Although Kveta Peschke and Anna-Lena Gronefeld are only ranked #37 in the world, they were #1 seeds for this event. Indeed, the #4 seeds were ranked #167, so it was a chance for complete unknowns to win a title and land a big payday. This proved to be the case because although the #1 seeds made the final, none of the other top 4 seeds even made the semi-final. The #1 seeds lost the final to Valeria Solovyeva and Raluca Olaru with the winners triumphing by a score of 2-6, 7-6, 11-9. Neither of the winning duo is ranked in the top 150 singles players so this was a welcome and unexpected boost to their careers and bank balances.
It will be interesting to see if any of the winners of this event can push on in their careers and move into the big leagues. Tournaments like this are excellent for giving lower ranked players a chance and should remain a fixture on the WTA Tour.
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