DOB: Dec. 30, 1989
This is probably long overdue, but Katerina, a lefty former Top 10 junior and 2006 US Open junior semifinalist, has had the best run of her career this summer, in a comeback from a career plagued with injury.
She just won the 10K Engis, the 4th title of the last five tournaments she's entered. The other three being the 10K Casiano, 10K Innsbruck and the 10K Piestany.
The number of career singles titles she holds now are 11. In doubles, she holds 8.
Currently she's ranked #341, just two spots of her career high of #339, set in 2008.
Oct 5th, 2012, 06:10 PM
#7 Katerina just reached her sixth SF of the year, after upsetting #2 Diane Buzean, 76(4) 64! She now faces Julia Samuseva for a spot in the final.
During the course of this month, 22-year-old Katerina Vankova competed in ITF Pro Circuit tournaments in Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Switzerland.
The much travelled Czech Republic player, coached by former ATP pro David Prinosil, is also our featured player for August.
The month did not begin too promisingly for the young Czech player, crashing out to a qualifier in the opening round in the Austrian capital of Vienna 26 64 64. Vankova, runner-up here in 2011, left Austria following this defeat, but she would be back later in the month.
Vankova’s next tournament, held in the Slovakian town of Piestany, would see a dramatic improvement on her fortunes in Vienna.
The winner of seven career singles titles on the ITF Pro Circuit coming into this tournament, fifth seeded Vankova found herself once more opening against a qualifier.
Despite taking the first set 61, her opponent from Hungary, Zsofia Miko, quickly levelled the match, dropping two games in taking the second set. Not ready to make another quick fire tournament exit in succession, Vankova re-discovered her touch of the first set to run out a 61 26 61 winner.
Vankova also entered into the doubles event in Piestany where, for the first time since September 2008, she partnered Katerina Kramperova. The reunion was, however, to be short lived, at least whilst on the same side of the net, with the fourth seeded pair going down in straight sets in the first round.
The wins kept coming in the singles though, a second round win over another qualifier was followed up with an impressive 62 62 defeat of the number two seed, Mai Minokoshi from Japan.
Vankova pulled off another stunning victory in her semifinal match with Sofiya Kovalets, eliminating the Ukrainian with the loss of just one game to move into her first singles final since early May and second of 2012.
The final saw Vankova and Kramperova take to the court, this time though, as opponents.
Although the pair had only reunited as teammates for the first time in four years earlier in the week for the doubles event, the two had faced each other in July in the final round of qualifying at a $25,000 event in Darmstadt, Germany.
That day it was Kramperova who won in three sets and when the number one seed took the opening set 63 it looked as though she would be recording a third career win from three meetings with Vankova.
Vankova had been in impressive form all week leading up to this final and dropping the opening set only proved to be a minor blip as she rallied back to take the next two sets from her fellow Czech player. This 36 63 62 gave Vankova her first title of the year.
A return to Austria was next on the agenda for the 22-year old and a tournament in the city of Innsbruck.
Unseeded Vankova was handed the toughest start when drawn against the top seed Dalila Jakupovic, or so it was thought. Conceding just two games, one in each set, Vankova eliminated the Slovenian number one seed. This win then set the tone for the remainder of her tournament.
The second round again saw her drop just two games, this time in a 62 60 win against an Austrian wild card entrant, before seeing off another seed in the eighth seeded Austrian Yvonne Neuwirth 62 62.
Vankova was certainly enjoying her time in Austria in this visit and soon found herself in a second final in as many weeks with a 62 61 defeat of yet another Austrian opponent.
German qualifier Lena-Marie Hofmann now stood between Vankova and back-to-back singles titles for the first time in her career on the ITF Pro Circuit to date.
With only one game lost in the opening set it appeared Hofmann was going to go the way of all those before her this week but she then stunned the rampant Czech player with a 64 second set win. The deciding set was as closely fought as the second and the score line was repeated, only this time in Vankova’s favour, and another title was secured.
A fourth tournament of the month saw Vankova, unseeded once again, visit the Czech Republic capital of Prague. Here she was taking part in a $25,000 tournament as a wild card entrant but her participation was short lived and a 75 63 loss to the third seed from Poland, Paula Kania, saw her make a second round exit.
Vankova was to see the month out in Caslano, a Swiss village hosting the ITF Pro Circuit for the first time, where she was back among the seeds as the fourth seed.
Two qualifiers were quickly eliminated in the opening two rounds with wins of 61 60 and 63 62 to take her into the quarterfinals. Another straight sets win followed but then in the semifinal, 17-year old Swiss wild card entrant, Imane Maelle Kocher, stunned Vankova with a first set 63 win.
A minor setback though, as it turned out, as Vankova then only conceded three games over the course of the next two sets to make the final with a 36 61 62 triumph.
The final pitted her against Russian fifth seed Daria Salnikova who, the previous day, had contested the doubles final where she finished as runner-up.
Whereas Vankova was playing in her third singles final of the month, her 18-year old opponent was in her first final since a December 2011 title win in Antalya, Turkey.
Despite this, Vankova could not take things easy and had to respect an opponent who had
already eliminated two seeds, including the top seed in the quarterfinal 16 60 62.
The final was settled over two close sets of tennis and with a 63 64 win it was Vankova who was to end the month on a high whilst Salnikova had to settle for another runners-up trophy of the week.
ITF Pro Circuit Meets... Katerina Vankova
The 22-year-old recent winner of four singles titles on the ITF Pro Circuit, was able to answer some questions for us. Read on to find out more about the player from the Czech Republic.
ITF Pro Circuit : Can you tell us where were you born and maybe describe the area where you grew up?
Katerina Vankova : I was born in the capital city of the Czech Republic, in Prague. I still live there now.
Do any other members of your family play sport?
My father has been playing basketball his whole life. My mom used to play tennis just for fun. I have an older brother, who has been playing tennis, too. He doesn’t play tournaments any more, but works as a tennis coach in a tennis club in Prague together with studying at a university.
So how did you get started in tennis? How old were you? Where did you first play?
Thanks to my brother, who played tennis in a tennis club just across the street. My parents were taking me to the club together with him. I tried it one day (I was about six or seven years old) and could spend hours hitting against a wall.
What can you tell us about your current coach?
I have been working with David Prinosil for four years. He is a former professional tennis player, who was [career high] ranked by ATP at 28 in the year 2001. My previous coach was David Kunst. We worked together for nearly ten years, so he also had a big influence on my tennis growth.
Who were/are your tennis idols?
My tennis idol is Roger Federer. If I had to pick someone from women, it would be Kim Clijsters.
What is your greatest tennis memory either as a player or as a fan?
That is definitely my quarterfinal match [at the] junior French Open. I played against a French player, so our match was scheduled on court No.1. I guess, it was the biggest court I have ever played on. To play before so many fans, who created a great atmosphere, is something that I will never forget. I won this match in three sets.
My greatest tennis memory off the court was being at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, when Andre Agassi was saying goodbye.
Who has been the toughest opponent you have faced on court?
It is definitely myself!
In your opinion, what would you say are the best and worst aspects of being a professional tennis player?
Playing tennis gave me the opportunity to visit many places around the world that I would probably never visit, to get to know interesting people, things, different cultures. The most difficult aspect is the permanent care about everything, especially about physical shape to stay fit and be able to play.
So far in your career, what has been the nicest venue that you played at?
When I don’t count junior Grand Slam tournaments that are specific in many ways, it would be a tennis club in Prague, where I started to play tennis.
What is the best experience that you had on the ITF Pro Circuit?
Recently winning four $10,000 tournaments.
Which player(s) are you friends with?
I don’t have any problems to get along with other players, but I am not sure if I can talk about real friendships…
How has playing on the ITF Pro Circuit helped you as a player?
Every tournament gives me a lot of new on-court as well as off-court experiences.
Would you recommend that top juniors play the ITF Pro Circuit?
Case by case. Regarding myself, I can’t image skipping ITF Pro Circuit on my way up.
What aspect of another player’s game do you most envy?
When I get angry with my serve, I envy every player, who can serve well.
Speaking of other players (past & present), whose attributes would you take to create your own female super player?
Serving : Serena Williams
Return of Serve : I would stick with mine
Positioning : Roger Federer
Speed on court : Rafael Nadal
Concentration : Maria Sharapova
Fighting spirit : Rafael Nadal
If you could only have one Grand Slam title, which would you choose?
What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?
It is hard to choose one. “Don’t think too much on the court” could be the one.
Away from the tennis court do you have any other interests?
I like to do and follow all sports and playing the piano.
Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
I don´t have one specific destination. It would have to be a place, where I could spend my holiday actively.
If you had not become a tennis player what career path would you have liked to have followed?
I study sport management at university in Prague, so I would most probably do something that has something to do with my studies. If I had to stop playing tennis, I would maybe start to study one more field of study – physiotherapy.
Finally, have you set yourself any goals for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013?
Katerina Vankova : You never know, what can happen next day, so I don’t want to set any goals. All I disclose is that I would like to get my bachelor degree next year.
Best of luck with that and thanks for your time.
Oct 6th, 2012, 03:47 PM
Katerina defeated Julia, 62 76(3). Now faces #3 Elizaveta Ianchuk for the title!
Oct 8th, 2012, 06:18 AM
Katerina wins her 5th title of the year, after wearing down Elizaveta, 46 64 60!
Oct 12th, 2012, 10:05 PM
With the same seedings, Katerina again upset Diana Buzean, this time 1 & 3, to reach her seventh semi of the year! She now faces #3 Jovana Jaksic for a spot in the final.
Oct 13th, 2012, 07:07 PM
Fell to Jovana, 2 & 2. Shocking, as it feels as if she should win every tournament now :lol:
Oct 31st, 2012, 09:51 PM
75K Barnstaple qualies.
Katerina, the #1 seed, overcame #7 Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 64 67(8) 64, to make the main draw.
She then defeated WC Laura Deigman, 1 & 2, to set up a match with #5 Annika Beck, in the second round. It will be tough, but good luck to her!
Nov 1st, 2012, 11:36 PM
Lost to Annika, 2 & 1. Still a good tournament.
Jan 8th, 2013, 11:42 PM
Katerina is on the EL for the 10K Stuttgart-Stammheim. :)