MINELLA'S WTA BREAKTHROUGH IN BOGOTÁ
A number of players have broken through with their first WTA titles over the last few weeks - for Mandy Minella, who won the Copa Claro Colsanitas doubles title, it was an extreme relief.
Published March 04, 2013 12:00
Timea Babos, Mandy Minella
BOGOTÁ, Colombia - Mandy Minella's talents on the court have shone throughout her career, her shot variety, her consistency, her tenacity - but over the last year she has really started to capitalize on those talents, and last week the 27-year-old finally came full circle, winning her first WTA title.
The No.2 seeds in the doubles draw, Minella and Timea Babos stormed through to the final of the Copa Claro Colsanitas without losing a set, then capped the week with a 64 63 win over No.1 seeds and defending champions Eva Birnerova and Alexandra Panova. Minella finally had a WTA trophy.
"I was extremely happy and relieved," Minella said. "I was so close to winning a WTA title in doubles already, and now it finally happened here in Bogotá. This will always be a special place for me."
Minella was playing her third WTA final - she was already a runner-up twice before in doubles, at the same event in 2012 with Stefanie Voegele and at Hobart earlier this year with none other than Babos.
"Timea and I have gotten to know each other well and I'm happy I could win a title with a friend," Minella said of Babos. "She's very young but already has a very mature and strong game. I'm sure she will make her way in singles and doubles - we'll be hearing much more about her in the future."
But doubles isn't the only discipline Minella has picked her results up in. A year ago she had never been to a WTA quarterfinal, and in the last year she has done it four times - the quarterfinals of Monterrey, the semifinals of Bad Gastein, the quarters of Baku and now another quarterfinal in Bogotá.
So what's the secret to the spike? "It's the result of good and persistent work," Minella said. "I'm much better organized and am surrounded by a professional team since 2011. I also got more mature with time and see things differently than when I was in my early twenties. I also had a bad knee injury in 2006 that kept me out for a year, so I needed some time to work my way back up the rankings again."
And in an era with a number of thirty-somethings in the upper echelon of the game, including Serena Williams at the very top of the group, Minella is inspired to try to keep going up those rankings.
"Serena proves age doesn't matter. Girls are now keeping their fitness much longer and with their experience too, they're showing it's very hard for newcomers to beat them. To me, Serena is the best tennis player in the world right now. She has proven it by her results. She's playing better than ever."