Now Marta has won U14 Eddie Herr and thus is the official glorious successor to Queen Potapova who won it last year, I HAVE to create a cheering thread for her!
Indeed, 13 yo Marta (born June 28, 2002) from Kyiv won her biggest title at the prestigious tournament of Eddie Herr in Florida yesterday.
Seeded 8, she beat Alena Nikishina 1 & 1 in R1, Ruth Marsh 0 & 2 in R2, Maria Osorio 6-2 4-6 6-4 in R3, Himeno Sakatsume (the girl who beat the girl who upset the 3rd seed in R2) 6-1 4-6 6-3 in QF, Gia Cohen (who upset 2nd seed Tikhonova in QF) 6-3 7-5 in SF, and unseeded fellow Ukrainian Margaryta Bilokin (2001 born) 2-6 6-4 6-2 in the final!
This is the apex of a very solid and promising year, during which she's been steadily stepping up, going deeper in stronger tournaments, and establishing herself as one of the best European U14 girls, despite being a year younger than most of her opponents!
She already had set the tone a couple months ago at the U14 Tennis Europe Junior Masters in Italy (a tournament involving the 8 best players at the Tennis Europe rankings race in U14 category and in U16). In this highly competitive field, she was seeded 4 and she reached the final thanks to a 4 & 2 win over Carmen Roxana Manu in R1, and a 7-5 6-2 win over Vitalia Stamat (who had upset the 2nd seed Ekaterina Makarova in R1 the day before) in SF, before losing a very close final against 3rd seed and fellow 2002 born Helene Pellicano, 3-6 6-3 6-7(1).
I'm delighted that yesterday, she managed to hold her nerves after a bad start, and to make the one last step further this time!
The Edie Herr title is her 3rd title this year, she won G16 Pinsk Open in Belarus in April (she was the 4th seed there, beat local top seed Katyarina Paulenka - who's 2 years older - in the final, 6-3 4-6 6-4
), and G14 Triled YCC in Belgium in August (she was the 4th seed, beat top seed Ekaterina Makarova 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the final
And apart from the TEJM final, she has made 2 more finals this year: at G14 Realsport Open 14 in Czech Rep in January (she was the 4th seed there, lost to top seed and fellow Ukrainian Anna Laguza in the final, 3 & 3), and at G4 ITF Lion Cup in Lviv in July (she had received a MDWC there, beat top seed Zhibek Kulambayeva - who's 2 years older and already was in the world Top 200 - 6-0 1-6 7-5 in SF, but had to give a WO in the final where she was supposed to face 2nd seed and fellow Ukrainian Oleksandra Andrieieva, which must have been pretty haeartbreaking for her
She didn't have any deep run in the strongest European U14 tournaments of the beginning of the year in France - at Les Petits As held in January, she went through the qualies, beat 13th seed Ana Shanidze 7-5 6-3 in R1, but lost to Ukrainian Canadian and fellow 2002 born Sofiya Babych in R2, 2-6 6-4 1-6; and at TIM Essonne in March, she was the 13th seed and had a bye in R1, and she was upset by local WC Chloé Cirotte in R2, 2-6 6-4 5-7
- but as a 2002 girl she was younger than most of the girls playing taking very very strong events, and she basically was a beginner at this new elite level. But she's shown this year that she got used to it very well (the transition from U12 level to top U14 level is tough and far from obvious) and that she's a quick learner!
I don't know what she's gonna do next year, I wouldn't be surprised if she started to focus a lot more on G18s, but I do hope she'll play a few of the strong U14s European indoors tournaments and try and gun for another big title before that (as Potapova did this year
Her W/L so far this year is 41-11, her CHR ITF ranking was 932 two weeks ago (she's played only 3 G18s this year), GL to her in the future!