“Ambidextrous” Dodin wows in Poitiers
While the WTA season was winding down in Singapore last week, the action on the ITF Women’s Circuit was just heating up. The final $100,000 event on the 2014 calendar took place in Poitiers, France last week, and it was a local girl who captured the attention of the French faithful.
Eighteen-year-old Oceane Dodin might not be a household name for most tennis fans, but if she keeps playing like she did in Poitiers, she will be. The teenager, who came into the event ranked outside the top 350 in the world, beat four quality players, including top 100 names in Anna “I beat Venus Williams at Roland Garros” Schmiedlova and Tereza “I made the second week of Wimbledon” Smitkova, en route to reaching her biggest career final. Dodin played just one main draw match at the $50,000 level or above prior to this week, and her quarterfinal match against Andreea Mitu can be found in its entirety on YouTube.
Dodin’s played just three matches on the junior circuit since 2011, and claimed three titles on the ITF Circuit this year. However, her showing last week turned heads for another reason: she identifies as “ambidextrous.”
Dodin will play in the $50,000 event this week in Nantes, and has certainly entered the conversation for the French Tennis Federation’s Australian Open wildcard.
Timea Babos (almost) hits the big 3-0
We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the woman who ended Dodin’s dream run in Poitiers: Timea Babos.
Babos took the final match 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to claim her second title of the year and first $100,000 event of her career. The Hungarian, who reached the doubles final at Wimbledon with Kristina Mladenovic, has stalled in singles since winning her first WTA title in Monterrey and reaching a career-high ranking of No. 59 in 2012, but the win in Poitiers puts her back inside the top 100 at No. 91.
There are a lot of numbers to digest from Babos’ win, but perhaps none bigger than her ace count in the final. The big-serving Hungarian threw down 29 aces en route to victory, five clear of Serena Williams’ WTA main draw record of 24. It’s not the most aces hit in an ITF event this year, however; Kristyna Pliskova cracked 32 in her first round win over Irena Pavlovic in Gifu, Japan in April.
Kateryna Bondarenko triumphs again
We talked about the youngest Bondarenko sister’s return to tennis in an earlier installment of #MLM, and she hasn’t slowed down in the weeks since. The Ukrainian claimed her second title of the year at the USTA Tennis Classic of Mason in Georgia last week, defeating Grace Min in the final, 6-4, 7-5.
The match was Bondarenko’s ninth in seven days, including doubles, as she had to qualify for the tournament. She broke American hearts throughout the week, beating Sachia Vickery, Anna Tatishvili and Julia Boserup before coming from a set down to beat Croatia’s Petra Martic in the semifinals. The win bumps Bondarenko up 65 spots in the rankings, to No. 210.
The real winner in Macon, however, was Bondarenko’s young daughter Karin, who joined her mother on court for the trophy ceremony. Quick, everyone say, “D’awwwwwww.”