WTA Prague 125K: Kristina Kucova tops Elisabetta Cocciaretto for career-best title

Tennis - Kucova scored seven wins this week to lift the trophy

by Jovica Ilic
WTA Prague 125K: Kristina Kucova tops Elisabetta Cocciaretto for career-best title

On Sunday, the battle for the quarter-final places starts in New York, with the top-ranked players fighting for the second Major crown at the US Open. On the other side of the world, not so big names are also experiencing a massive 128-player draw in Prague, in a unique clay-court $125K event.

For the title, the players had to pass seven obstacles, and it is the 18th seed Kristina Kucova that went all the way, beating the 2nd seed Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 30 minutes. World no. 173 claimed her most significant title in a career at 30, fending off two out of three break chances and delivering four breaks to control the scoreboard and lift the trophy.

It is the first title for Kucova since Dothan in April 2019, earning enough points to achieve the best ranking since July 2017. Kucova hit 11 double faults (out of 23 points lost behind the initial shot), although that couldn't harm her triumph over the better-ranked opponent.

There were no break points in the opening six games, with Cocciaretto fending off a break chance at 3-3 to remain on the scoreboard's positive side. The Slovak experienced first troubles on serve in the eighth game, repelling two break chances and taking her return to a higher level a few minutes later to grab a break and move 5-4 up.

Serving for the set, Karolina produced a hold at love to seal the first part of the encounter and gain momentum. Cocciaretto suffered another break at the beginning of the second set, recovering her strokes and dominating with a forehand to pull the break back in game four and level the result at 2-2.

Nonetheless, Kucova seized another break in game five, producing two comfortable holds and sealing the deal with a forehand winner in game nine that sent her over the finish line.

Karolina Kucova defeated seven rivals to lift the trophy in Prague.

"It's like a dream.

I was dreaming about this, that I would maybe win it and how it would be. I'm proud of myself that I could win such a tough tournament with seven matches, and I'm so happy this tournament was possible to make during these tough moments.

It was a great match, and Elisabetta was a great opponent and fighter. My best shot? I would say serve, but you will bring up the statistics! I know I made a lot of double faults - but in the end, I was pushing more to put as many first serves in, and it was quite fast and precise on the lines," Kristina Kucova said.

Kristina Kucova Elisabetta Cocciaretto