Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Spotlight On ... Lucie Hradecka

She might have come up short in several finals this year (Strasbourg and Istanbul), but Lucie Hradecka is beginning to make her presence felt on the WTA Tour. The Czech is currrently ranked at a career-high of # 56 in the world following last weekend's final appearance in Istanbul (l. to Vera Dushevina in a very one-sided affair).

Although she has had some good success at WTA level this year, Lucie has also stepped down to the ITF circuit, where she won a title in Belfort (France). This kickstarted her 2009 season after early exits in qualifying for Hobart (l. to Maria Elena Camerin) and the Australian Open (l. to Ekaterina Ivanova). En route to the ITF Belfort title, she beat Andrea Petkovic in the quarter-finals and 2nd seed Vesna Manasieva in the final. This was followed by an ITF final in Midland (USA), where she gained revenge on Ivanova in the first round and took out 4th seed Stephanie Foretz in the semi-finals.

Her good form came to an end after this with early exits in Memphis (l. to Chanelle Scheepers in the opening round), ITF Clearwater (USA) (l. to Mervana Jugic-Salkic in the opening round), Indian Wells (l. to 5th seed Petra Cetkovska in the second qualifying round), Miami (l. to Julia Goerges in the first qualifying round), and Barcelona (l. to Yevgenia Savranska in the first round). Things got back on track with a quarter-final in Fes (d. 8th seed Shahar Peer, before losing to Melinda Czink) and a final in Strasbourg (l. to Aravane Rezai after beating three higher-ranked players in the form of Alla Kudryatseva, Kristina Barrois and Ayumi Morita). Quarter-finals in ITF Biarritz (l. to 5th seed Julia Goerges) and Prague (l. to 2nd seed Sybille Bammer) was followed by the final in Istanbul, where she again beat Petkovic in the semi-finals and managed to exact some revenge on Goerges in the second round.

In terms of the Grand Slams, Lucie's best showing is a second round at Roland Garros (l. to 22nd seed Carla Suarez Navarro). She narrowly lost out 8-6 in the third set to 13th seed Ana Ivanovic in the first round of Wimbledon. She has yet to play in the main draw of the Australian and US Opens but will do so in the latter this summer.

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