Romania’s Ana Bogdan capped off a perfect second week on the trot with a 6-1, 6-2 win against teen qualifier Daria Snigur for the singles crown at the 22nd Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge which concluded at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa on Saturda.
The 27-year-old Bogdan — winner of a $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event last month — capped her biggest tournament success of her career after getting past her 17-year-old opponent from Ukraine.
“It’s like a dream for me at the moment. I had forgotten what it is to hold a winner’s trophy. I came into this week wanting to do this and here we are,” Bogdan told Gulf News after accepting her winner’s trophy from Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, chairman of the Habtoor Group of Companies in the presence of Ahmad Abdul Malek, vice-president of Tennis Emirates.
“I’ve been through some tough moments this season and to cap it with two trophies in two weeks sounds surreal. But I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, so I just want to enjoy it by staying back in Dubai for a few more days,” she added.
Up against a gutsy teenager who loves to dominate with her quick play from the baseline, Bogdan did well to control proceedings from the start as she broke in the fourth and sixth games to run away with the opening set 6-1 in just over half an hour.
The second went pretty much the same way as Snigur tried to work her way in but an early break saw the Romanian lead 2-0. Another break in the fifth and the 2019 junior girls Wimbledon champion found it tough to break past Bogdan as the Romanian wrapped up set and match in 61 minutes.
“I think I gave more than 100 per cent on Friday [against top seed Kristina Mladenovic]. Perhaps, I was too tired mentally. I think I simply didn’t show up in the final,” Snigur rued.
“I am sad at the moment, but I need to find some quiet time and reflect so that I can learn from this experience of playing in the biggest tournament of my career so far,” the 17-year-old admitted.
Asked to explain her strategy against Snigur, the new champion added: “I knew she likes to play fast and deep while using a lot of power and control in her shots. I knew I had to change the pace and upset her rhythm.
“It’s been a really good second half of the year for me. I am glad that I could play to my best and go away as the new champion in Dubai,” Bogdan said.
She was also full of praise for an opponent who is 10 years her junior. Coming through the qualifying rounds right through to the final here this week, Snigur now stands to jump to a career-high of around 190 on the WTA Rankings when the new announcement is made on Monday. “She’s [Snigur] a great player. She is very young and she will do well in the future,” the Romanian added.
(Women’s singles final) Ana Bogdan bt Daria Snigur 6-1, 6-2
(Women’s doubles final) Lucie Hradecka/Andreja Klepac bt Georgina Garcia-Perez/Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-5, 3-6, 10-8.