Bogdan overcomes Udvardy to claim biggest career title at Iasi 125

Ana Bogdan’s summer push continued at home as the No. 3 seed claimed her maiden WTA 125 title at the BCR Iasi Open, beating No. 2 seed Panna Udvardy 6-2, 3- 6, 6-1 in the final.

The No. 75-ranked Romanian was coming off her first round-level final in Warsaw the previous week, where she lost to Caroline Garcia in the title match. But after maintaining his form during a stellar week in Iasi, Bogdan has now won nine of his last 10 games and extended his 2022 record to 27-12.

Bogdan, 30, lost just eight games in her first three matches to reach the semis, and Udvardy was the only player to win a set from her this week. The Hungarian took advantage of a drop in Bogdan’s first-serve percentage from 71% to 60% to snatch the second set.

However, Bogdan responded by going through a one-sided decider in which she landed 85% of her first serves, found winning angles with her all-you-can forehand and demonstrated fine touch at the net. She converted her first championship point after Udvardy sent a forehand from a fraction wide.

Ana Bogdan celebrates her participation in the final of the BCR Iasi Open 2022 in front of her local fans.

Photo by Cristina Hutu

Bogdan’s previous biggest title was the 2019 ITF W100 event, and she lost her only WTA 125 final at Limoges 2021 to Alison Van Uytvanck. Despite a career ranking of No. 59, Bogdan has had several memorable appearances on the Grand Slam stage recently, suggesting she has the potential to top that.

In 2021, she narrowly fell 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 to Paula Badosa in the third round of Roland Garros; this year she suffered another heartbreaking but high quality loss in Paris, losing 6-7(7), 7-6(1), 6-2 to Victoria Azarenka in the first round. In her first match at Wimbledon, Bogdan was inches away from a remarkable 6-1, 5-1 comeback against Petra Kvitova.

Defeated finalist Udvardy fell to 0-2 in the WTA 125 final, after losing to Diane Parry at Montevideo 2021, but the 23-year-old can be encouraged by her own summer resurgence. Udvardy started 2022 with a five game losing streak and eventually lost their first eight main draw games at tour level of the season via Eastbourne. But she arrived in Iasi fresh off the Cordenons ITF W60 title the previous week and extended her winning streak to nine before Bogdan ended her in the final.

Maja Chwalinska, semi-finalist of the BCR Iasi Open 2022

Photo by Cristina Hutu

Chwalinska continues to rise, Astakhova makes a breakthrough

This time last year, Maja Chwalinska had just started an indefinite hiatus from tennis due to depression. Now the 20-year-old Pole is booming. She reached the second round of Wimbledon as a qualifier on her tour-level debut and made the same stop at home in Warsaw. In Iasi, Chwalinska fought her way to the biggest semi-final of her career so far, upsetting No. 4 seed Olga Danilovic 7-6(4), 6-4 in the second round before falling 6-3, 7-6 (2) to Udvardy.

256-ranked qualifier Darya Astakhova also had her career-best week in Iasi. The 20-year-old had never played a qualifier or main draw at the WTA or WTA 125 level before, but lost just 22 matches in five matches to advance to the last four. That run included her best win to date as she edged out No. 7 seed Irina Bara 6-3, 6-3 in the first round, and Astakhova was only stopped 7-6(5), 6- 4 by Bogdan in the semi-finals.

The biggest upset of the tournament came in the first round, when 21-year-old Japanese qualifier Yuki Naito claimed the first comprehensive Top 100 win of her career by ousting No. 1 seed Viktorija Golubic 6-3, 6- 4.

Darya Astakhova, semi-finalist of the BCR Iasi Open 2022

Photo by Cristina Hutu

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