Cluj-Napoca | Pliskova beats Bogdan to bag first title in 4 years

Cluj-Napoca | Pliskova beats Bogdan to bag first title in 4 years

Karolina Pliskova defeated home favourite Ana Bogdan on Sunday to win the 2024 edition of the WTA 250 Transylvania Open, played in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and taking an hour and 25 minutes to capture her 17th career WTA singles title.

It’s not a big tournament but it feels like a big tournament. I really enjoyed my stay here. Karolina Pliskova

“I feel amazing because I didn’t win a title since, I think, a couple years, so of course it feels great, especially here with the support which I have all week,” Pliskova said afterwards. “Today was difficult, but the atmosphere was amazing, so I hope to come back for sure.

“At the moment I’m just really happy, so I want to enjoy it.”

The former World No 1 won, 6-4 6-3, without dropping a set all week to land her first title in 4 years, beating Sinja Kraus, Camila Osorio, Sara Errani, Harriet Dart, and, finally, Bogdan in the process of ending her trophy-less drought.

The last time the Czech won a title was at the Brisbane International in 2020, when she beat Madison Keys, 6–4 4–6 7–5, in the final.

Bogdan, who was seeking her first career WTA singles title, got off to the perfect start as she built an early 3-0 lead, but Pliskova began to find her range as she pulled back on serve at 3-2 with a forehand winner down the line.

The Czech saved 2 break points in the next game to hold serve, then prevailed in a gruelling 9th game, converting her 5th break point of that battle to serve for the set at 5-4.

Pliskova fired 2 aces to reach triple set point, and closed out the love hold with a forehand winner.

Maintaining control in the second set, Pliskova broke Bogdan twice and never faced a break point, slamming one final forehand winner to convert her 2nd match point and hoist another championship trophy in her prolific career.

Pliskova won 29 of 37 first-service points in the match, 78%, and she saved 3 of the 4 break points she faced, all in the opening set.

In her winner’s speech the Czech praised the tournament, which won the Best WTA 250 Tournament in the World award two years in a row: “It’s not a big tournament but it feels like a big tournament. I really enjoyed my stay here.”

During the trophy ceremony, Patrick Ciorcila, the Tournament Director, announced that the Transylvania Open had finally earned a permanent position in the WTA calendar.

Home favourite Ana Bogdan ran out of steam against Karolina Pliskova in Sunday’s final at Cluj-Napoca

Transylvania Open/Facebook

Throughout the final, Bogdan had the crowd cheering and supporting her, which seem to rattle Pliskova at the start.

Bogdan rapidly won her first service game, and the overwhelmed Czech dropped hers after committing a few unforced errors, including a double-fault, after which the Romanian held her serve again for a 3-0 lead.

Pliskova settled and calibrated her deliveries to win her second service game, and as she improved her groundstrokes, she attained her first 2 break points on Bogdan’s serve at 3-1.

She broke and although Bogdan continued to put pressure on Pliskova’s serve, achieving 2 more break points, the Czech resisted, levelled at 3-3, and again at 4-4 before breaking and moving on to take the first set.

By now Bogdan was tiring, having come from a set down to win a close to 3-hour semi-final against Jaqueline Cristian, and a 3 and a half hour upset of top seed Arantxa Rus in the quarters.

She began to struggled against Pliskova’s power and although she managed to win the first game of the second set, the Czech was holding now with ease to equalise and at 2-2 she broke Bogdan as the Romanian’s game weakened.

Again Pliskova stood strong on serve, holding to love and distancing herself at 4-2, and while Bogdan struggled, she also held but the Czech charged to 5-3 and created 3 championship points.

Bogdan saved one but Pliskova made the next to lift the Transylvania Open trophy.

Pliskova had expressed her eagerness to win in Transylvania after beating Harriet Dart in the semi-finals.

“The crowd will be on her side, I will accept that you will stick with Ana,” she said. “I want the trophy, I haven’t won one in a long time.”

As a result, Pliskova climbs up 19 places in the WTA ranking to No 59, while Bogdan, who missed her chance to grab the first WTA 250 title of her career on home soil, rises 11 places to the 54.

“Thank you for everything I felt this week because of you,” Bogdan said at the trophy ceremony. “I have never experienced these moments on the tennis court before. It wasn’t my lucky day but I know I will go back to work to be able to lift the big trophy one day.”

Doubles champions Caty McNally & Asia Muhammad (R) with the runners-up Tereza Mihalikova (L) & Harriet Dart

Transylvania Open/Facebook

Earlier on Sunday, the all-American duo of Caty McNally & Asia Muhammad won the Transylvania Open doubles title, defeating Dart of Great Britain & Tereza Mihalikova from Slovakia, 6-3 6-4, in 1 hour and 18 minutes.

This week was the first time McNally & Muhammad had teamed up on tour, and it resulted in McNally’s 8th career WTA doubles title, and the 9th career WTA doubles title for Muhammad.

Earlier in the week, Dart had reached her first semi-final on the WTA Tour in the singles tournament, losing to Pliskova, which has helped the 27-year-old to climb back into the top 100 of the world rankings at No 92.

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