A pair of HEAD racquet rebels made major breakthroughs on the eve of the London Olympic tournament, with Dutchman Robin Haase defending the title of Kitzbuhel and Serb Bojana Jovanovski claiming her first trophy on the WTA.
Haase, playing with his YouTek IG Prestige Mid, beat German top seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in a 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-2 comeback at the bet-at-home Cup in the famed Austrian mountain resort of Kitzbuhel. It was a massive defensive effort for the 42nd-ranked Dutchman, who saved 13 of the 14 break points he faced against his German opponent.
World No. 97 Jovanovski swung her YouTek IG Instinct MP in a 6-3, 6-1 defeat of American Julia Cohen at the Baku Cup in the central Asian nation of Azerbaijan, one of the most far-flung stops on the WTA.
In Los Angeles at the Farmers Classic, Australian Marinko Matosevic (YouTek Prestige Pro) put up a fight before bowing to Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, a former world junior champion, 7-5, 6-1 in the semi-finals.
Haase made a quick turnaround, flying to the London Games with fresh confidence only a few hours after collecting his Kitzbuhel trophy. "I didn't feel too much pressure even if I was the defending champion. From the quarter-finals on, I started a bit nervously, before calming down and winning. I'm happy I won here again. I don't think many players have made it here twice. It doesn't happen too often nowadays. I'm very proud of that."
Jovanovski had played a Sydney semi-final 18 months ago; she becomes the sixth player ranked around 100 or higher to win a WTA title in 2012. The trophy came as she played a main draw for only the third time. "I've worked really hard for this. I had two weeks preparation before this tournament, so I was expecting to play good here. I went to court with nothing to lose. I was so positive and was just trying to fight for every point and not think about win or lose, just to play the point the best I can." She won in just over 90 minutes with five breaks of serve.