After capturing the doubles title on Saturday, Anna Blinkova has added the Oracle Challenger Series New Haven women’s singles crown to her trophy collection for the week.
On a chilly Sunday morning at the Yale Tennis Center, 20-year-old Anna Blinkova achieved something no one else has ever done throughout the history of the Oracle Challenger Series. After taking home the doubles crown alongside partner Oksana Kalashnikova on Saturday, she downed American Usue Maitane Arconada to add the singles trophy to her titles for the week. The Russian becomes the first ever participant to achieve the lofty feat at a single event.
It was no easy road for Blinkova, who traversed an especially tough field in singles to capture the New Haven title. After a first round bye, she downed a row of worthy competitors in Mayo Hibi, Christina McHale, Jennifer Brady and Lauren Davis before the finals. While the Russian has won doubles titles before, her victory in New Haven is the inaugural WTA singles win of her career.
In Sunday’s final, Blinkova put it all together in straight set 6-4, 6-2 fashion. While Arconada fought valiantly to stay in the match, she was never truly within striking distance. A thunderous serve kept her in front of the American throughout the contest, finishing off rallies with a mix of backhands down the line, pinpoint forehand winners and more.
As the week went on, it became clear that the Russian felt right at home in New Haven. “The whole tournament was so great; between the conditions, organization, courts to practice on and the city. I just really loved playing here.” Although she lives thousands of miles away near her hometown of Moscow, we’ll likely be seeing her back in New Haven after the unprecedented success of her week.
Blinkova’s duo of titles is the perfect cap on her summer to remember, which has included other notable performances like her first-round matchup against then World No. 1 Naomi Osaka. While she ultimately fell to the Japanese star, few could have predicted her taking a set off of the feared Osaka. After her win in New Haven, she attributed much her sublime play to that match in Flushing Meadows. “I fought well in that match and that made me feel like I could beat these top players. Even though I lost, it gave me confidence moving forward.”
To make her week even better, Blinkova is just a few days away from celebrating her 21st birthday. “What can be better than this, I’ve given the best birthday gift to myself and I’m just so happy with how this all worked out.”
In many more ways than one, congratulations are in order for Anna Blinkova.