The Russian tennis star Veronika Kudermetova has won the first individual title of her career – and her direct victory over the Montenegrin Danka Kovinic would have made her idol, the UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, a proud compatriot.
The 23-year-old claimed she had no expectations for the final in South Carolina, where she won the world’s oldest professional all-women tournament in America with a 6-4, 6-2 win in the final for the grand prize win of around $ 565,000.
Kudermetova, who reached the final at 38, had already defeated former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals, who had previously emerged as the winner in Charleston, and was 53 places ahead of her opponent.
The prospect of huge success never seemed overly concerned as it performed better than its previous final of the year when it defeated world number five, Elina Svitolina, in a run that was only won by Belarusian number seven, Aryna Sabalenka, has ended.
It was a clay court tournament full of stars and Grand Slam champions, but the Volvo Car Open was won by Veronika Kudermetova in 38th place, a slim and powerful Russian who didn’t drop a sentence all week and another underdog, Danka Kovinic, with her 6-1 defeated. 4, 6-2 to win their 1st WTA title pic.twitter.com/Tt6WGsatpI
– Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) April 11, 2021
Kudermetova has said her tennis inspiration is Russian tennis icon Maria Sharapova, but she referred to Nurmagomedov as her heroine ahead of the final.
“Khabib is a tough guy, a real man,” she said, speaking to the WTA on their tennis channel.
“He never misses an opportunity. I think he’s a good person. When he fights, I fully support him, I like him.
“He’s an amazing person, I hope I can be as mentally strong as him. He’s got a nickname – an eagle. I’m often referred to as the black panther.”
After the greatest moment of her early career, Kudermetova now knows how Nurmagomedov felt during some of his greatest nights in his 29-strong undefeated career.
Also on rt.com
“Medvedev is a hero, but the girls also push each other!” Rising star Kudermetova in tennis in Russia