Marie Bouzkova delighted the Czech home crowd by winning the Livesport Prague Open on Sunday, dropping just 3 games against Anastasia Potapova to capture her first career Hologic WTA Tour singles title on the hard courts of the Sparta Club.
The fan support was unreal, ever since the first match. It was really special for me to experience this. I'm so happy that it led to the title. I definitely couldn't have done it without the fans here. Marie Bouzkova
“I’m extremely happy I won right here,” the Czech told the cheering crowd at the WTA 250 event in Prague.
Her 6-0 6-3 victory over the Russian saw Bouzkova become the 5th Czech to win on home soil, joining Karolina Pliskova, Lucie Safarova, Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova on the honour roll.
She did not lose a set in her 5 rounds of matches, and dropped just 26 games in the 10 sets she played.
Bouzkova had been the runner-up in 3 other finals in her career to date, including earlier this year in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she lost to Sloane Stephens.
Each of those finals extended to 3 sets, but there was no threat of that for the 8th-seeded Czech in her 4th, as she won the first 7 games, and broke Potapova’s serve 7 times in 71 minutes in her straight sets rout.
“It’s a dream for me to win my first title here at home,” a beaming Bouzkova said in her victory speech. “I just couldn’t be happier.
“It’s a dream come true, and I enjoyed playing in front of the home crowd so much.”
Potapova was also playing in her 4th final, having claimed her first title in Istanbul, Turkey in April, while, in Prague, she had upset top-seeded World No 2 Anett Kontaveit, 6-1 6-1, in the quarter-finals.
The first game of the final set the tone, though, when the 21-year old 7th seed led 40-15 on her serve but was eventually broken after blowing 2 consecutive game points.
The Russian did not have a game or a break point for the rest of the set, as Bouzkova bagelled her to win the opener in impressive style.
Then, 5 consecutive breaks of serve were seen at the start of the second, leaving the Czech 3-2 up after the opening 5 games.
In the 6th, Bouzkova served out to love to grab the first hold, and then opened up a 4-2 lead when, after losing her first 5 service games, Potapova finally managed to cling onto one, saving a break point in the 7th game, to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Bouzkova, though, served out take a 5-3 lead and, when Potapova was serving to stay in the final, the Czech clinched her 6th break of the match to complete a straight-set win.
Bidding for her 2nd title of the year, Potapova had racked up 44 unforced errors in 15 games, while Bouzkova, effectively, had taken control from the start of the contest, holding off a comeback effort from the Russian, who struck 12 winners across both sets.
“Marie, I mean this week for you was amazing, and I’m very happy for you, the first title at home,” Potapova said. “It’s very sweet, and I’m very happy for you.
“Thank you to my team for the support, I know I’m not an easy girl to play, and let’s see what the future will bring.”
Remarkably, Bouzkova did not strike a single winner in the match, and produced only 8 unforced errors as she recorded her 23rd win on the tour this season, against 10 losses.
“The fan support was unreal, ever since the first match,” Bouzkova said. “It was really special for me to experience this. I’m so happy that it led to the title.
“I definitely couldn’t have done it without the fans here.”
The 24-year old was playing her first event since reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, where she was beaten by the eventual runner-up Ons Jabeur
Entering the tournament ranked No 66, Bouzkova now rises 20 spots to a new career-high of 46 on Monday.
Bouzkova is scheduled to compete at the Citi Open in Washington, where she has been drawn to face Emma Raducanu in the first round.
Meanwhile, Potapova was back on court a few hours later, bouncing back with Yana Sizikova to win the doubles title, the No 4 seeds ousting Angelina Gabueva & Anastasia Zakharova in straight sets, 6-3 6-4.
It is the pair’s second title together, after they triumphed at the Ladies Open Lausanne in 2019.