OLBH Tennis Classic Finals

Aleksandra Wozniak returns a volley Sunday afternoon on her way to winning the OLBH Tennis Classic championship against Agnes Szavay.

Aleksandra Wozniak had another week to remember.

The 19-year-old Canadian came to Ashland as the fifth-seeded singles player in the $50,000 Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital Tennis Classic.

She left with the championship, more than $7,000 in prize money and a handful of ranking points that will push her close to becoming one of the world’s top 100 players.

Wozniak, a Montreal resident, cooled off red-hot Agnes Szavay of Hungary 6-1, 7-6 in the finals Sunday afternoon at the Ashland Tennis Center.

“I’m very happy,’’ Wozniak said. “There are so many emotions involved. A week like this improves your confidence. After this, it will be my best ranking ever.’’

Wozniak is certainly on the rise. Her ranking went from 878 at the end of 2003 to 168 heading into this season. She was 127th as of last Monday.

“Aleksandra is a very good player,’’ Szavay said. “She plays good on the hard court. What more can I say?’’

Wozniak’s game spoke for itself. Szavay never managed to hold serve in the opening set as Wozniak rattled off six consecutive games after losing the opener.

Szavay struggled with her serve throughout the match, but found her stride in the second set to build a 5-1 lead before Wozniak dug in and rallied.

She pulled even at 5-5, dropped the next game, but then won a marathon game to force a tiebreaker.

“I got tired in the second set, but kept fighting and played the way I have to,’’ Wozniak said. “I kept believing in myself.’’

Szavay won the first point of the tiebreaker, but Wozniak strung together the next five points and went on to close out the match on another double fault by Szavay.

“Today I was a little tired. I had a great tournament but would be more happy if I won,’’ said Szavay, who won three qualifying matches and four more in the main draw to reach the title match.

Szavay hopes to return to Ashland next year, with a different result.

“I had a great tournament going from the qualies to the finals,’’ she said. “I did my best. I tried everything. Next year, I come back in the main draw and win the championship.’’

Wozniak, who has six pro singles titles, won all five of her singles matches this week in straight sets, including a 6-2, 6-1 victory over top-seeded Laura Granville.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.

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