Royer, Bara Triumph At Nana ITF WTT Heraklion

Valentin Royer (photo: Florian Heer)

HERAKLION, October 29, 2023

Valentin Royer of France and Romanian Irina Maria Bara were crowned champions of the second edition of the Nana ITF World Tennis Tournament Series held at the Nana Golden Beach Resort in Hersonissos, located on the northern coast of Crete, Greece’s largest island.

In the second of a three-week hard-court swing Royer beat Czech teenager Matthew William Donald 6-1, 6-1 in Sunday’s singles final. On a sunny morning, the top seed of the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 event dominated the action right from the beginning. Royer capitalized on six of his seven break-point chances to secure victory in one hour and seven minutes.

“It was a flawless performance,” Royer told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. “Before this week, I struggled a bit with my level. I had some problems switching from clay to hard court, as it’s a more intense game. But I was pretty solid this week and I am very happy.”

The World No. 299 captured his fifth career title on the ITF Pro Circuit, his third of the season following his triumphs in Rabat, Morocco and Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal. “I was in Crete two years ago but it’s my first time in this resort. The facilities are brand new. I’m staying at the five-star hotel here, which is a bit expensive but the venue and the view are amazing. It couldn’t be better to play tennis.”

The 22-year-old Royer will next travel to United Kingdom, competing in a 25K tournament followed by some club matches in France.

Bara bests Mitu

Over on the clay courts, Bara defeated her compatriot and No. 7 seed Andreea Mitu 6-2, 6-1 in the singles final of the ITF World Tennis Tour W25 event. The 28-year-old broke her opponent’s serve six times to prevail after one hour and 24 minutes.

“Even though the scoreboard doesn’t show it, it was a really tough match,” Bara told Tennis TourTalk. “We know each other pretty well. We are both from Romania and we played a few times. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I am a big fighter and I managed to win today.”

Irina Maria Bara, ITF World Tennis Tour, Nana World Tennis Tournament Series

Irina Maria Bara (photo: Florian Heer)

No. 2 seed Begu, who is based in Bucharest and lifted the biggest trophy of her career at the ITF World Tennis Tour W60 event in Istanbul, Turkey in April, earned her 11th career title on the Pro Circuit.

“Every time you win a title is something special. It’s tough to win five matches. The level is high and it’s tough remain consistent. I am really proud to end a season like that.”

The World No. 190 was close to crack the Top 100 in April last year. “I played many WTA tournaments last season, which is very tough. Unfortunately, the results didn’t come and I dropped in the rankings. With the right work and practicing 100 per cent every day it is coming, as you could see today.”

Begu will stay in Crete for another week, competing in the 40K tournament next week.

“I was on holidays in Greece before, but it is my first time in Crete and I will definitely come back after this experience. I played very well this week. I like the conditions and the weather was beautiful. Everything was perfect.”