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Pera Tops Kontaveit for Second Straight Title, Dedicates Win to Fallen Coach

HAMBURG, GERMANY – JULY 23: (EDITOR’S NOTE: Image has been digitally enhanced) Bernarda Pera of the USA celebrates winning the singles final during day eight of the Hamburg European Open 2022 at Rothenbaum on July 23, 2022 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images)

Disarming drives and devotion to a fallen friend fuel Bernarda Pera’s career-altering flight.

Today, a streaking Pera soared past world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-4 in the Hamburg European Open final to land her second straight WTA title.

It is Pera’s 12th consecutive victory—she’s rolled through 24 straight sets playing the most dynamic tennis of her career.

Six days after Pera claimed her maiden title in Budapest as a qualifier, she swept her second in Hamburg without surrendering a set scoring her second career Top 10 win in the process.

This victory vaults Pera to a career-high ranking of No. 55 in the live rankings. The most prolific winning streak of Pera’s career comes after she faced painful personal loss.

Last April, Kristijan Schneider, who coached Pera and Borna Coric among other players, died of cancer at age 41.

In today’s trophy presentation, Pera paid beautiful tribute to her departed coach and mentor.

“The tennis community has lost a coach a friend and mentor in April,” Pera told Hamburg fans. “His name was Kristijan Schneider. I was lucky enough to be coached by him. I want to dedicate this trophy to him and his memory.

“I hope I can bring at least a little bit of his shine and passion and drive into the world.”

Coach Schneider would be smiling with pride at the resilience Pera has shown.

This winning streak came after Pera spiraled in a five-match losing streak. Taming her heavy drives and playing with more control and clarity helped her defuse the top-seeded Kontaveit, who has reunited with her former coach, Torben Beltz.

Playing with taping wrapping her left thigh, Pera was moving quickly and striking crisply from the outset. Pera broke in the opening game and backed up the break with a deuce hold for a 2-0 lead.

The 27-year-old American’s topspin forehand was the most menacing shot on the court and Pera used it to take charge of rallies. Pera pounded successive diagonal forehands for break point and ripped a forehand return for the second break and a 5-2 lead.

Wild card Kontaveit tried to keep the ball away from the left-hander’s forehand, but was sometimes forced to reply hitting off her back foot in the opening set.

Pera served 76 percent and won 84 percent of her first-serve points without facing a break point in the opener. It was her 23rd consecutive set and Pera showed no signs of slowing down.