Francesca Curmi maintained her rise in international tennis when yesterday she became the first Maltese player to break into the Women Tennis Association Top Pro 500 rankings, placing 490.
Furthermore, she has also broken into the top 100 in the under-21 rankings
Training full time in Barcelona, under the tutelage of coach Albert Portas, Curmi’s rise in 2022 has been truly remarkable. She improved her professional world ranking by 675 places since January, starting at number 1,167 and ending October at 490 – one of the fastest climbers on the female pro circuit.
This year, to date, she played 46 international matches with a win-to-loss ratio of nearly 70 per cent.
Curmi has written Maltese tennis history more than once this year by being the first Maltese player to win professional tournaments in both singles and doubles competitions.
So far in 2022, Curmi has competed in 21 international tournaments. Her current ranking now allows her to compete in tournaments that range from W15 (prizemoney of US$15,000) to W100 (prizemoney of US$100,000).
She won two Singles W15 professional tournaments in Monastir, Tunisia in June and an ITF W25 Doubles professional tournament in Vigo, Spain in partnership with her Maltese counterpart Elaine Genovese in August.
In June, Curmi and Genovese also managed to win an historic silver medal for Malta at the Mediterranean Games in Oran – managing to beat the highly-ranked Italian couple of Nuria Brancaccio and Aurora Zantedeschi in the semi-final.
Curmi’s key distinguishing feature has been her consistency throughout this season.
Indeed, apart from the above successes, she had a consistent trend of wins in a number of other prestigious tournaments, reaching their latter stages
even if not necessarily the final beating players that are sometimes ranked 200 WTA places ahead of her.
In the last six months, she reached the final of another W15 professional tournament in Tunisia in April, the semi-finals of a W15 tournament in Spain in May, and the quarter finals in a W25 tournament in Belgium in August.
Now she is also managing to hold her own in increasingly competitive international tournaments, such as W60 and W100 where the competition is becoming ever more intense.
In these tournaments she had the honour of crossing swords with some top international female tennis players, beating in the process players of the calibre of Portuguese Fed Cup player Francisca Jorge (world ranked 309) and Austrian Barbara Haas (best world ranking number 133).
She recently also managed to provide a stern challenge to French player Chloe’ Paquet (ranked 113th in the world) to two tie-breakers and Russian Kamilla Rakhimova (world ranked 100), where Curmi only conceded the match in three sets.
As Curmi continues to strive to advance further in the international tennis rankings, the level of competition becomes ever harder, requiring her to be ever more on her toes to continue to progress.
The prize money she earned this year, together with some backing from the sports’ authorities, helps towards the costs of travel, accommodation, coaching and physical preparation.
However, Curmi will require more backing from sponsors if she is to continue with such progress. The fact that she had been climbing the rankings so quickly shows that she has the potential to continue this trend for some time.
If this year’s efforts and results are anything to go by, aged just 20 and with her work ethic, this year’s achievements provide an excellent launch pad and encouragement for further progress next season. Hopefully she will receive the backing that will allow her to reach her full potential.
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