The Russian tennis star Veronika Kudermetova has won the first individual title of her career – and her direct victory over the Montenegrin Danka Kovinic would have made her idol, the UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, a proud compatriot.

The 23-year-old said she had no expectations for the final in South Carolina, where she won the world’s oldest professional all-women tournament in America with a 6-4-26-2 win and the grand prize of around 565,000 US dollar won.

Kudermetova, who took part in the tournament with 38 participants, defeated former US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who had previously won in Charleston, in the quarterfinals and started 53 places ahead of Kovinic.

The prospect of a huge win never seemed overly alarmed as it performed better than its previous final of the year when in Abu Dhabi she defeated world number five Elina Svitolina in a run only ruled by the Belarusian Number seven in the world, Aryna Sabalenka, has ended.

It was a clay court tournament full of stars and Grand Slam champions, but the Volvo Car Open was won by Veronika Kudermetova in 38th place, a slim and powerful Russian who didn’t drop a sentence all week and another underdog, Danka Kovinic, with her 6-1 defeated. 4, 6-2 to win their 1st WTA title

– Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) April 11, 2021

Kudermetova has said her tennis inspiration is Russian tennis icon Maria Sharapova, but she named Nurmagomedov as her heroine ahead of the final.

“Khabib is a tough guy, a real man,” she said, speaking to the WTA on their tennis channel.

“He never misses an opportunity. I think he’s a good person. When he fights, I fully support him, I like him.

“He’s an amazing person, I hope I can be as mentally strong as him. He’s got a nickname – an eagle. I’m often referred to as the black panther.”

After the biggest day of her time in the game to date, Kudermetova now knows how Nurmagomedov felt on some of his biggest nights in his 29-man undefeated career.

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