One To Watch is a series in which Blacklabel Tennis introduces fans to some of the newer and lesser known players with significant potential, today's One To Watch is Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino
Name: Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino
Hometown: San Sebastian, Spain
Current World Rank: #105
Tour Level Titles: 1
Signature Win: def. Alexandra Panova (RUS) 6-2, 7-5 Final, Bogota, XX Copa BBVA Colsanitas
(More after the jump...)
Lost amid the continuing strong play of World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, was a first WTA tour title for Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino in the XX Copa BBVA Colsanitas at Bogota, Colombia. The tournament was played on red clay at altitude (Bogota being 8,600 feet above sea level) but the conditions proved perfect for the 19-year old Spaniard. The win gave some further altitude to Arruabarrena-Vecino's ranking as she climbed from 174th to a new career high of 105th in the WTA rankings. This move continues her upward trajectory, as she finished 2010 ranked just inside the WTA's top 400.
Arruabarrena-Vecino's win was aided by a decimated draw, none of the top eight seeds reached the quarterfinal and the only one the Spaniard faced was eighth-seeded Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, who would be the only player to take a set off Arruabarreina-Vecino in the all-spellcheck battle of the week. While her tour level results to date have been nothing to speak of (she fell in the first round of qualifying for the Australian Open) she has been a consistent force in challenger events winning eleven ITF singles titles (out of twelve finals) including two last year.
While the Spanish men (The Armada) have been a powerhouse of late, the Spanish women have faltered in recent years, leading to a short-lived boycott of the Fed Cup by Spanish players protesting "the general apathy shown by the Federation toward women's tennis in recent years." Now, with those wounds healed and four-time major champion (and child star broke) Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario leading the Spanish Fed Cup team, perhaps the team have found another option in the now No. 6 Spaniard.