Carla Suarez Navarro claimed the biggest title of her year at the Qatar Total Open on Saturday, battling back from a set down to defeat Jelena Ostapenko 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Ostapenko, an 18-year-old rising star from Latvia, started like a house on fire, blowing Suarez Navarro away in the first set.
“I started a little bit nervous and she started really good,” the Spaniard said in her on-court interview afterwards. “It’s not easy to play like this, and I lost the first set but I believed, I fought, I run, and finally I won.”
But Suarez Navarro was able to draw on her experience to turn the match around, putting the pressure on her opponent, who started to wilt.
The error count started creeping up for Ostapenko, and though she would finish the match with an impressive 28 winners, she also made a total of 47 unforced errors.
Still, Ostapenko is taking the positives after one of the best weeks of her fledgling career.
“It was a great week for me, and congrats to Carla for such a great match today,” Ostapenko said. “I was just trying to play how I can and show my best; I hope you enjoyed watching me play.
Suarez Navarro added: “This tournament was really tough. The best players in the world were here, and it’s so special. You have to play every day, and it’s not easy.
“But these wins give me a lot of confidence, the experience that I take from this. I’ve lost a lot of finals, so I’m really happy and excited about this tournament.”