FILE PHOTO – Tennis – Australian Open – First Round – Court 14, Melbourne, Australia, January 14, 2019. Croatia’s Petra Martic reacts during the match against Britain’s Heather Watson. REUTERS/Edgar Su
(Reuters) – Croatia’s Petra Martic fought back from a set down to beat Marketa Vondrousova 1-6 6-4 6-1 to win her first WTA title at the Istanbul Cup on Sunday.
Martic, 28, took an hour and 49 minutes on center court to beat her 19-year-old Czech opponent who is now yet to beat Martic in four attempts.
Martic, ranked 40 in the world, won her first final on her third attempt while this was Vondrousova’s second loss in a final this season after losing the Hungarian Open final in February.
Vondrousova started the match with a bang, taking a 5-0 lead. But Martic managed to swing the game’s momentum her way with a little help from the crowd.
“You guys kept cheering me on when I thought I had no chance for me to win,” a grateful Martic said. “You kept believing in me and helped me get through this match today.”
Vondrousova had the chance to level the second set at 5-5 and almost broke Martic at 0-40 in the 10th game. But the Croatian saved all three break points and forced the match into the deciding set.
In the end, Martic managed to get the better of her opponent as Vondrousova’s unforced errors count climbed to 37, of which 29 came in the last two sets.
It was a memorable victory for the sixth seed Martic, who feared her career had come to an end two years ago with a back injury and has been working her way up the rankings ever since.
The victory in Istanbul could propel her into the top 32 in the world rankings, which would give her a seed at next month’s French Open.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar