No. 8-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro’s 1-8 record going into the championship of the Qatar Total Open was not inspiring, but the Spaniard nonetheless found a gear to rally from a set down to beat 18-year-old Jelena Ostapenko 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 for her second and biggest title of her career.
“It’s amazing, a dream come true,” said the Spaniard who will rise to a career-high No. 6 on the WTA rankings. “I was in [the] Top 10 last year but not No. 6, so it’s a special number.”
Admitting to a nervous start, Suarez Navarro recorded her career-first win over Ostapenko, who she lost to last year at Wimbledon.
In the semis the Spaniard ousted No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinal, and likewise in the final limited her unforced errors, hitting only 25 to Ostapenko’s 47.
“I was just trying to play how I can and show my best,” said the free-swinging Ostapenko, who had almost four times the winners as Suarez Navarro in the final, and will rise into the Top 50 for the first time. “My goal is to be even higher, so I hope I can make it.”
The former junior Slam winner Ostapenko en route to the final toppled seeds Svetlana Kuznetsova and Petra Kvitova.
Suarez Navarro with the win also rises to No. 2 in the 2016 Road to Singapore standings behind Angie Kerber.
“The best players in the world were here, and it’s so special,” she said. “I’ve lost a lot of finals, so I’m really happy and excited about this tournament.”
Suarez Navarro came close to making it a double in Doha, with Sara Errani losing the doubles final 6-3, 6-3 to the No. 4-seeded Chan sisters of Taipei, Yung-Jan and Hao-Ching, who collected their second title of the year.
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