Having never won a tour-level match all year outside the four Grand Slams coming into this week, Océane Dodin capped off a dream week at the Coupe Banque Nationale with a dominant 6-4, 6-3 victory over American qualifier Lauren Davis to claim her first WTA singles title in the Québécois capital.
Dogged Dodin Resiliently Recovers from Early Deficit, Draws First Blood
Having been the more dominant player all week, Davis packed quite a punch early with her 5’ 2” stature, making the most of a nervy start for Dodin, whose stunning and somewhat unexpected run in the Québécois final landed her in her first tour-level final. Undoubtedly the more experienced of the two as far as tour-level competition is considered, the American wasted no time in consolidating the early advantage, not intimidated by Dodin’s sheer power off the ground as she quickly mounted a 2-0 lead.
Already finding herself in a spot of bother less than five minutes into the final, the Frenchwoman knew she had to come out of her comfort zone if she were to break new ground, and it didn’t take long for her to hit her stride. Funnily enough, once Dodin began to swing with even more freedom than she did in the opening two games of the match, more of her shots began to land in, catching a flat-footed Davis off guard on numerous occasions. Continuing with this style of play, the world number 132 was beginning to showcase some of the form that won her her first tour-level match outside of the Grand Slams this year, reeling off four games in a row to open up a commanding 4-2 lead, leaving the American qualifier all out of sorts.
Fortunately, Davis knew Dodin could only keep up this form for so long as she patiently waited for the perfect opportunity to pounce, which she did, before consolidating to get back on level terms at four-games-apiece. Remarkably, through it all, the unseeded Frenchwoman remained astonishingly composed, and it was only a matter of time until her persistence was finally rewarded with a third break of serve to close out the opener, 6-4.
Dodin Survives Late Fightback from Davis to Seal Victory, Claim First Tour-Level Title
With the momentum now firmly back in her favour, Dodin showed no signs of slowing down anytime soon, saving a pair of break points en route to jumping out to a commanding set and 3-0 advantage. With the finish line so agonizingly close, yet so far, the fearless Frenchwoman continued to work her way into the forecourt, putting all sorts of pressure on the American, who was covering all sorts of real estate just to make her opponent hit another ball.
With three opportunities to further extend her lead and a set and a double break clear, Dodin admittedly choked from a winning position, allowing Davis to dig her way out of a seemingly improbable hold to get on the board. Given an improbable lifeline back into the match, the American took full advantage, making Dodin rue all of her missed chances in the following game as she would eventually convert her third break point of the game to get back on serve.
Breaks would be exchanged from there until the ninth game, where the 19-year-old was given a golden opportunity to serve for the championship, leading by a set and 5-3. The question was, would she be bold enough to take it?
Initially, it appeared that Dodin seemed to have it all under control as she set up a pair of championship points, but a pair of nervous-looking errors pushed the game to deuce, just moments before Davis created an opportunity to break for the fifth consecutive time. But once she saved that break point, Dodin was all business, making no mistake on her third match point as an errant backhand from Davis clinched her the eighth professional title of her career, but just her first at the WTA tour-level, with a mightily-impressive 6-4, 6-3 victory.