ITF $50K Toronto: Top Seed Tatjana Maria Defeats Jovana Jaksic, Wins Tevlin Challenger
Tatjana Maria pictured with her daughter Charlotte and her new trophy. (Photo credit: Max Gao)

ITF $50K Toronto: Top Seed Tatjana Maria Defeats Jovana Jaksic, Wins Tevlin Challenger

Number one seed Tatjana Maria defeated red-hot Jovana Jaksic in straight sets to capture the 2015 Tevlin Challenger title, the 13th ITF title of her career.

Max Gao

Top seed Tatjana Maria capped off a stellar week in the capital of Ontario, Canada, defeating Jovana Jaksic 6-3, 6-2 to capture the $50,000 ITF event held in Toronto. Coming into this match, Maria had yet to drop a set all week and Jaksic was on a nine-match winning streak.

On paper, this was supposed to be an entertaining and high-quality showpiece after another successful week of tennis at the Tevlin Challenger, but the German powered her way to a straight sets win with some masterful shotmaking and big serves. With this win, Maria will rise six spots in the rankings on Monday, to world number 68 in the world — six places off her career high of number 62 in the world.

Maria Grabs Decisive Break to Clinch the Opening Set

The match began with both players having some great exchanges from the back of the court. Judging by the early exchanges, Jaksic was looking to be as aggressive as possible, while Maria was looking to use her high top spin ground strokes and backhand slice to give her Serbian counterpart different looks. After exchanging holds in the first five games of this final, it was the top seed who was able to draw first blood, breaking at the first time of asking to go up a 4-2 lead.

That break proved to be decisive as both women held their service games for the rest of the opening set, and Maria managed to serve out the opening set at love to go a set clear in this final. Despite not playing badly, Jaksic made too many unforced errors when she was under pressure, which eventually gave Maria chances to edge in front, to which the German took without hesitation.

Maria Runs Away With the Second Set, Wins 13th ITF Singles Title

The second set was a more one-sided affair, despite Jaksic’s best efforts. After exchanging holds of serve to begin the second set, Maria broke her Serbian counterpart’s serve for a second time to open up a sizeable set and a break advantage. Now in the driver’s seat, the top seed continued her march to another ITF singles title as she consolidated the break to go up 3-1. The German was using her slice backhand beautifully and was making Jaksic generate all of the pace.

Given the Serb’s aggressive playing style, she missed far too many shots while attempting to return Maria’s devilish backhand slices. Jaksic’s natural game is to hit flat but since she was constantly returning slices, she had to hit with more spin and higher net clearance. As a result, she was playing right into Maria’s hands. Despite holding serve in the following game to keep the deficit to just one break, you could just begin to sense that Jaksic was starting to fade away after an intense last two weeks of tennis in Canada.

Surely enough, Maria was beginning to run away with this match. After another impressive hold of serve, the German number nine was able to break once more with the backhand slice that seemed to give her the edge over a tired Jovana Jaksic with no answers. Now leading a set and 5-2, Maria was in prime position to claim the title now. Less than 90 seconds later, the top seed had given herself three championship points.

It turned out, she would need all three because in the end, it was Tatjana Maria who was able to get the better of Jovana Jaksic after converting her third championship point. As she raised her arms in triumph, the 28-year-old looked delighted given the way she played this final and how well she has played on the indoor courts of Toronto all week. Maria didn’t drop a set all-tournament and didn’t even face a single break point in this final against an opponent who was coming in with a nine match winning streak.

Maria: “This Title Means A Lot To Me”

“I knew before the match with my slice I would have a good chance to win,” Maria said to Bob Larson’s Tennis News after the match. “I don’t think she liked my game so much. But it was really a tough match also, it was 3 and 2 but the score sounds easier than it was.”

“This title means a lot to me because I started the year really well,” said the 28-year-old who won the $100,000 event in Midland this past February, beat Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard — when the Canadian was still in the top 10 — this past March, and made the third round of Wimbledon this past July.

“I have a good ranking now, it is amazing what I’ve done since coming back after having my baby. I’m happy that I won this tournament because the last few weeks, it was a little bit harder for me and I didn’t have many good results. So it is really nice to win this week, it’s really special to me.”