Fourth seed Timea Babos served 15 aces and hit no double faults, en route to winning her second-biggest title of her career at the OEC WTA Taipei Challenger, defeating top seed Misaki Doi 7-5, 6-3 in the final.
Coming into this final, it was clear that Doi was the favourite. The world number 60 was on a high. Four weeks ago, she captured her maiden WTA singles crown at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open, and despite losing in the first round of Hua Hin, Doi rebounded nicely with a final appearance in Taipei without dropping a set.
However, Babos didn’t drop a set all week either, and looked to be in great form. With the help of her big serve and groundstrokes, the Hungarian number one was able to power her way past the likes of Stefanie Voegele and Kirsten Flipkens en route to the showpiece.
Babos Captures Taipei Title
On paper, this match was expected to be a cracker — and it was! The opening set was a tight affair with both women served their way out of trouble before Babos made her move at 6-5, breaking her Japanese counterpart to win the opening set 7-5.
The second set was much like the first with both players serving well when they needed to but this time, Babos grabbed a decisive break a couple of games earlier. Leading 5-3, the Hungarian had a chance to serve out the match, which she did so to love, capturing the second-biggest title of her career with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Misaki Doi.
In addition to her serving masterclass, Babos won an impressive 80% of points behind her first serve, and saved all five of Doi’s break points before breaking twice — once in each set — to complete the victory.
“She had some opportunities on my serve, which was pretty unusual for me, because all tournament I didn't lose my serve - that means I won 52 games in a row serving, which was unbelievable for me!” Babos said. “But in the final, it was key that I was able to serve well and stay aggressive. It's never easy to play a lefty, so I'm happy I could play better in the key moments and pull off the match today. It was definitely the closest match of the week for me. I think she played really well.”
Babos’ first and biggest WTA singles title came in the Mexican city of Monterrey three years ago, and she has an impressive résumé on the doubles court, making the semi finals of Wimbledon and the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global this season, all with good friend Kristina Mladenovic.
“This year was a very positive year,” Babos said when reflecting on her season. “My huge breakthrough year in singles was in 2012, when I won my first WTA title, and then the next year and a half was very difficult. But in the last year or two, I’ve really been improving - you can see it in the doubles especially - but I’ve been working really hard to get back to a better level again, and this week is definitely a big one for me, winning here. I’m improving with each practice. Hopefully next year, I can win even bigger matches and trophies.”
Babos also becomes the fifth champion at the WTA $125K-level in 2015, joining Jelena Jankovic, Zheng Saisai, Yaroslava Shvedova and Caroline Garcia who all won tournaments at the same level in the second half of this season. The final WTA $125K-level tournament of the season, held in the Californian city of Carlsbad, will also be the final WTA event of the long and arduous season.