Carla Suarez Navarro finished a great week at the Qatar Total Open on Saturday morning with a comeback victory over Jelena Ostapenko 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 51 minutes to win her second career title.
Ostapenko comes out the gates on fire
Little did Jelena Ostapenko know that she would be playing in the finals of the Qatar Total Open a week ago. Her opponent, Carla Suarez Navarro, was a familiar foe from last year’s Wimbledon when Ostapenko took the match 6-2, 6-0. The match started out in the Latvian’s favor as she raced to a 2-0 lead.
All looked well as she continued to dominate from the baseline to break at love and left Suarez Navarro in awe. The 18-year-old denied the Spaniard of a break in the fourth game with a backhand down the line winner. A lucky net cord winner gave the eight seed her first game of the match, and only her third all-time game again Ostapenko. The hold at love sparked a possibility at some kind of fight from Spanish veteran.
Young Gun handles nerves to take the first set
Despite the nine year age difference and lack of experience from the youngster, she seemed pretty comfortable on the Center Court. With not just her power from the baseline showing through, Ostapenko took the first set 6-1. The set was ended with a forehand error off the racquet of Suarez Navarro. It seemed as if a repeat of their only previous meeting last June was brewing.
Emotions play a role in the second set
The beginning of the second set kicked off with 6 straight holds of serve. The world number 11 was the first to break after the Latvian sailed a short backhand long. Signs of frustration showed from Ostapenko, and a gesture towards her player’s box described her emotions. The Riga, Latvia native bounced back by starting the game off with a huge down the line forehand winner. Suarez Navarro proceeded by consolidating the break and taking a 5-3 lead in the second set. A solid service game by Ostapenko followed but an in-form Spaniard held her nerve to close out the set on her third set point after a nerve-racking deuce game.
Hard faugh third set crowns a deserving champion
The third set began in the Latvian’s favor yet again as she took a 2-0 lead. Errors began to seep into Ostapenko’s game as Suarez Navarro embarked on another comeback. A love hold gave Suarez Navarro a 4-2 lead and the match suddenly turned around. A deuce game with ups and downs, went in the favor of the Latvian and it gave Ostapenko hope to get back into the match.
Although she was still down a break, she broke the Spanish number two, four times already. But once again the Spaniard’s forehand came up strong to hold and take a 5-3 lead. A repeat of the second set, with Ostapenko holding a solid game of service to put the pressure on Suarez Navarro. On her second championship point, the eighth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro birthed the biggest title of her career yet.
Moving onwards and upwards
Both players battled out on the court for an hour and 51 minutes during the emotional final. Despite Ostapenko winning six more points than Suarez Navarro, it came down to who could execute in the deep parts of the match. The Latvian outnumbered the Spaniard in aces five to none and in doubles faults five to two. They will both increase to a career-high ranking and have confidence going into Indian Wells and Miami.