Jelena Ostapenko didn't enter the Qatar Total Open with high aspirations; two out of the main draw, the 18-year-old Latvian just wanted to win a match in qualifying before finding herself in the main draw.
"I was trying to improve," she said. "First, it was like second round of quallies, and I was just really happy that I got main draw.
"On the first match, I was just trying to play my best tennis. Match by match, I played better and better."
An understatement from the typically understated Ostapenko, who earned back-to-back wins over a pair of former World No.2s Svetlana Kuznetsova and Petra Kvitova en route to the second and biggest final of her career. Up a set against Carla Suárez Navarro, she showed off effortless power and gritty resilience through three sets, but ultimately fell to the experienced Spaniard.
Still, it was an impressive week for the Latvian, who jumps up to a career-high ranking of No.41 and joins fellow 18-year-olds Belinda Bencic (No.8) and Daria Kasatkina (No.46) to become the largest cohort of youngsters since April of 2009 (Caroline Wozniacki, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sorana Cirstea).
"It's great but it's just the first step," she said during the trophy ceremony. "But my goal is to be even higher, so I hope I can make it."
Final Results for February's WTA Breakthrough Performance Of The Month
2016 Breakthrough Player Of The Month
How it works:
Finalists are selected by wtatennis.com
Winner is then determined by a fan vote on wtatennis.com