CALI, Colombia - One year after putting herself on the WTA map with her first WTA title in Bogotá, Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino won her first WTA 125K Series title in Cali, winning her last three rounds in straight sets to become the third champion in the new series of events just below WTA-level.
After losing just two games in her first round match, the No.2-seeded Arruabarrena-Vecino survived a 75 46 63 marathon against Alexandra Dulgheru in the second round; but she went on cruise control again from there, winning her quarterfinal and semifinal matches in straight sets and then taking out Colombian veteran and crowd favorite Catalina Castaño in an hour and nine minutes, 63 62.
"I played a very confident match yesterday, and it was the same today - I felt very complete out there," Arruabarrena-Vecino said afterwards. "Catalina was on the court much more this week and did very well in the doubles too, so maybe she was a little bit tired. I was definitely fresher. I knew it was going to be a difficult match so I was prepared, and I believe I did everything very well today.
"I played very well the whole week and I'm very happy how everything turned out this tournament."
Castaño had won the doubles titles the day before with another Colombian, Mariana Duque-Mariño.
"It was an excellent week for me," Castaño said. "I'm a bit sad I didn't win today, but this result gives me a lot of hope for the season. I just have to take the good things from this week and hope I can continue like this. Lara played very well every point today - I'll go back and work hard again."
Both Arruabarrena-Vecino and Castaño will head over to Bogotá for the WTA-level event this week.
The Copa Bionaire was the third event in the new WTA 125K Series, the first two coming last fall at the OEC Taipei WTA Ladies Open in Taipei, Chinese Taipei (won by French teenager Kristina Mladenovic) and the Royal Indian Open in Pune, India (won by Ukrainian teenager Elina Svitolina).