Suárez Navarro Survives, Wins Doha
Published February 27, 2016 12:15
"I started a little bit nervous and she started really good," she said in her on-court interview. "It's not easy to play like this, and I lost the first set but I believed, I fought, I run, and finally I won."
Ostapenko had beaten the Spaniard in their only prior encounter at last year's Wimbledon Championships, and started in similar form with a nearly flawless first set in her second WTA final, cracking eight forehand winners en route to winning the opening set.
Playing in her 10th career final, Suárez Navarro drew on her wealth of experience and confidence earned from big wins like the one against No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinal, and stayed with the young Latvian as the teenager - already set to join fellow 18-year-olds Belinda Bencic and Daria Kasatkina in the Top 50 - began to leak errors off the backhand (30 from that side alone). In the end, Ostapenko hit 35 winners to only 9 from the No.8 seed, but 47 total unforced errors made the difference from the Spaniard, who only hit 25.
"It was a great week for me, and congrats to Carla for such a great match today," Ostapenko said during the trophy ceremony. "I was just trying to play how I can and show my best; I hope you enjoyed watching me play.
"It's great but it's just the first step," she said of adding to the largest sum of Top 50 teens since April 2009 (Caroline Wozniacki, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sorana Cirstea). "My goal is to be even higher, so I hope I can make it."
For Suárez Navarro, Doha is her second WTA title, one that brings her up to a career-high ranking of No.6, and No.2 on the Road To Singapore standings behind reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber.
"It's amazing, a dream come true. I was in Top 10 last year but not No.6, so it's a special number.
"This tournament was really tough. The best players in the world were here, and it's so special. You have to play every day, and it's not easy.
"But these wins give me a lot of confidence, the experience that I take from this. I've lost a lot of finals, so I'm really happy and excited about this tournament."