TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Kateryna Bondarenko stunned No.2 seed Timea Babos in straight sets to claim the Tashkent Open title, the second WTA title of her career.
No.52-ranked Babos was ranked 81 spots higher than the unseeded Bondarenko, and hadn’t dropped as set all tournament long on her way to the final. But during Saturday’s final, she couldn’t shake off a sluggish start as Bondarenko charged to a 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 26 minutes.
"I was very tired after three matches yesterday, but I told myself it's the last day and I need to give it all I had,” Bondarenko said in her post-match press conference. She played two singles matches and a doubles match yesterday as a result of rain delays.
“The win here means a lot. I was practicing every day, my coach who came with me for last two weeks helped me. I had been a quarterfinalist twice here, so have some experience of playing here - but the draw here was tough with six champions participating.”
The victory not only earns Bondarenko the second WTA title of her career and her first since 2008, but it also puts her back inside the Top 100 after the new rankings are run on Monday.
“I've been here since Wednesday last week practicing, but never thought about the title,” she admitted. “Today, when I was leading, I thought I had a realistic chance to win the title.
“I struggled with my serve in the second set but managed to close the match. I'm truly happy to be back in Top 100 after going out after Wimbledon.”
About half an hour after her loss in the final, Babos took to the court again for the doubles final where, alongside partner Andrea Hlavackova, she got a bit of consolation with the Tashkent doubles title. Babos and Hlavackova defeated No.2 seeds Nao Hibino and Oksana Kalashnikova 7-5, 6-4.
All the winners and runners up were treated to an elaborate ceremony, where they received their trophies as well as beautiful embroidered Uzbek chapans to wear.