BAD GASTEIN, Austria - Flashback to five years ago - a No.98-ranked up-and-comer who had never even won back-to-back matches at the WTA level stepped onto the clay of picturesque Bad Gastein and found her voice, going all the way to the first WTA title of what would become a fantastic career.
And there definitely were some major battles throughout the week, starting right out of the gates in the first round. In a rematch of this year's Charleston final, Petkovic saved set points in both sets of a razor-thin 7-6(8), 7-5 win over Jana Cepelova; she also had to go to three long sets in the semifinals against Grace Min, eventually edging past the WTA Rising Star from the United States, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
But the No.4-seeded German saved her very best for the final, outdoing another American WTA Rising Star, Shelby Rogers, in a break-filled straight setter in just an hour and 13 minutes, 6-3, 6-3.
Petkovic now has four WTA titles - Bad Gastein in 2009, Strasbourg in 2011, and Charleston and Bad Gastein again this year. This is the first time she has won multiple WTA titles in the same year.
For Rogers it was a very memorable week too. Similarly to Petkovic five years ago, Rogers came into Bad Gastein never having won back-to-back matches at the WTA level, and here she made it all the way to her first WTA final, and after coming out of the qualies, too. Also, she scored the first two Top 20 wins of her career along the way, against top dirtballers Carla Suárez Navarro and Sara Errani.
"I'm definitely feeling the matches - I've played a lot this week - but she played incredible and is always a tough competitor," Rogers said. "I'm still so happy with my whole week, though. I had such a great time here. The fans were amazing too. I had an incredible time here on and off the court.
"It was just an incredible experience this year in Bad Gastein."
Another pair of WTA Rising Stars, the Pliskova twins - Karolina Pliskova and Kristyna Pliskova - won the doubles title, beating Andreja Klepac and María-Teresa Torró-Flor in the final, 4-6, 6-3, 10-6.
This was the Pliskovas' second WTA doubles title together, having conquered Linz last fall. They are still the only twins in the history of women's tennis to capture a WTA doubles title together.
"The final wasn't looking that good for us, we were losing almost the whole time, and we were down 5-0 in the tie-break too," Karolina Pliskova said. "But we were still hoping we could win and we still played every point, and with a little bit of luck we came back and won. So we're really happy.
"It's our second title, and second one in Austria!"