ACAPULCO, Mexico - Down a set and three points away from defeat, defending champion Lesia Tsurenko dug deep to pull off a spectacular comeback against Stefanie Voegele at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC.
The No.7 seed overcame a slow start - and an inspired opponent playing in her maiden WTA final - to notch the 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-2 victory after two hours and 45 minutes, staying undefeated in Acapulco.
“It’s such a special tournament for me, winning here for the second time - this is just an unbelievable feeling for me to be here,” Tsurenko said during the trophy ceremony, where she wore the traditional Acapulco champion’s sobrero. “It was amazing.”
She added to her opponent, “Stefanie, it was an unbelievable match. It was almost three hours, we both were nervy and we were still fighting to the end. Thanks for this match and for this experience.”
The pair opened the final match by trading breaks early in the set, those aforementioned signs of nerves present as Voegele came back to level at 3-3 against Tsurenko.
The Ukrainian’s misfiring serve cost her dearly in the opening set - she struck four double faults in a row to give Voegele the decisive break in the final game. In fact, nine of the ten double faults from Tsurenko’s racquet came in the nervy opening set.
The second set unfolded just as tensely as the first; the pair emerged completely tied after trading breaks three times, with Tsurenko breaking at 5-4 to try and serve to send it to a third set, but Voegele covering the court to bring them back level.
Voegele was three points from victory on her opponent’s serve at 6-5, but Tsurenko stayed steady to send them into the tiebreak. The set - and ultimately, the match - seemed to slip away from the Swiss in the decider, with Tsurenko only getting more and more solid as the tiebreaker went on, allowing just Voegele just two points.
Tsurenko carried the momentum into the final set, quickly building up a daunting 3-0 lead. Despite putting up a herculean effort to get her name on the scoreboard and break back, Voegele couldn’t consolidate against the too-solid Tsurenko. Tsurenko’s progress wouldn’t be stopped, and the Ukrainian reeled off three games in a row to close out the match after nearly three hours on court.
The victory keeps Tsurenko’s yearly WTA title streak alive; after claiming her maiden title at Guangzhou in 2015, the Ukrainian has won one title every year, with a win at Guangzhou in 2016 in addition to her 2017 Acapulco haul.
In the doubles, Heather Watson and Tatjana Maria claimed the Acapulco crown in their first tournament together as a team, taking down American pair Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria. After edging through in the first set, Watson and Maria dominated in the match tiebreak to win 7-5, 2-6, 10-2 in an hour and 31 minutes.