ACAPULCO, Mexico - German veteran Tatjana Maria scored her first main-draw victory of the 2020 season in style on Monday at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 upset of No.3 seed Maria Bouzkova.
The World No.90 last won a WTA main draw singles match in October indoors at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open, falling either in qualifying or in the opening round of her first three tour events to start 2020.
However, the 32-year-old had rounded into some form as the calendar inched towards Feburary, as she reached the quarterfinal round of the Oracle Challenger Series event in Houston, a WTA 125 Series event, and won her lone singles match in Germany's 4-0 Fed Cup victory over host Brazil in Florianopolis earlier this month.
On Monday in Mexico, the German earned her victory in two hours and 25 minutes, as she won the last five games of the match from a break down in the final set.
"It feels great. It was a really tough match today. We played long rallies, so I'm really happy that I could win this match in three sets at the end," Maria said after the match.
"For sure, it gives me confidence to win a match like this. I stayed in it, even after I lost the second set, 6-1. It gives me confidence in my game and everything."
Bouzkova looked on course to turn around the opening round encounter on Cancha 4, as she won eight of 10 games played after losing the opener to both win the middle set, and be the first to break in the decider for 2-1.
However, the Czech lost serve three times in the final set, and her struggles on serve were in part due to the 11 double faults that she racked up over the course of the match.
Five of those came in the opener, as Maria scored the break of serve that decided the set in the fifth game, and Bouzkova was unable to convert any of three break point chances that she earned in the set.
The 21-year-old Czech had two opportunities for a 3-1 lead early in the opener, and later let one chance for 5-5 slip away as Maria successfully served out a one-set lead.
Maria ultimately saved seven of 10 break points against her in the match, and lost just two points in two service games to close the match after getting back even in the final set.
"My game today in the second set, I got a little bit less aggressive. I guess that's why it went pretty fast on the other side," Maria assessed.
"In the third set, I stayed more aggressive and we had some really close games, so I'm happy that I could win them."
Up next, the veteran will face another young player in 18-year-old Russian Anastasia Potapova, who battled back from the brink to beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first match on Cancha 4 on Monday. Potapova trailed, 6-4, 4-0, before rallying to win, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
"Potapova, I've played her twice. One time I won and one time I lost. She's a good player, a young player, and she's had some super results," Maria assessed.
"She's aggressive, but I'm really focused on my game and on me, and if I stay aggressive and play my game, it will be a tough match and a tough battle again, so I hope that I'll be ready for it."