ISTANBUL, Turkey – Patricia Maria Tig saw seven championship points come and go before sealing her first WTA Tour level title thanks to a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) victory over qualifier Eugenie Bouchard at the TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Championship Istanbul.
Twice the Romanian was a break up in the decider and had three match points on her own serve before crafting three more in succession on the Bouchard delivery. The Canadian, who had battled back from 1-4, 15-40 down, batted each of them off to force a tiebreak, but that proved a bridge too far as the WTA World No.88 prevailed after two-and-a-half hours.
Prior to the thrilling conclusion, the match had been one of extremes. The opening set was dominated by the WTA World No.272, before a rapid turn of fortunes in the second, which was controlled by the Romanian.
Tig, who had been the tournament’s dominant player prior to the final, dropping only 20 games and not a single set all week, seemed to have the decider in hand before Bouchard’s astonishing rally yet found the mental resources to secure the win.
“’m really happy and excited about my performance,” she said, before reflecting on how she coped with missing so many points to see the match.
“I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong on the match. On each match point, I was trying to do better.
“She played amazing. We both fought for every point, it was a really great match.”
It was Bouchard came out firing at the start of the match. She set the tone of the opening set by crunching a crosscourt winner on the very first point and was unrelenting for a brilliant spell that lasted half an hour.
Indeed, the Canadian won the first seven points of the match and claimed the first three games by dropping only a couple of points, while she hit with tremendous accuracy and no little power.
Although Tig started to get a grip on the match in the middle part of the opening set as she began to become more effective on serve, Bouchard was entirely untroubled as she leaked only five points on serve in the whole of the opening set.
A set point arrived after 36 minutes when she delivered a winner that dusted the line, and the frame was rapidly sealed as Tig netted.A set point arrived after 36 minutes when she delivered a winner that dusted the line, and the frame was rapidly sealed as Tig netted.
“I fought for every point in every way I could,” she said of her recovery. “I think it’s very difficult to maintain that high a level during the whole match and I knew that if I was going to be there, and fight for every point, it would get better. It did and I’m really happy about it.”
The tide started to turn at the beginning of the second set, which would be the polar opposite to the first as Tig became more aggressive and Bouchard began to misfire. After a couple of deuces, the 26-year-old took the ascendancy by winning her first break point of the match.
Bouchard had two chances to hit back in the fourth game and her failure to do so would weigh heavy. Tig gained an insurance break to love in the very next game and thereafter only grew in confidence, running away with the second set in 38 minutes thanks to four successive games.
Building from this momentum, the Romanian held to love at the start of the decider and was again ruthlessly efficient when given a break-point chance to put one hand on the trophy.
Although Bouchard stopped a run of seven games against her with a hard-fought hold, Tig’s purple patch continued as she found the sideline to move 4-1 clear.
Bouchard’s recovery from two break points down in the following game set the stage for a dramatic conclusion, but in the end she left herself with too much ground to make up.
Having suffered disappointment in her two previous finals, Tig closed the match out as Bouchard netted, and she can look forward to surpassing her previous career-best spot of World No.80 when the ranking is released.
“I’ve thought about it for a very long time,” she said. “It will help me to play bigger tournaments and get on the main Tour directly, so it’s very helpful. I’m happy I could do it here, it’s been a special tournament for us.”