American Lauren Davis ended a six-year title drought on Saturday at the Hobart International with a straight-sets win over Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto for her second career Hologic WTA Tour singles crown.
Davis triumphed 7-6(0), 6-2 in an all-unseeded final after saving two set points in the opening set to add another January trophy to her career cabinet. Her first-ever title came in 2017 at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.
Davis joins three other Americans to win in Hobart since the tournament's inception in 1994: Chanda Rubin (1999), Amy Frazier (2004) and Sofia Kenin (2019). She's also the fourth qualifier to win the trophy, after Mona Barthel (2012), Garbiñe Muguruza (2014) and Elise Mertens (2017).
Words from the winner: While it was a long road for Davis to get back to the winner’s circle, her path to a crowning moment was equally winding since she first arrived in Tasmania more than a week ago.
A former Top 30 player, Davis came to Hobart ranked No. 84 and was seeded No. 11 in the qualifying tournament. She didn’t lose a set in seven matches.
“I have a lot of emotions going through my body right now,” Davis said after the match. “I’m just really happy, really excited. I really had to play my best in order to win today."
Thanking her coach Edward Elliot and the family who’d been supporting her from the U.S. over late nights and early mornings in the last 10 days, she added: “We’ve put in so much time and so much hard work and effort, and it’s such a fulfilling feeling to have all the hard work pay off. … [Hobart] feels like home to me, and I’ll be coming here for the rest of my career for sure.”
Turning point: The two players combined to save six break points in the first 11 games of what was eventually an 73-minute opening set. Davis denied Cocciaretto two chances to win the set in the 12th game before running through the tiebreak without the loss of a point;
She later won the first five games of the second set, losing just nine points, but needed the cushion she built to serve the match out after Cocciaretto won back-to-back games and eight straight points.
“She’s an incredible fighter," Davis said. "I knew she wouldn’t give me an edge at all so I knew coming in that I would have to play my best, really just show up for each and every point and do a good job of maintaining my emotions.”
Stat of the championship: Davis lost a total of 43 games in 14 sets. That included a 6-2, 6-2 win over fellow American and No.4 seed Sloane Stephens in the opening round of the main draw.
Cocciaretto also beat a pair of seeds to reach her first career Hologic WTA Tour singles final. She knocked off No.3 seed Alizé Cornet of France in Round 1, and sixth-seeded American Bernarda Pera in the quarterfinals. She saved two match points against Pera in a 5-7, 7-6(8), 6-4 victory.
Doubles delight: No.1 seeds Kirsten Flipkens and Laura Siegemund took the Hobart International doubles title later on Saturday, defeating unseeded Viktorija Golubic and Panna Udvardy 6-4, 7-5 in 1 hour and 31 minutes.
Flipkens and Siegemund have recently been a winning combination, also taking the title together in Cluj-Napoca at the end of last year. Hobart marks the seventh career doubles title for Flipkens and the 10th career doubles title for Siegemund.