No.2 seed Sorana Cirstea continued her 2023 resurgence by saving championship point to defeat qualifier Elizabeth Mandlik 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(1) in the Catalonia Open final.

Cirstea came from 5-2 down in the deciding set, saving one match point as she held for 5-5, to claim the WTA 125 title in Reus, Spain. The result marks the Romanian's first singles title since Istanbul 2021.

At the start of March, Cirstea was ranked No.83 and in danger of falling out of the Top 100 without good performances in Indian Wells and Miami. The 33-year-old rose to that challenge and more, reaching the quarterfinals at the former and semifinals at the latter. Along the way, she scored three Top 5 wins - two over Caroline Garcia and one over Aryna Sabalenka.

Cirstea made it to the final without dropping a set, but was pushed all the way by No.147-ranked Mandlik. The 21-year-old American, daughter of four-time major champion Hana Mandlikova, was contesting the first WTA 125 final of her career.

"I started very, very well," said Cirstea afterwards. "But then I was a lot more passive and she played a lot better than her ranking. I think she should be a Top 100 player. As soon as I went back a bit, she started to step in and play good. I had to be smart today to win the match.

"I didn't expect to walk away with the trophy at the start of the week -- I knew it would be a tough field for a 125. But at the same time I had confidence, I knew I was playing well, I'm the second seed. So I was expecting a good run, but a win is the best.

"Match-wise, I think I played my best against Caty McNally this week. But it's special to come from match point down to win."

Cirstea has credited her new outlook on tennis on a fresh coaching partnership with former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson, and she reiterated her optimism about her career ambitions.

"I still have a lot of goals. I can still improve my ranking and do big results, and this is what motivates me. I always felt I could be much better, and as long as I feel this, I will still play."

Catalonia Open

Mandlik breaks through, Yastremska halts slide

A spectacular American summer last year launched Mandlik into the spotlight, including a memorable WTA debut in San Jose and culminating in her first Grand Slam win at the US Open. But then she retreated, compiling just a 7-19 record between Flushing Meadows and the start of this week.

Mandlik turned her form around in style, notching the sixth and seventh Top 100 wins of her career by defeating No.6 seed Jasmine Paolini 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the second round and then home hope Nuria Parrizas Diaz 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. A high-octane semifinal thriller featuring plenty of hard baseline hitting followed as she edged Dayana Yastremska 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to make the biggest final of her career to date.

Despite the loss, it was also a positive week for Yastremska. The 22-year-old Ukrainian notched three main-draw victories for the first time since her emotional run to last year's Lyon final, a week after she was forced to flee her homeland following the Russian invasion.

The former World No.21 opened with an impressive 7-6(5), 6-3 defeat of Sara Sorribes Tormo. She went on to knock out No.1 seed Jil Teichmann 7-5, 7-6(1) in the quarterfinals for her first Top 30 victory since beating Jelena Ostapenko in Birmingham last June.

No.3 seed Lauren Davis also had a strong week, defeating Camila Osorio 6-4, 6-3 en route to the semifinals, where she fell 6-4, 7-5 to Cirstea. The American started 2023 superbly, collecting her second Hologic WTA Tour title in Hobart, but was set back by an abdominal injury that ruled her out of Indian Wells and Miami.

Hunter, Perez claim doubles title

No.1 seeds Storm Hunter and Ellen Perez won their first title above ITF level as a team with a 6-1, 7-6(8) win over No.2 seeds Alexa Guarachi and Erin Routliffe.

Hunter and Perez have both won five WTA titles with five different partners. Together, the Australians were previously runners-up at Istanbul 2020 to Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk, and Charleston 250 2021 to Hailey Baptiste and Caty McNally. Perez was also the Houston 2019 doubles champion at WTA 125 level alongside Luisa Stefani.