The breakthrough week for Maria Timofeeva at the Hungarian Grand Prix ended with her hoisting the championship trophy after a unique run to the title.
Timofeeva, ranked No.246, captured the title in Budapest with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 win over 100th-ranked Kateryna Baindl on Sunday. The 19-year-old needed just over two hours to outlast Baindl and emerge the champion in her very first WTA main-draw showing.
The teenager almost missed this week's main draw entirely, having fallen in the final qualifying round to Anna Siskova after losing a third-set tiebreak. But Timofeeva got a second chance as a lucky loser, and she took that opportunity all the way to the title.
"This is all very new to me, and it feels like a dream, because normally I shouldn't be here, but here I am," Timofeeva said on court during the trophy presentation. "I'm just so happy and thankful."
Fast facts: Timofeeva becomes the first lucky loser to win a Hologic WTA Tour singles title since another teenager did it four years ago -- Coco Gauff, who won 2019 Linz as a 15-year-old lucky loser.
It was even longer ago that a player won the singles title in their debut WTA main-draw showing. Before Timofeeva, the most recent player to pull off that feat was Serbia's Olga Danilovic, who won the title in her first WTA main-draw appearance at the 2018 Moscow River Cup -- also as a lucky loser.
Among the other women who won the title in their first WTA main-draw appearance include former World No.1 players Tracy Austin (1977 Portland) and Justine Henin (1999 Antwerp).
However, Timofeeva is not the lowest-ranked player to win a title this year. That honor goes to Elina Svitolina, who was ranked No.508 when she won this season's Strasbourg title.
Match moments: Timofeeva saved three break points during an early hold for 3-3, then used that momentum to grab the one-set lead, taking the final four games of the opening frame.
But Baindl struck back by earning the only break of the second set at 2-2, and eventually leveled the match at one set apiece, notching the last two games of that set at love.
However, Timofeeva broke in the opening game of the deciding set, closing out that game with a forehand winner after denying Baindl two game points. That turnaround opened the floodgates as the teen raced to the bagel and collected her maiden trophy.
Timofeeva never faced a break point in the final set, where she also won 68 percent of points returning the Baindl first serve.
Doubles final: Hungary did end up with a champion this week on home soil, as Budapest native Fanny Stollar teamed with Poland's Katarzyna Piter to defeat Jessie Aney and Anna Siskova 6-2, 4-6, [10-4] for the doubles title.
In an all-unseeded final, Piter and Stollar triumphed after 88 minutes by winning seven of the final eight points of the match.
It marks Piter's second WTA doubles title, and her first in 10 years. She previously won 2013 Palermo alongside Kristina Mladenovic.
For Hungarian hope Stollar, it is her third WTA doubles title, and her second of those in Budapest. She also won her home event in 2021 with Mihaela Buzarnescu.