No.5 seed Marina Bassols Ribera lifted the first WTA 125 trophy of her career at the Zavarovalnica Sava Ljubljana after defeating Zeynep Sonmez 6-0, 7-6(2) in a 1-hour, 20-minute final.
The 23-year-old Spaniard was contesting the second WTA 125 final of her season, having been runner-up to Mayar Sherif in Valencia in June. In Ljubljana, No.132-ranked Bassols Ribera was two points from defeat in the first round, but managed to survive the challenge of 18-year-old Serb Lola Radivojevic 1-6, 6-1, 7-6(5).
Thereafter, Bassols Ribera motored through the rest of the draw without losing another set, scoring wins over Sapfo Sakellaridi, Lucija Ciric Bagaric, Miriam Bulgaru and finally Sonmez.
However, she was made to work hard to quell an attempted fightback from Sonmez after a one-sided opening set. The 21-year-old has had a career-best season so far, rising from No.345 at the end of 2022 to her current No.177. She made her tour-level debut after qualifying for 's-Hertogenbosch in June and, playing her first WTA 125 final, was bidding to take home the biggest title by a Turkish woman since Cagla Buyukakcay won Istanbul 2016.
Sonmez made a nervy start, winning just 10 points and leaking backhand errors throughout a 21-minute first set. A half-chance to get a foothold in the match went begging at the start of the second as she squandered four break poins to level at 2-2 from 2-0 down, and instead Bassols Ribera leapt out to a 4-1 lead.
Only at this point did Sonmez start swinging freely, winning four straight games to lead 5-4. Bassols Ribera served for the match at 6-5, but Sonmez came up with a pair of spectacular backhands down the line to save a pair of championship points and force the tiebreak.
But it was Bassols Ribera, who had been rock-solid off the ground throughout, who showed more focus to dominate the closing passage of play. A smart counter-drop brought up her third championship point, and she converted as another Sonmez backhand went long.
Zidansek makes semis on home soil, Kawa stuns Schmiedlova
No.4 seed Tamara Zidansek, the champion at the Bari WTA 125 event the previous week, extended her winning streak to eight on home soil to reach the semifinals. The Slovenian dropped just one game across her first two matches, then battled past No.8 seed Erika Andreeva 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in 2 hours and 48 minutes in the quarterfinals. Zidansek's run was halted 6-2, 6-3 by Sonmez in the last four -- the first Top 100 win of the Turk's career.
No.251-ranked Katarzyna Kawa scored the biggest upset of the tournament by knocking out No.1 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5, 6-2 in the second round. Kawa, the 2019 Jurmala runner-up, notched her first Top 100 win since 2021 with the result.
Croatian teenager Ciric Bagaric also dealt out a second-round upset, ousting No.2 seed Aliona Bolsova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 to reach her first WTA 125 quarterfinal. The 19-year-old has won 16 of her past 21 matches dating back to July, including a first ITF W25 title in Koge, Denmark and two further ITF W25 finals in Parnu, Estonia and Bistrita, Romania.
Anshba, Gleason take home doubles title
Playing as a team for the first time, No.3 seeds Amina Anshba and Quinn Gleason both claimed their maiden WTA 125 title with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of No.4 seeds Freya Christie and Yuliana Lizarazo in the final.
Both Anshba and Gleason had been runners-up at both WTA 250 and WTA 125 level before. Anshba reached her first tour-level final at Palermo 2022 alongside Panna Udvardy; subsequently, she was a finalist this year at both Contrexéville 125 and Lausanne with Anastasia Detiuc. Gleason had previously made the 2022 Montevideo 125 and the 2023 Prague finals alongside Elixane Lechemia.