No.6 seed Emina Bektas eked past No.4 seed Anna Kalinskaya 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(3) in a championship thriller on Sunday to capture the WTA 125 Abierto Tampico title in Tampico, Mexico.
In a final which went down to the wire, it was Bektas of the United States who prevailed after 2 hours and 18 minutes, coming back from a break down in the third set to win the first WTA 125 title of her career.
The whisker-thin victory continues a breakthrough second half of the year for 30-year-old Bektas, who is currently ranked at a career-high No.104 after being ranked as low as No.337 in January.
Bektas made her first Hologic WTA Tour quarterfinal in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in June. She then reached her first tour-level semifinal in Seoul earlier this month before taking the highest-level title of her career in Tampico on Sunday.
Bektas eased through the opening set of Sunday's final without dropping her serve. Kalinskaya fought back to take the second set, although she needed seven set points before she was able to tie up the match at one set apiece.
In the final set, former World No.51 Kalinskaya fired a forehand winner down the line to break for a 3-2 lead. However, Kalinskaya misfired on a long forehand on break point of the next game, and Bektas returned to level footing at 3-3.
Those were the only two breaks of the third set as the pair moved into the decisive tiebreak. From 2-1 down in the breaker, Bektas won five of the next six points, setting up triple championship point at 6-3 with a rally forehand winner.
Bektas only needed one match point to wrap up the title, using a sturdy forehand return to line up another forehand winner.
Saturday's doubles final was won by No.3 seeds Kamilla Rakhimova and Anastasia Tikhonova, who beat No.1 seeds Sabrina Santamaria and Heather Watson 7-6(5), 6-2 in 1 hour and 36 minutes for the title.
It is a maiden WTA 125 doubles title for 22-year-old Tikhonova, and the second WTA 125 doubles title for Rakhimova, also 22. Rakhimova won her previous WTA 125 doubles title in Rouen last year partnering Natela Dzalamidze.