Rising American Emma Navarro captured the first Hologic WTA Tour title of her career on Saturday, overcoming two-time champion Elise Mertens 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 to win the Hobart International.

In the first Hobart final between the top two seeds since 1998, it was No.2-seeded Navarro who outlasted No.1 seed Mertens in their first career meeting. Navarro needed a grueling 2 hours and 48 minutes to prevail in the first WTA singles final of her burgeoning career.

The champion speaks: "I don’t know if I could put words to the emotions, but it’s been a lot of years in the making," Navarro said. "My coach and I have been together for eight years, I think. From where we started to now, it’s really crazy to think about.

"Probably six, seven years ago, I was hoping to be a decent college player, and that was going to be good enough for me. So to be here now, it’s really crazy, and I guess just a testament to the work we’ve both put in."

Fast facts: Navarro reaches an new apex in what has already been an incredible rise over the past 12 months. The American was ranked No.149 at this time last year but has since skyrocketed to her current career-high ranking of No.31.

The 22-year-old Navarro reached the Auckland semifinals last week before notching her maiden final and title this week in the Tasmanian capital. She is 8-1 this season heading into 2024's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.

With Saturday's win, Navarro becomes the second straight American to prevail in Hobart, after Lauren Davis won the title last year.

Former World No.12 Mertens, who won back-to-back Hobart titles in 2017 and 2018, suffered a rare loss at this event on Saturday. The Belgian still holds an excellent 15-3 career win-loss record at the tournament.

Key moments: Navarro swept through the first set and was up a break on three separate occasions in the second set. However, Mertens broke back immediately each time, then saved six break points in a gritty hold for 5-4. Mertens took the momentum from that game to break Navarro and level the match at one set apiece.

Navarro also broke Mertens two times in the early stages of the third set, but again, the Belgian stayed within touching distance through 5-5. However, Navarro edged ahead for good by cracking a rally forehand to break for 6-5, and she converted her second match point in the next game with a forehand winner down the line.

Navarro had 39 winners to Mertens' 24 in the final. The American held 19 break points in the showdown and converted eight of those chances.

Looking ahead to Melbourne: Navarro will make her Australian Open main-draw debut next week, and as a seeded player at No.27 to boot. She will face China's Wang Xiyu in the opening round in Melbourne.

As for Mertens, she is seeded No.25 at the upcoming major, where she will meet Egypt's Mayar Sherif in the first round. The 28-year-old Mertens was an Australian Open semifinalist in her 2018 main-draw debut, which came directly after she won her second straight Hobart title.

Chan, Olmos win doubles title: The Hobart International doubles final was contested later on Saturday, where No.2 seeds Chan Hao-Ching and Giuliana Olmos defeated unseeded Guo Hanyu and Jiang Xinyu 6-3, 6-3 for the title.

In the second set, Guo and Jiang battled back from 5-0 down to 5-3, but Olmos pulled together a love hold in the next game to close out the victory after 1 hour and 16 minutes.

It is the 20th career WTA doubles title for Chan, and the sixth WTA doubles title for Olmos. It is their first title as a partnership, having played their first event together just last summer in Washington, D.C.