World No.5 Jessica Pegula saved five championship points to win her first Hologic WTA Tour title of the year and first of her career on grass. On Sunday, Pegula came back from the brink to defeat No.24 Anna Kalinskaya 6-7(0), 6-4, 7-6(3) in the final of the ecotrans Ladies Open. 

"I knew I could play well on this surface and giving myself a couple of extra weeks on grass clearly paid off," Pegula said. "I played some really good tennis this week and I feel like I beat some really good girls, especially on grass. To be able to gut out a win like that is cool."

Berlin: Draws | Schedule | Scores

Berlin is Pegula's fifth career title and first since winning 2023 Seoul. The victory came in just the second tournament of her comeback from the rib injury that forced her out of the European clay-court season. 

'You do freak out a bit': Pegula back and ready to grind after injury scare

"Jess, you're such a fighter, it's nice to see you back on tour," Kalinskaya said on court. "Couldn't wish for a better comeback.

"If we played like this against each other every time, I would be happy for both of us."

Watch: Pegula saves five championship points to win Berlin

Championship Sunday began with an efficient performance from Pegula, who resumed her suspended semifinal match against top seed Coco Gauff to win four of five points and win 7-5, 7-6(2). The victory, her first Top 10 win of the year, boosted Pegula into her first final of the season and first grass-court final of her career. 

Pegula won her only prior meeting against Kalinskaya, a three-set effort at the 2019 Citi Open. In the second meeting between them, Kaliskaya quickly fell behind 3-0 in the opening set before taking an off-court medical timeout. When play resumed Kalinskaya dialed into her first-strike tennis to slowly claw herself back in the match. Pegula served for the set at 5-3, but Kalinskaya's laser-like returns continued to unsettle the American and she was broken. 

Pegula's frustration boiled over in the tiebreak, as Kalinskaya coolly rolled through seven perfect points to complete her comeback.

Pegula struck back to force a decider, and came from 4-1 down in the third set to level the match at 4-4. The American looked on her way to a surge to the finish line. With Kalinskaya serving at 4-4, Pegula held triple break point for a chance to serve out the win. But Kalinskaya unleashed a series of forehand blasts to wipe away Pegula's chances -- four break points in total --and move ahead at 5-4.  

Pegula showed her gritty baseline mentality to fend off four Championship Points to hold to 5-5 and then saved another as she served to force the deciding tiebreak. There, with the help of a pitch-perfect lob, Pegula's superior rally tolerance won the day. She won the last five points of the match to seal the win after 2 hours and 38 minutes. 

"This is the most grass-court confidence that I've had probably going into Wimbledon. Hopefully that pays off as well. Being able to tough out a couple of matches and have a couple of long matches, especially for the body to get ready, and dealing with a lot of the rain delays too. That's always possible at Wimbledon as well, so that was good prep mentally as well.

"I feel like I've been through a lot this week, so if I could handle this week I think at Wimbledon I should feel pretty good."

Kalinskaya came into the 2024 season ranked No.77 on the PIF WTA Rankings. She has proceeded to notch a series of career milestones, including her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open and her first WTA 1000 final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and now her first grass-court final.

Prior to this week, Kalinskaya had yet to progress past the Round of 16 at a grass-court event. 

In doubles, Wang Xinyu and Zheng Saisai defeated Chan Hao-Ching and Veronika Kudermetova 6-2, 7-5 to win their second team title. The Chinese team lost just one set during the week and ousted No.2 seeds Luisa Stefani and Demi Schuurs and No.3 seeds Lyudmyla and Nadiia Kichenok.