TORONTO, Canada - She may have been playing one of the stories of the tournament, but it was former World No.25 Timea Babos who grabbed her happy ending at the Rogers Cup, dispatching local wildcard Bianca Andreescu, 6-4, 6-1.
"I played an opponent I’d never faced before, and she was playing in front of her home crowd," the Hungarian Ladies Open champion told WTA Insider. "I think Bianca’s a very good player, who has had some great results in the past couple of weeks.
"It wasn’t easy because I’d had a tough summer so far, but after taking a break from tennis and having some time off, I was able to get ready for the Rogers Cup and I’m just happy to get through."
More like a cruel summer for a player in the midst of a nine-match losing streak, winless since April and having lost four of her last five matches in three sets.
"I had a lot of three-setters and matches I could have won. I had a lot of chances against players who either won the tournament or went on to make the semis or final. They really ended up with good results, but even still, I was there in our matches, and had them in my hands. Somehow, what I was able to do last year - finishing those matches - I had more points where I couldn’t than ones where I could."
The nadir came at the Ricoh Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, when a despondent Babos called coach Thomas Drouet to court, wondering aloud, "I don't even know why I play tennis."
She went on to lose that match to Arantxa Rus and two more after that, ending the grass court season with a three-set loss to former WTA World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki at Wimbledon.
"I had some tough moments during matches, and it wasn’t easy, but I’m really grateful that I have a very good team. I have a good coach, good family and friends behind me, who are supporting me all the time. It was most important was for me to settle down and think of what I’ve already achieved and enjoy every moment."
Babos took that time by traveling to Italy for a much-needed vacation, eat-pray-loving her way back to a game she wasn't sure she liked anymore.
"It was the first time in my life where I took a plane and didn’t go to a tournament. Instead, I went on holidays. Usually, that's time I spend at home with my family. But this time, I had a real vacation, spent some time with my family, and then got ready to come back.
"I just needed to clear my mind, get back to who I am, and just enjoy tennis, because I really love to play. I lost this a little bit before."
Eager to regain the form that helped her win her home tournament back in February, the 24-year-old attacked her training with renewed gusto, the results of which showed on Centre Court. Dropping just nine points behind her first serve, she brought her best when it counted, converting four of five break point opportunities to silence the partisan crowd during the 75-minute match.
"I practiced really hard to get back in shape again and play well. I guess it helped a lot, because I tried to forget a lot. I really tried to enjoy being on court, and so this was a great opportunity to play a night session on Centre Court. I’m really just happy and motivated to be back on court. That’s the most important thing."
Babos next plays 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global champion Agnieszka Radwanska for a spot in the third round.