INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA -- No.14 seed Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland pulled off a stunning comeback victory in the final of the Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells, a WTA 125K Series event, saving one match point in the second set en route to a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Jennifer Brady of the United States.
World No.94 Brady held match point at 6-3, 5-4, but World No.103 Golubic saved it with a drop shot winner as part of a four-game string of games to end the second set, and eased through the decider to take home the trophy after two hours and 12 minutes of play.
Very little separated the two players, but even though Brady had an exceptional 4-of-5 conversion rate on break points, Golubic was able to garner 12 break points throughout the match, converting five. Brady had eight aces to Golubic's one, but Brady only got 51 percent of her first serves in play, and Golubic was able to win over half of Brady's second-service points.
Golubic therefore claims her biggest title since she won her first WTA singles championship at Gstaad in 2016, where she defeated future Top 10 player Kiki Bertens in the final. She continues a solid start to 2019, where she qualified for the Australian Open and reached the quarterfinals at the WTA event in Hua Hin.
Brady started the match on a mission, using aggressive play to claim an early break and a 4-1 lead. The mix of powerful serves and booming forehands was reminiscent of her run last week at Dubai, where she reached the round of 16 as a qualifier and gave eventual finalist Petra Kvitova a three-set tussle.
Now back in the Top 100 after her Dubai performance, Brady held much confidence in the first set. She evaded a break point while serving for the set, eventually clinching the one-set lead after 36 minutes.
The American and the Swiss were toe-to-toe in the second set until 3-3, where Brady reached break point after a Golubic forehand error. Brady then cracked open a deep-hitting rally with a forehand winner down the line to attain a seemingly critical break.
Brady held her lead through 5-4, where she served for the match. A long miscue by Golubic gave Brady match point at 40-30, but Golubic saved that chance with a winning dropshot. The Swiss star blasted a forehand winner down the line to give herself a break point, and it was converted after a long Brady error, putting the set level at 5-5.
Suddenly, Golubic had the momentum, and she got through a deuce game to hold for 6-5 with a backhand winner. In the next game, Brady fended off two set points thanks to thunderous serving, but a winning backhand passing shot gave Golubic a third opportunity to level the match. The Swiss player took that chance, reaching one set apiece after another long Brady forehand.
A flurry of service breaks opened the deciding set, which resulted in Golubic being up 4-1, after the errors mounted from Brady. The American got back on serve, breaking for 4-3 with a forehand winner down the line, but any momentum shift she might have obtained was lost when she was broken in the next game via a sterling Golubic volley winner.
At 5-3 in the final set, it was now Golubic's first chance to serve for the match. At 30-30, the Swiss thumped a backhand crosscourt winner to reach her first match point. There, another crosscourt backhand forced a wide error from Brady, giving Golubic a fantastic comeback win for the title in Indian Wells.