MALLORCA, Spain -- Tatjana Maria of Germany won her first WTA singles title in stunning fashion, coming back from 0-4 down in the second set to complete a 6-4, 7-5 upset of defending champion and No.3 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the final of the Mallorca Open on Sunday.
"It was amazing, the support from the first day," said an emotional Maria, as she thanked the fans during the trophy ceremony. "All the German fans, also everybody, it was really amazing, and I felt it a lot, also today for me."
"It’s a great event, it’s a really nice place," Maria continued. "You really enjoy every day, so I’m really happy I could win it here."
Maria, having advanced to her first-ever WTA final on Saturday, engineered a stirring fightback to oust the reigning titleholder in 95 minutes, leveling her head-to-head record against Sevastova to 1-1, and claiming just her second win over a player ranked inside the Top 20.
The German broke Sevastova four times off of ten break points during the match, and won 61 percent of points off of the Latvian's second serve. Both players were nearly equally solid on their first serve effectiveness, but Maria was better at winning points on her second serve, which helped bring the World No.79 a singles trophy.
Maria saved multiple break points at 2-2 and 4-4, eking her way out of those precarious positions due to her excellent serving and propensity to make her way to the net, which served her well this week on the grass courts of Mallorca.
The German's steadfast play paid dividends at 5-4, when Sevastova quickly fell behind on serve, punching an overhead well long to give Maria triple set point. Sevastova saved the first with a forehand winner down the line, but a shocking dropshot attempt into the net on the second chance handed Maria a one-set advantage.
Maria squeaked out the first set victory despite having three fewer winners than Sevastova, as the Latvian had 16 unforced errors to Maria's 11. Each player had five break points in the opening frame, but Maria was the only one to capitalize, making the first break point conversion of the match on the final point of the set.
World No.20 Sevastova came out guns blazing in the second set, breaking Maria in the opening game, and maneuvering through a protracted game at 2-0 to claim an additional break and a 3-0 lead, thanks to consecutive forehand errors by Maria. After a routine hold for 4-0, there was definite potential for Sevastova to turn around the match and roll to a successful title defense.
But Maria methodically worked her way back into the set, grasping one break back to pull to 4-2. An easy love hold for 4-3 by the German set her up for an attack on Sevastova’s serve, and the Latvian responded by playing a poor game, with three forehand errors and a double fault, to suddenly see the set tied up at 4-4.
After another calm hold by Maria, Sevastova had to hold serve at 5-4 to stay in the match. A winning backhand volley off the netcord gave Maria double match point, but Sevastova saved them both, erasing the second one with a superb backhand passing shot. The Latvian then held for 5-5 with a drop shot winner.
But Sevastova was not as fortunate in her next service game at 6-5. At deuce, another backhand volley by Maria clipped the netcord and stayed in, setting up a third match point. Sevastova again tried a backhand pass against a net-charging Maria, but on this occasion, the shot was wide, and a thrilled Maria could finally call herself a WTA singles champion.