NURNBERG, Germany - Top seed Yulia Putintseva rallied from a set down to win her first WTA singles title at the Nürnberger Versicherungscup.
The Kazakh defeated unseeded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to hoist her first trophy in her third appearance in a WTA final.
After facing an early deficit by dropping serve three times in the opening set, Putintseva showed her trademark grit - on display for the duration of the week in Nurnberg - to rally for a win in just under two-and-a-half hours.
"It's unbelievable, honestly. I enjoyed myself and I was fighting until the end. That's what helped me to win. It was a great fight, a great game for the final," Putintseva said on-court after the match.
"Honestly, it was a little bit of luck, because I was running and hoping the ball was going to go in. When I was out of position, I was running and hit some incredible shots. My character is to keep fighting."
The key moment of the match came early in the second set, with the Slovenian leading 6-4, 1-0 and Putintseva facing break point on serve.
Zidansek's forehand clipped the top of the net, and rather than dribbling over to the Kazakh's side for another break, fell back on the Slovenian's side of the net for deuce.
Putintseva held on, and Zidansek lost serve for the first time in the second set in the next game.
Though she drew level at 3-3 with her first break of the set, the Kazakh broke to love in the next game to restore a lead which she would hardly relinquish.
Ultimately, Putintseva flipped the script of the pair's match in Rabat earlier this spring, in which the Slovenian rallied from a set down to see off the No.3 seed in the first round of the Grand Prix De SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem.
"It is my best result this year, so no matter what happened today, I played well," Zidansek said on-court in defeat.
"I'm going to go from Nurnberg with my head held high. It was really nice. At the beginning of the week, the weather was a little bit tricky, but today was a perfect day to play tennis."
In addition to rallying from a set down in the final, Putintseva's fighting qualities were on display throughout the week, which included winning the longest WTA match of the year in the quarterfinals over Anna-Lena Friedsam.
With the win, the two-time French Open quarterfinalist will go into Roland Garros at a ranking of World No.28, just one spot off of her career high, though she will be unseeded and will face Sweden's Rebecca Peterson in the first round.