PUNE, India - There was only one unknown quantity in the final four and that was the one who finished first at the Royal Indian Open, as Elina Svitolina won by far the biggest title of her career at the WTA $125 tournament.
There was a lot of court cred amongst the final four in Pune - former Top 5 player Kimiko Date-Krumm, former Top 10 player Andrea Petkovic, former Top 20 player Tamarine Tanasugarn - then there was the 18-year-old Svitolina, a rising star who had never been ranked higher than No.133 in the world.
But the No.7-seeded underdog rose up, serving up 10 aces to beat No.6 seed Petkovic in the semifinals, 62 75, then having no trouble with Date-Krumm's mix of angles and depths in the final, beating the No.5 seed handily, 62 63.
"The win over Petkovic yesterday gave me a lot of confidence - she's a great player, she was Top 10. I had to play really well," Svitolina said. "Today I knew how Kimiko plays and knew I just had to play every ball, every point and every game as the last one - I had to stay really focused. And it all went pretty well."
Since winning the French Open juniors two years ago, Svitolina had won four ITF Women's Circuit titles - but the biggest of those was a $50,000 in Georgia earlier this year, and now the Ukrainian teenager has shattered that at the Royal Indian Open, a WTA $125 tournament with $125,000 in prize money.
The always-gracious Date-Krumm had very nice things to say about Svitolina.
"It was not my day - my tactics weren't working," Date-Krumm said. "She has a lot of power but she doesn't just hit the ball hard, she's also smart. Now a lot of players just hit the ball, but she was mixing it up, using wide serves and more."
The Japanese veteran was also happy to have such a good week at the end of such a tough year - a former World No.4 who had been as high as No.46 since coming back to the WTA in 2008, she came into Pune ranked No.146.
"I haven't been winning so much this year, so finally to do so well at the end of the year makes me very happy," Date-Krumm said. "I will try to keep doing well as I have two more ITF tournaments to play in the next few weeks."
The doubles final took place on Saturday, with Nina Bratchikova and Oksana Kalashnikova originally cruising against Julia Glushko and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, 60 42, but eventually taking it in a match tie-break, 60 46 108. It was the Russian-Georgian duo's second title of any level together - they had won an ITF Women's Circuit event in Italy together three years ago.