Chennai Open WTA 250: Fruhvirtova comes from behind to clinch singles title

The 17-year-old Czech became the younger Tour-level title winner after Coco Gauff’s 2021 win in Parma.

Czech Republic’s Linda Fruhvirtova in action against Magda Linette of Poland during the WTA Chennai Open 2022 finals, in Chennai

Czech Republic’s Linda Fruhvirtova in action against Magda Linette of Poland during the WTA Chennai Open 2022 finals, in Chennai | Photo Credit: PTI

The 17-year-old Czech became the younger Tour-level title winner after Coco Gauff’s 2021 win in Parma.

Linda Fruhvirtova survived a searing examination of her growing reputation as the next big Czech tennis star with a fine come-from-behind 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Magda Linette to clinch the WTA Chennai Open title at the SDAT Tennis Stadium on Sunday.

The triumph was the 17-year-old’s maiden Tour-level title as she became the youngest winner since Coco Gauff won a title in 2021 (Parma) and the youngest Czech to do so since Nicole Vaidisova in 2006 (Strasbourg).

“I am pretty much in shock and don’t have the right words,” Fruhvirtova said on-court, tearing up. “It’s unbelievable. Again, great atmosphere to play in and something I will always remember.”

It was Fruhvirtova’s second straight three-setter, and in the first set she seemed a step slower, having spent a good three hours more than Linette in court time this tournament.

Linette has snappy feel to her game, a short backswing ending with a wristy flourish. She redirected Fruhvirtova’s pace expertly and her athletic ability meant she ran down practically every ball. A break in the ninth game and a fine hold after that – a drop and two superb kick serves doing the damage – helped the 30-year-old take the first set 6-4.

But in the second, the Pole relaxed and her serve went up and down. She saved three break points in her first service game, held her next two to the loss of a solitary point before coming under pressure in the fourth.

Fruhvirtova hit a fierce return winner and finished on the right side of a mighty long rally to earn two break opportunities. Linette sent a forehand long to go 3-5 down and soon Fruhvirtova levelled the match.

In the third set Linette lifted her level again. Someone who beats Ash Barty and Ons Jabeur at a Grand Slam tournament isn’t to be trifled with and she played some clinical tennis to go 4-1 up. But a medical timeout to nurse her right leg broke her rhythm and it was soon 4-4.

Fruhvirtova had rediscovered her aggressive touch, and egged on by a near-capacity crowd, she made the play, pressuring the Linette serve to go 30-15 up. Her poise, staying power and lack of nerves were in full display as she hit a fine forehand winner to close out a lengthy rally. A forced error from Linette then sealed the break to 5-4 and a chance to serve for the title.

Linette’s last stand was to come up with two smashing return winners, but it was not to be.

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