Darja Semenistaja saved a match point to turn the tide in her favour for a memorable 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-2 come-from-behind victory in the final against Storm Hunter in the L&T Mumbai Open WTA tennis tournament at the Cricket Club of India on Sunday.
The 21-year-old Semenistaja was at her fighting best, unfazed by the flow of the contest that lasted two hours and 30 minutes. It was the 16th singles title for Semenistaja, and the second in India following the $40,000 title in Bengaluru last month.
For the better part of the match, it was World No. 3 doubles player Hunter who showed her fighting ability, recovering every time when she was down.
However, when she led 6-5 in the tie-break of the second set, she was unable to capitalise on it. A slight dip on the next two points was what Semenistaja needed, as she smashed a forehand winner down the line to force the decider.
In the third, Semenistaja ensured that there was no further Storm in the match, as she cruised through.
For one who had recovered from being down 3-5 in the first set and had survived four set points to pocket the opener, the 29-year-old Storm was unable to call upon any more energy to fight. To their credit, both the players had virtually danced on the court right through in giving the packed gathering an unforgettable match.
The champion collected $15,000 and 125 WTA points. The runner-up got $8,000 and 81 points.
In the doubles final, Dalila Jakupovic and Sabrina Santamaria were able to step it up in both the sets for a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Arianne Hartono and Prarthana Thombare. It was redemption for the 32-year-old Dalila who had lost the singles final to Aryna Sabalenka in 2017 at the same venue. Prarthana was happy to have played her maiden WTA final, after having won 26 doubles titles in the ITF circuit. She kept the home interest alive by playing a crafty game in partnership with the free-stroking Arianne.
The doubles champions collected $5000 and 125 WTA points. The runners-up got $2,500 and 81 points.
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