Carla Suárez Navarro won the 2016 Qatar Total Open to claim the biggest title of her career on Saturday in Doha. The Spaniard, who showed plenty of emotion at the end as she leaped into her team box, defeated the 18-year-old, Jelena Ostapenko, 1-6 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 51 minutes.
Heading into the final, Suárez Navarro had a 1-8 record in finals. For a time, it looked unlikely that Suárez Navarro was going to make a positive impact on that figure. Ostapenko won the first set, 6-1, picking up where she left off from in their only previous match at Wimbledon last year where the Latvian player had won, 6-2 6-0. Ostapenko was in complete control of the match, crushing forehand winners from all over the court and rushing the Spaniard into errors.
To her credit, Suárez Navarro stayed with Ostapenko in the second set long enough to make an impact; Suárez Navarro broke to *4-3, hitting one of her best shots of the match, chasing down a drop shot and managing to come up with a super-deep return that flummoxed Ostapenko. With a little more variety, pace and depth, Suárez Navarro eventually won the second set, 6-4.
Ostapenko started the third set how she had began the match, blazing winners and dictating play. However, Suárez Navarro demonstrated her resilience once more to break straight back, thanks to a backhand return winner. The Spaniard did a great job at extending the rallies and Ostapenko’s game, particularly the backhand, began to break down. Suárez Navarro took control of the match, breaking at 2-2 and then managing to serve it out at the first time of asking to win her second title after Oeiras in 2014.
It was an interesting match although the stats weren’t pretty; Suárez Navarro hit 9 winners to 25 unforced errors, while Ostapenko finished with 35 winners to 45 unforced errors. This could be a huge mental win for the 27-year-old who managed to stay with an in-form opponent and turn the match on its head. Ostapenko will crack the top 50 in next week’s rankings and is one of many talented 18-year-olds making waves on the WTA tour in 2016. While she has many, many points to defend over the next couple of months, Suárez Navarro will leap to a career high number six in the rankings… well done, Carla!
Photo in this post by Jimmie48
Post written by James of Moo’s Tennis Blog