Jelena Ostapenko has won her 6th career's WTA title after defeating Barbora Krejcikova in Sunday's final of WTA 250 Rothesay Open in Birmingham. It's the second tournament won by Ostapenko on grass surface after winning the WTA 500 event in Eastbourne two years ago.
Road to the final
Krejcikova and Ostapenko were top seeds in Birmingham and the clash between them has guaranteed a ton of on-court emotions and quality. The Latvian had much more bumpy road to the title clash, as she needed to play three sets in all of the 4 matches preceeding the Sunday's final. Ostapenko performed an amazing comeback against Magdalena Frech in quarterfinals, being 4-6 0-4 down on the scoreline, while the Pole has wasted multiple chances to increase the lead into the size, which could be much more difficult to make up for the tournament's second seed. The semifinal was also a tight battle for Ostapenko, who was facing 4th seed Anastasia Potapova on Saturday and secured her final's spot after another coming back from being a set down, winning with a score 5-7 6-2 6-4.
Ostapenko holds the nerves in decisive moments
The seed number one had much more comfortable path to the final, as she did not face almost any difficult obstacles on the road. Krejcikova moved through all the rounds without losing any single set, and without a necessity to face any seeded player in her part of draw.
Considering much less effort needed to advance into final and quite more consistent performance throughout whole the week, Krejcikova was a slight favorite ahead of the title clash, but the odds her predicted a tough battle between both. This was a true in the opening set, which got settled in a long and intense tiebreak after 12 games without any single break. Krejcikova had more concrete chance to clinch the set before, as she had 2 breakpoints in 7th game, but Ostapenko cleared this danger well. Both the players could win the tiebreak, which was even battle from start to the end. Krejcikova had one setpoint within a score 8-7, but Ostapenko won 3 points in a row since then to take it by 10-8, despite wasting 3 setpoints on her own earlier in the tiebreak.
The Latvian has felt the wind in her sails after this, as she quickly got a break at the start of second set and extended her lead into 5-1 later on. Krejcikova did not give up and tried to fight back, but she managed to make up just one break from there and Ostapenko served for the match in second attempt, securing the victory with a score 7-6(8) 6-4.
It was a high quality match from both the players, especially in terms of serving performance. The tiebreak's settlement in first set was definitely decisive for the final result, as the momentum switched into Ostapenko's favour in a way, where it was difficult for Krejcikova to come back from. Despite just two sets played, it was a show worth the final between two top seeds in a good-staffed WTA level tournament.
Barbora Krejcikova capitalizes on her run into the final in Birmingham, as she comes back into top 10 of WTA rankings, moving up from 12th place. Ostapenko stays as the world's number 17th, as she had a bunch of points to defend from last year's final appearance in Eastbourne, which took place exactly 52 weeks ago. If no withdrawals come into the time of Wimbledon Championships, those will be the seeds of both Birmingham's finalists for the upcoming Grand Slam, as tomorrow's ranking is decisive for the main draw seedings.