Yanina Wickmayer has defeated Katie Swan in Sunday's final of ITF Challenger in Surbiton - the first women's grass tournament of the season. The Belgian fought an exciting battle against home representative Katie Swan in a final match, which was decided in third set's tiebreak.
Road to the final
Wickmayer has lost just one set on the road to final match, during a tight match against Daria Snigur, which same as today was settled in decisive set's tiebreak. The Ukrainian was leading in final set and had a chance to serve for the match, but Wickmayer came out of danger and forced the tiebreak, where she secured the advance into semis with a score 6-4 4-6 7-6(4). The semifinal was expected to be another interesting match-up, as Katie Boulter was Wickmayer's opponent there. It was just a one way traffic performance though, with an easy win of the Belgian, who moved into the final after just 70 minutes of play with a score 6-3 6-2.
The tournament in Surbiton was a really good start of a grass season for the Brits, as 3 out of 4 semifinalists where representing UK. As it happened finally, none of them managed to lift the trophy, but Katie Swan had a really good chance to make it happen after a great run into final. Swan has defeated the tournament's top seed Tatjana Maria in quarterfinals, fighting back from being a set down and winning 3-6 6-3 6-4 eventually. Swan has won the all-British semifinal's clash against Yuriko Lily Miyazaki, defeating her fellowcountry with a crushing score 6-1 6-0, becoming a solid hope of the home fans to fight for a trophy on Sunday.
Perfect start for Swan
Katie Swan has started the match on a front foot, being the first one to gain a break advantage in 5th game. Both players were creating breakpoint chances in last 4 games of the opening set, but it was the Brit, who converted her chances twice and secured 5 breakpoints to win the set 6-2. The second one started similarly well for the Brit, who gained another break in opening game and was leading 3-1 after 4 games, setting herself up to be in a good position to close the final match in straight sets.
Vickmayer stays alive in the match
The Belgian has not give up after a miserable series of losing 6 out of 7 games, including 3 consecutive breaks conceded. Wickmayer managed to break her opponent for the first time this afternoon in 6th game of second set, which leveled the score. Swan who was a dominant player till then, has dropped a level a little bit, but still had a chance to win this in straight, while having a breakpoint during a score 4-4. Wickmayer made an important hold there and gained another break in 10th game to force a decider.
Exciting title fight in 3rd set
The decider was a pure rollercoaster with a momentum getting switch between both sides from start to finish. Swan get back into groove by getting an early break and leading 2-0, but Wickmayer bounced back since then to win 5 out of 6 following games and got a chance to serve for a match. The Belgian has created the first matchpoint in 10th game, having an advantage during a score 5-4. Swan managed to defend it and leveled the state by winning 3 points in a row, which resulted with moving the settlement into tiebreak. This was far from the intensity and dramaturgy of whole the match, as Wickmayer won the first 6 points and closed the match after second matchpoint to win it eventually with a score 2-6 6-4 7-6(1).
Both the finalists have capitalized on their successful run in Surbiton, not just by the fact of gaining some good momentum after switch into grass surface, but also by gaining some points and places in the WTA rankings. Yanina Wickmayer gains 26 places to move up into 114th place, while Katie Swan lifts up into 134th position, gaining 28 spots. The outcome of final results from Surbiton decides also the contention of the spot of currently highest ranked Brit in the WTA list. Katie Boutler the new UK's number one after reaching the semis in Surbiton and overtakes Emma Raducanu, who loses the points and drops in the rankings due to the injury break. Katie Swan was very close to take the supremacy in UK in case of today's win, but because of coming up short by a little margin today, she becomes the 4th best ranked Brit, just after Boulter, Raducanu and Jodie Burrage.