(Reuters) - Anastasija Sevastova gave Latvian tennis another red letter day when she lifted the Mallorca Open title on Sunday a fortnight after Jelena Ostapenko became the surprise French Open champion.
Sevastova prevailed 6-4 3-6 6-3 against Germany’s Julia Goerges in Palma to win her first title in seven years.
Though the victory for Sevastova, 27, will not make the same waves as 20-year-old Ostapenko’s startling performance at Roland Garros, it still represented a remarkable breakthrough.
Like Ostapenko, Sevastova’s first title in 2010 came soon after her 20th birthday but within three years she had to walk away from the sport, worn down by injuries and illness.
Yet after making a comeback 20 months later in 2015, she reached two more finals last year, in this same Mallorca tournament and Bucharest, before further progress this season culminated in Sunday’s triumph over Goerges.
The German had stormed into the final for the loss of 14 games but Sunday’s match was a tight contest with the key to the outcome being the consistency of world No.19 Sevastova as she made only 10 unforced errors over two and a quarter hours.
Despite her disappointment even Goerges was quick to salute the effort that had gone into Sevastova’s career comeback.
“I’ve known you a long time, and there were some years when you told me you didn’t want to play tennis anymore, and now here we are,” Goerges told her opponent during the trophy ceremony.
“I’m so glad I was able to play this final against you because I think you’re a great player. I’m so happy you’re back in tennis.”
Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Ken Ferris