Carla Suárez lifts Qatar Open title
Suárez will rise to world number six when the rankings are released on Monday after defeating Jelena Ostapenko in three sets.
Spain's Carla Suárez Navarro came from a set behind against Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko on Saturday to win the Qatar Open, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. It was only her second WTA singles title and means she will climb five places to become the world number six, her highest ever, when the latest rankings are released on Monday.
The hard-fought victory, over one hour and 51 minutes, was also sweet revenge for the Spaniard after she was knocked out of Wimbledon in the first round last year by Ostapenko. The 27-year-old described her victory as "magical".
"It means a lot, this tournament was really tough," said Suárez Navarro. "The best players in the world were here, you have to play every day, it's not easy."
Two of her targets for the year were to get into the top 10 and win a tournament, both of which she has achieved in Doha. "It's amazing, a dream come true," she added. "I was in the top 10 [before], but the number six, it's a special number."
Her victory seemed unlikely during a first set when she was brushed aside by the 18-year-old in just 26 minutes. But the Spaniard rallied and made a decisive break of serve in the seventh game of the second set. She held on to level the match.
After breaking her opponent again early in the third set, she managed to hold off a determined Ostapenko to claim victory.
The Latvian was undone by her number of unforced errors, 45 to the Spaniard's 25.
As her title was confirmed, a jubilant Suárez Navarro jumped into the crowd to hug her trainer and team. She receives a winner's cheque of $518,500. Her only previous WTA singles success was at the Portugal Open in 2014.
For Ostapenko, there was the consolation that her performance in Doha may mark a breakthrough week. On her way to the final, she knocked out the world number eight Petra Kvitova and number 21, Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Ostapenko's appearance in the final has assured she will break into the top 50 for the first time. "It was a great week for me," she said. "I was just trying to play how I can and play my best. It's great [to be in the top 50] but it's just the first step. My goal is to be even higher."
She also picks up a cheque for $259,300, almost equal to her combined career earnings so far of just over $290,000. Ostapenko, who is trained by her mother, has said she wants to buy her first car with her winnings.