Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro rallies to win Qatar title
Carla Suarez Navarro from Spain returns the ball to Caroline Garcia of France during the third day of the Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
DOHA, Qatar (AP) Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain rallied after losing the first set to beat Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and win the Qatar Open on Saturday.
The eighth-seed needed one hour, 52 minutes to beat the 18-year-old 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, for the second WTA Tour title of her career.
It was Suarez Navarro's first win on the WTA Tour since Estoril in April 2014. Last year, the Spaniard reached the finals in Miami, Rome and Antwerp before losing to Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Andrea Petkovic, respectively.
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Suarez Navarro made a good start to the season, reaching the semifinals at the Brisbane International and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open while Ostapenko had won only two matches in five tournaments so far this year. However, Ostapenko had won the only previous match between them, 6-2, 6-0 last year in the opening round of Wimbledon.
Ostapenko, the 2014 junior Wimbledon grand slam winner, broke Suarez Navarro twice in the first three games to go 3-0 up before wrapping the set 6-1.
While the teenager served five aces to none by her rival and hit 25 winners compared with nine by the champion, it was Suarez Navarro's experience in reducing errors from the second set onwards that helped her win.
''My aim at the start of the year was to win one title and to get inside the top-10. I am happy I have done both this week,'' said the 27-year-old, who will rise from 11th in the WTA rankings to sixth.
''I am so emotional right now. I started a little bit nervous and she started really good. You know, losing the first set is never easy. You can only believe in yourself, fight, run and try to put the ball back in the court.
''The win gives me a lot of confidence going forward in the season. I've lost a lot of finals so I'm really happy and excited about this tournament. I am enjoying it here and I am playing some very good tennis right now.''
Suarez Navarro had little time to cherish her win as she was to return to center court to play her doubles final with Sara Errani.
Ostapenko may have lost the final but her Dubai results will lift her inside the top-50 of the WTA rankings.