After her straight-sets win in the semi-finals, Latvia’s Darja Semenistaja said she was most pleased with the composure she had shown through the week at the WTA $125,000 Mumbai Open at the Cricket Club of India here. In the final on Sunday, that steely resilience was on display once again as she saved a match point before beating Australia’s Storm Hunter.
Ranked 121 in the world, it was the first WTA title of the 21-year-old’s career. She was pushed to her limits for most of the two-and-a-half-hour contest, but eventually prevailed 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-2.
It was a rollercoaster of an opening set as Darja and Storm shared six breaks of serve in the first nine games. Darja was serving at 5-3 at one stage and then had four set points but Storm, ranked 150, found a way to turn things around and won four straight games to seal the set.
In the second set, it was Storm who was serving for the match at 5-4 and then had a match point in the tie-break. But Darja never stopped believing and won three consecutive points to draw level in the match.
From there, Storm’s intensity dipped considerably and Darja rode on the momentum to close out the match. The Latvian, armed with an incredible drop shot, moved her opponent around smartly to not lose her grip on the third set after getting an early break.
“I’m so happy, I never imagined this would happen,” said Darja after her win. “I was just fighting point by point as she was playing amazingly. In the third set, it was important to break early and then I think both of us were tired so I just kept trying to put every ball in. It’s my first WTA title, a dream come true. I had an amazing time in India.”
In doubles, Prarthana Thombare competed in the final partnering Dutch player Arianne Hartono, who had also made it to the singles semi-finals. But the duo lost 4-6, 3-6 against second seeds Sabrina Santamaria (US) and Dalila Jakupovic (Slovenia).
“It was incredible to play not just in Mumbai but in India because we don’t host a lot of tournaments,” Prarthana said after the match.
“Everyone was well prepared and the Indian players did really well. So many of our girls did well in the singles as well. It was a step in the right direction for sure. It was disappointing to not get the win today but I’d like to thank all the supporters who’ve been coming in from the first day. It has been really good and this is not enough, I’m sure you’re going to see girls and boys from the country coming up.”