Irina-Camelia Begu produced a stirring fightback to defeat Timea Babos and win the Brasil Tennis Cup on Friday.
After looking out of sorts in the first set, Begu dragged herself back into the contest to halt Babos’ charge in the second.
A break in the ninth game saw her take the match the distance and despite falling 2-0 behind in the decider she rallied once more to win, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“During the match I didn’t start really well – I was a little bit tense and focusing too much on the negative rather than the positive things I was doing.
“Then I realized I had to make the most of the situation, if the forehand wasn’t working I needed to use the backhand more,” Begu said in WTA.
“I think it was more mental because I really wanted to win the title.”
The result secures Begu the third title of her career.
She reaffirm a love affair with the country which played such a crucial role in her comeback from a serious shoulder injury.
“This country is really special for me.
“In 2014, I was around 130, 140 [in the rankings], I don’t really remember, and I started with the small tournaments, then Florianopolis and Rio,” Begu said.
“Being here for five weeks I got to see that the people are really nice, the food is great, too.
“I was also doing well, winning some of the tournaments, the $25Ks, so it was a nice comeback for me.
“If I have the chance I will come back again!”
Victory also provides the perfect send-off ahead of the Romanian’s trip up the coast to Rio.
There she will compete in her second Olympics, beginning her challenge against Nao Hibino.
Babos, whose four-year wait to add to her solitary WTA title continues, meanwhile has a day to lick her wounds before a first-round meeting against Petra Kvitova.
“It was a difficult final emotionally, especially as I felt I had it in my hands, then only at the end I realize I’ve lost,” Babos said afterwards.
“Of course I was playing against a very good player – she was fighting all the way.
“But I thought that I was playing better and I had many, many, many opportunities, so obviously I’m sad to lose this final.”
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