Riske saves five championship points against Bertens to claim Libema

Riske saves five championship points against Bertens to claim Libema

The 61st-ranked American was down 6-0, 4-1 before mounting a courageous comeback.

On Sunday, 61st-ranked Alison Riske mounted a courageous comeback against top-seeded Kiki Bertens to claim her second career WTA title. The American was down 6-0, 4-1 before clawing her way back to upset Bertens, 0-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5, on home soil in 's-Hertogenbosch.

"I'm just really proud of myself. I looked at the clock, and it was 6-0, 1-0 at 32 minutes in, and I thought, 'I can't possibly be bageled in a final,'" Riske said. "I had faith that things would turn around at some point, I just wasn't sure when. I thought maybe it was too late, even when I broke back to make it 4-3, but I stayed in there and I fought for every point."

Bertens was aiming to win her third title of the season, having captured St. Petersburg and Madrid. In May, the Dutchwoman had to retire from her French Open second-round match due to illness. Five games into her match against Viktoria Kuzmova, Bertens told doctors on court she was shaking and had no energy.

Riske was coming off a win at the ITF $100,000 event in Surbiton last week, a grass-court tournament. The world No. 61, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 36 in 2015, had not won a title since claiming her maiden trophy in Tianjin five years ago.

In the championship match, Bertens overwhelmed the American with her big serves and ground strokes, claiming the opening bagel set. With a break in the second, things were looking good for the Dutchwoman before the match took a turn as Riske, who had lost to the world No. 4 in all three of their previous encounters, began to assert herself. The top seed regrouped in the decider, breaking the American at love in the third game. Her fortune didn’t last long, however, as Riske made yet another comeback, clinching the match with a break in the 12th game.

"Not only to have won that type of a match, but that it was a title match, I think that's really awesome," Riske said. "I've been in a few finals since the last one that I won, and I wasn't able to pull it out. To do that today in such a fashion, was extra special."