Tamira Paszek made a monumental step forward in a comeback that has largely been under the radar since she returned to action on the ITF Pro Circuit last summer, sweeping a 15K tournament in Tunisia with wins in both singles and doubles.

“It takes courage to start all over again!” a triumphant Paszek wrote on Instagram. “Grateful for this week and thankful for the people close to me.”

The former world No. 26 played sparingly between 2017 and 2020 after being diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic disorder attacking nerves in the face.

“It was sharp pain, like someone was stabbing me with a knife in the face,” she explained in 2017, describing constant discomfort above the eye and in between the cheek and nose. “It’s like a constant tooth pain, but more aggressive and sharper. Depending on wind and weather, stress levels, everything affected it.”

Paszek initially emerged on the pro tour in the mid-2000s as a contemporary of Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, and Caroline Wozniacki, reaching back-to-back Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2011 and 2012 and knocking out Angelique Kerber to win her biggest WTA title in Eastbourne.

Mounting a small-scale comeback last summer, the Austrian has struggled to reclaim her world-beating form until this week in Monastir, where she won five straight singles matches without dropping a set. In doubles, she partnered Yasmine Mansouri of France to win her first doubles title since 2013.