WATCH: Tauson snapped Jelena Ostapenko's nine-match winning streak in Luxembourg to win her second WTA title.

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Young players typically learn to compete before they learn to win. Danish teenager Clara Tauson upset that natural order when she stormed to her first WTA title back in March and subsequently spent the back half of 2021 honing her competitive instincts. The hard work culminated with a spirited second title at the final BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open on Sunday.

“In Lyon, I think I had a dream week,” the 18-year-old explained after out-gutting 2019 champion Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. “I played unbelievable tennis and I didn’t think about anything; I just played every match and won easily against really good players.

“Here, I had to fight for every single match, so I might be even happier about this result because it required such a tough fight.”

The win over the former French Open champion was Tauson’s third three-set victory of the week, backing up thrilling victories against Ekaterina Alexandrova and 2020 Tokyo Olympics runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, and showing off a newfound willingness to temper her high-octane game.

“I think I’m playing much more solidly now. I don’t go for stupid things too much anymore; I think it’s because I’m much more physically fit, that I can mentally stay longer in rallies and give one more shot instead of trying to finish points all the time.

“I think that paid off a lot, especially this week with me running everywhere; it’s not very often you see me all over the court! It was new thing for me to try, and I think it was really nice to know I can play these kinds of matches.”

I think I’m playing much more solidly now. I don’t go for stupid things too much anymore; I think it’s because I’m much more physically fit, that I can mentally stay longer in rallies and give one more shot instead of trying to finish points all the time. Clara Tauson

Prior to Luxembourg, Tauson, who trains at the Justine Henin Academy with Belgian coach Olivier Jeunehomme, hadn’t played a tour-level three-setter all season. Her follow-up to winning in Lyon without dropping a set saw her retire from a 250 tournament in Charleston due to a left leg injury and endure tight two-set defeats to Victoria Azarenka, Barbora Krejcikova, and Ashleigh Barty at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open respectively.

She would win three deciding sets to capture a WTA 125K title last month in Chicago—including one in the final with eventual US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

“Before Chicago, I didn’t play a lot of three-setters. I think the first that I actually won was in Chicago, so I’m really happy about that. It’s very important for me, mentally and physically, that I can play those kinds of matches and fight back…”

She trails off before adding with a laugh, “Even if it’s because I’m losing the second set every single time!”

Taking on Ostapenko with an ominously strapped left thigh, she withstood a formidable challenge from the enigmatic Latvian, surviving a crucial fifth game in the decider to ultimately break for the title at her first opportunity.

“I was pretty tired today and didn’t feel well all morning, so I didn’t expect too much from the match today. I wanted to go in and fight as much as I could, and I did; I gave it everything I had, so I don’t think I’ll have anything for the next couple of days! I’ll just be in bed!”

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Tauson pushed world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty through two tough sets at the US Open last month.

Tauson pushed world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty through two tough sets at the US Open last month.

Aiming to stay in Europe through the end of the season—and likely missing Indian Wells—Tauson is blissfully unaware of the growing hype around her, perhaps wisely opting to eschew social media at a time when she has quickly become a cult favorite among the many tagging her to make a major move in 2022.

“I’m really bad at following social media. I talk very privately with my friends and I don’t look at it too much. I don’t know why, because I used to look at it a lot. Now, I just talk to my friends, so I haven’t seen a lot but I’m sure I have a lot of messages right now.”

Having closed the door on the Luxembourg tournament and, more importantly, mastered the distinct arts of winning and competing, Tauson will next learn to become a champion—so she may yet round out the teenage trio that currently includes Raducanu and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez.

“I had a weird season. I didn’t expect to be here at all; I was hoping to maybe move into the Top 100 but now I’m almost Top 50, so I’m a little bit surprised, but super happy about the way I’ve played, especially in the recent weeks. I think I’ve improved a lot in various things, so I’m just looking forward to the next couple of weeks and until the end of the year.”