Playing in her first WTA final since 2016, Eugenie Bouchard very nearly won her first WTA title since 2014 in Istanbul on Sunday night, fighting off seven match points before finally succumbing to Romanian mother-on-tour Patricia Maria Tig in a third set tiebreaker, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4).
After cruising in the first set Bouchard’s game went awry, as she lost 10 of the next 12 games to drop the second set and fall behind 4-1 in the third. From there, things got very interesting—she saved three match points as Tig served for the match at 5-3, got the break back, and then fought off triple match point while serving to stay in the match at 5-6, 0-40, pushing it to a final set tiebreaker.
She saved a seventh match point down 6-3 in the breaker but it was eighth time lucky for Tig, who closed it out on the next point to win the first WTA title of her career after two hours and 29 minutes.
“I want to thank my husband and my daughter, who are right there,” Tig said in her acceptance speech, fighting back tears. She had her daughter, Sofia, in November 2018. “I hope I’m not getting too emotional! Thank you for all of your support, and for always being there for me, no matter what.”
Tig is currently the third-highest-ranked mom on tour at No. 88, after No. 8 Serena Williams and No. 27 Victoria Azarenka. The Romanian is projected to rise into the Top 60 after her win in Turkey.
Bouchard, meanwhile, is projected to rise from her current ranking of No. 272 to inside the Top 200 when the new rankings are released. The Canadian has been as high as No. 5 in the world.
“I’d like to thank the tournament for giving me a wild card into the qualifying event,” she said at the trophy ceremony. “My ranking wasn’t even good enough to get into this tournament, so thanks to you I had a chance to play and get all the way to the final. This was a very memorable week in Istanbul.”
Bouchard took out the tournament's No. 1 seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova, en route to the final.
Tig wasn’t the only first-time tour-level champion Sunday, with Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic capturing his first ATP title in Kitzbuhel, Austria, beating Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann in the final, 6-4, 6-4.
The 21-year-old Kecmanovic, a former junior No. 1, nearly won his first ATP title on the grass of Antalya, Turkey last year, holding match point against Italian Lorenzo Sonego in the final, but fell just short.
He finished the job this time.
“Last year sucked when I couldn’t win the final,” Kecmanovic told ATPTour.com on Sunday. “I definitely have a lot more experience since then, and it means everything to be able to win a title.”
Currently at a career-high No. 47, Kecmanovic is projected to break the Top 40 on Monday.