ESTORIL (Portugal): Kaia Kanepi claimed her second WTA trophy of the season after saving two match points in a 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 victory over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro
in the final of the Estoril Open
The Estonian sixth seed became the third woman to win the clay event after saving match points. She lifted the title four months after winning Brisbane
in early January.
"I fought for every point," said the 34th-ranked winner, aged 26. "This is a very special trophy for me. I don't have a coach right now - this is something that I did all on my own."
Kanepi, a former French Open junior champion who now has three WTA titles, looked to be going out as the unseeded Suarez Navarro went up a break in the second set after winning the first.
But four breaks of serve in the last five games of the second led to a tie-break, where the Spaniard was betrayed by nerves as she conceded a 4-2 lead in the decider.
Kanepi closed the gap and then lifted her level even further as she saved back-to-back match points.
One set point for the Estonian was enough to take it into a deciding set after nearly two hours of play.
Kanepi broke in the final game to conclude victory in two hours and 37 minutes with 20 winners and six breaks of serve, dropping to her knees on the clay after converting match point.
"It was just so special," said the player who missed nearly two months through injury from mid-January to mid-March. "I fought so hard, even when I was losing.
"I knew that it was not over until the last point and that's the way it went. I'm so happy to win."
Suarez Navarro, the world number 58, admitted she spurned her best chances because she tightened up.
"I had chances to win, but I got nervous," said the Spaniard. "Kaia played a smart match. I can only look ahead now to Madrid
"I didn't play my best when I needed to. She wore me down, especially mentally."