Arantxa Rus’ lengthy patience for a WTA title was finally rewarded on Saturday. The Dutch, at the age of 32, won the first-ever title of her career at the Hamburg European Open. Rus defeated Noma Noha Akugue 6-0, 7-6(3) in an hour and 45 minutes in the final.
The first set, as the score suggests, was dominated by Rus. The seventh seed won 75% of her first-serve points and 62% points on return on the German’s serve. She also won 43% of her second-serve points and 88% points on return on the 19-year-old’s second serve.
She saved the lone break point she faced and converted all three break points she had on her opponent’s serve. Both players traded breaks to start the second set with the set remaining firmly on serve thereafter. However, Rus did have a couple of match points at 5-4 on her rival’s serve but the latter successfully fended them off to retain serve and push the match into the tie-break.
In the tie-break, too, Noha Akugue saved a couple more match points before Rus capitalised on the fifth match point she had to triumph.
Hamburg European Open: Arantxa Rus, Noma Noha Akugue reach new ranking milestone
Following her win, Rus said, “The day was very long because I was very nervous all day long, but I'm happy that I could play good tennis and it was a great final from both of us (with) a lot of spectators and a very good atmosphere.
I'm very proud of myself that after so many years, I made my first title”. Rus dedicated the win to her late father, whom she recently lost. The southpaw also spoke highly of her opponent, who was playing her first WTA final in what was her first time in a main draw of such an event.
She said, “Hello everyone. First, I’d like to congratulate Noma for your great week and great fight. You’re still very young. Good luck in the upcoming tournament”. Following her heroics at the Hamburg European Open, Arantxa Rus will climb to a new ranking peak of no.
42 in the world. Her current ranking of no. 60 has been her career-high so far. Meanwhile, Noma Noha Akugue will make her debut in the top-150 of the WTA singles rankings, ranked 142nd in the world. Photo Credit: WTA Twitter
• Hamburg European Open: 1st Title awaits for finalists Noma Noha Akugue, Arantxa Rus• Hamburg European Open: Noma Noha Akugue & Diana Shnaider script clash of the teens!• Hamburg European Open: Debutant Norma Noha Akugue leads Germans into last-8• Hamburg European Open: Diana Shnaider & Bernarda Pera face-off for 2nd week in a row• Hamburg European Open: Teens Diana Shnaider, Norma Noha Akugue win openers• Porsche European Open, six golfers in lead