Kiki Bertens showed plenty of grit and determination to rally past Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the Korea Open final, increasing her chances to grab a spot in the season-ending WTA Finals with a third title of the year.
Playing her fourth final of 2018, the No.2 seed reeled off the final six games to emerge with a 7-6(2) 4-6 6-2 victory and sealed her 40th WTA main draw win of the season after two hours and 24 minutes. She used her inside-out forehand to wreak havoc and completed the match with 40 winners to Tomljanovic's 18.
The Australian, who lost the third consecutive career final and has yet to clinch her first WTA title, continued her strong comeback from the shoulder surgery that put her out of action for almost the whole of the 2016 season.Tomljanovic will now improve her career-high rank at No.44 surpassing the previous peak of No.47 she first hit in February 2015.
Bertens, meanwhile, will raise her chances of reaching the WTA Finals in singles for the first time in her career she remains currently ranked No.8 in the Porsche Race to Singapore. “It feels great to be honest. To be holding this trophy feels special.
Last year I won the doubles title but this feels better,” Bertens said after collecting her trophy at the WTA International event. Bertens, who ended 2017 at No.31, down from career-best year-end finish of No.22 in 2016, has now posted career-best results at three of the Grand Slams this season at Us Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open.
She became the first woman from the Netherlands to reach the US Open 3r since Kristie Boogert in 2000 and owns the most Top 10 wins on WTA tour in 2018, going 10-5. She landed her first at Premier level title on the green clay of Charleston (d.
Goerges), reached her first semifinal and final at Premier Mandatory event in Madrid and became the first unseeded player since 2006 and the maiden Dutch player, man or woman, to clinch the title in Cincinnati. There, she beat the world No.2 Wozniacki and the world No.1 Halep, as no other player had managed to do since Muguruza at 2017 Cincinnati.
Bertens was broken twice in the opener but managed to break back immediately each time and dominated the ensuing tiebreak as the Australian gave up six straight points to hand her opponent the initiative. The world No.12 extended to 9-13 her win-loss record in tiebreaks this season but she immediately fell behind 2-0 in the second set before coming back to take a 4-3 lead with a break, but Tomljanovic broke in the 10th game when Bertens netted a forehand, giving the Australian the second set.
Tomljanovic again took a 2-0 lead in the final set, hitting a blistering forehand to the back of the court on break point that Bertens could only watch streak past her. But the Dutch player again staged a comeback, not dropping another game.