Kicking off the 2019 campaign with just five tournaments in the opening three months, Petra Martic found the form in Charleston where she scored some rock-solid wins before Caroline Wozniacki halted her in the semi-final.
Taking a few weeks off, Petra returned to action in Istanbul as the 6th seed and went all the way to lift the first WTA title, beating the Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 49 minutes. The Croat won all three previous encounters against Marketa and she prevailed again after a slow start, recovering her strokes in set number two and marching towards the finish line with a dominant performance in the decider.
Two years ago, Martic was ranked outside the top-600 after a back injury, bouncing back in the rest of the season and wrapping up a fantastic 2018 campaign in the top-35, eager to attack the first crown that came today in Istanbul.
Both players had more errors than winners and it was Martic who tamed her strokes nicely in sets two and three to overpower the young rival and cross the finish line first. The Croat won just four points more than the Czech, with both facing 11 break points.
Marketa converted five of those but they all came in the first five return games, opening a set and a break lead before Petra fought back with a double break at the start of the second set, settling into a nice rhythm and saving six out of seven break chances in the second part of the match to grab it 6-4.
Martic was the favorite in the decider now and Vondrousova was unable to end her downfall despite some rock-solid tennis this week, getting broken three times in a row and sending Petra over the top after a forehand error in game seven.