Seventh-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova delivered a great performance in her first final on grass as she ousted top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 6-0 in the Libema Open final in 's-Hertogenbosch. Alexandrova made a slow start to the match as Sabalenka claimed the first break of the match in the sixth game to open a 4-2 lead.
Down by a break, Alexandrova responded by breaking Sabalenka in the seventh and 11th games to overturn the deficit and win the first set. Sabalenka's game fell apart after failing to close out the first set as Alexandrova claimed three breaks in the second set to complete a straight-set win.
"Grass is a difficult surface for everyone because the bounce is unpredictable," Alexandrova said. "You just need to try to do your best in every single shot because you don't know what's going to come next. When I played the first match here, I would never expect to play finals here and win the title.
It was so bad, I couldn't hit anything inside the court. But match after match, it was easier to find the rhythm and find the game. In the last match, I found it, and I just tried to keep it during the whole match."
Alexandrova confident in her game
In the past, Alexandrova pretty much hated playing on clay and she considered grass as a very tricky surface.
This past season clay season, Alexandrova reached semifinals in Charleston in Madrid. Alexandrova didn't win a title during the clay swing but she kicked off her grass season with a title in 's-Hertogenbosch. "I played good on the clay, which I thought never would happen because I hated the clay so much," Alexandrova said.
"But I played semifinals of Madrid on clay. For me, it was like, if I can play good on clay, I can play on any surface. It helps a lot, it's a good confidence boost. I just want to keep it like it was this week and hope for the best."