Clara Tauson, super talented Dane born in December 2002, caught the attention of the tennis world when she reached the semi-final in Antalya on her pro debut back in September, but that was only the beginning! 2 weeks ago, Clara advanced to the final of $15,000 event in Stockholm, as a qualifier, and yesterday she went one step further at the same venue, winning her first pro title and becoming the 14th youngest player who claimed the ITF pro title, and the second born in 2002, after Marta Kostyuk. This was only the 3rd pro event in a career for this amazing prospect and she is 12-2 so far, good enough to enter the Top 800 on the WTA rankings list, despite the fact she is among the youngest players who earned the ranking.
After a good result in the previous week, Clara received a special exemption and she didn't have to play her first round match until Wednesday, opening her campaign with a 6-2 6-2 win over Klara Milicevic, who is even younger than her, being born in 2003.
Clara finished the job in 74 minutes, losing serve once and breaking her opponent 5 times to stay in front all the time. Malene Helgo fell down in round 2 by 6-4 4-6 6-3, and she was the only player who took a set away from Tauson.
The match lasted 2 hours and 6 minutes and Clara had to work hard to emerge as a winner, saving 11 out of 14 break points and scoring 5 breaks from 6 chances she created to prevail and reach the last 8. From 3-2 down in the final set, Clara grabbed the last 4 games to score a win and move on, clinching a safe win over Weronika Jasmina Forys by 6-4 6-1 to advance to the last 4.
Clara served well, offering just 1 break point and stealing rival's serve 4 times, playing better and better as the match progressed. She scored 1 break in the first set and 3 more in set number 2, rattling off the last 6 games of the match to enter the semis.
There, she ousted Anette Munozova by 6-1 7-6, in another match that didn't last 80 minutes and took too much energy out from the young girl. It was another great serving display from Clara, who lost serve just once, and she kept the pressure on Munozova, creating 11 break points and converting 4 for the place in the final.
Tauson sailed through the opening set but she had to dig deep in the second, as Anette opened a 4-2 gap. Clara broke back in game 8 and she stayed focused in the tie break as well, taking the last 4 points from 5-3 down to seal the deal in straight sets and propel herself into the second final in as many weeks.
In the big final, Clara managed to master the 4th seed Ekaterina Yashina by 6-3 6-2 in just 69 minutes, after another dominant display! She faced just 3 break points, dropping serve twice, but the neutralized that easily with a strong performance on the return, earning 15 break points and converting 5 to lift her first pro title at such a young age.
Yashina broke in game 4 to jump into a 3-1 lead, only to lose the next 5 games and the set, as Tauson broke her 3 times in succession. Young Dane lost just 7 points on serve in set number 2 and Ekaterina couldn't follow that pace, getting broken in game 4 and 8 to hand the title to her rival.
It will be interesting to follow Clara's development in 2018, as she certainly has a lot to offer even at such a young age, and we could see some more big things from her pretty soon. Tauson's road towards the title: