Andorra | Bassols Ribera claims Andorra Open WTA 125 title

Marina Bassols Ribera, the 6th seed from Spain, claimed her second WTA 125 title of 2023 at the Creand Andorra Open, defeating Russian Erika Andreeva, 7-5 7-6(3), to win the final after a 2 hour 30 minute battle.

[My biggest improvement] was my mentality inside the court. I was playing good throughout the year, but this was the key to the improvement [in the past few months]. I got a lot of confidence [from defeating Sevastova and Cornet]. Long matches, too, I'm super tired now. Marina Bassols Ribera

Bassols Ribera, ranked 145, has excelled at this level throughout the season, reaching the Valencia final in June, when she fell to Egypt’s Mayar Sherif, before picking up her first career WTA 125 trophy in Ljubljana in September, both on clay.

Her title run in Andorra featured two wins over former Top 20 players, coming through her quarter-final after saving 2 match points, 2-6 7-6(4) 6-4, against wild-card Anastasija Sevastova from Latvia, while in the semi-finals she defeated 8th-seeded seed Alizé Cornet from France, 6-4 6-2.

“[My biggest improvement] was my mentality inside the court,” said Bassols Ribera. “I was playing good throughout the year, but this was the key to the improvement [in the past few months].

“I got a lot of confidence [from defeating Sevastova and Cornet]. Long matches, too, I’m super tired now.”

The 23-year-old Spaniard narrowly eked out a title match full of incremental momentum shifts that was tightly contested to the very end but, ultimately, her proficiency in both offence and defence won out.

Bassols Ribera started the match with a flurry of winners from all parts of the court, and took control of the second-set tiebreak with a pair of brilliant forehand winners on the run.

In between, the pair delivered an absorbing contest in which neither had full control for long.

No.140-ranked Andreeva responded to Bassols Ribera’s excellent start by out-manoeuvring the Spaniard, reeling off 4 straight games to lead 4-2, but the Spaniard took 5 of the next 6 for the set, coming up with a series of fine passing shots and backhand winners.

Bassols Ribera was in front for most of the second, but was unable to fully shake off her opponent.

She went up a break 4 times, and served for the championship at 5-4 and 6-5, only for the resilient Andreeva to peg her back each time.

Andreeva, 19, had weathered 2 wild three-setters en route to the final, coming from 4-1 down in the decider to beat Swiss Celine Naef, 2-6 6-4 6-4, in the 2nd-round and then triumphing 6-7(6) 7-5 6-0 over Britain’s Heather Watson in the semi-finals.

The teenager was unable to make it a trio of comebacks, though, and fell to her second WTA 125 final defeat in her past 3 tournaments, having lost in Rouen a month ago to another Swiss, Viktorija Golubic.

2023 Andorra 125 doubles champions Erika Andreeva & Celine Naef.

José Izquierdo/Creand Andorra Open/

Sevastova, a former World No 11, returned to action in Andorra, playing her first tournament since the 2022 Australian Open, the 33-year-old Latvian having given birth to her first daughter, Alexandra, one year ago.

A US Open semi-finalist in 2018 and quarter-finalist in 2016 and 2017, Sevastova showed that her renowned drop shot was as lethal as ever in a pair of tenacious come-back victories.

In the 1st-round, she rebounded to defeat Spain’s Irene Burillo Escorihuela, 6-7(6) 6-2 6-1, and, in the second, she upset No 4 seed Dayana Yastremska from Ukraine, 6-7(3) 6-1 6-4.

A strong event for veterans also saw semi-final runs for Cornet, 33, and Heather Watson, 31.

Cornet battled through a pair of 3-set wins against Cagla Buyukakcay from Turkey, 1-6 7-6(4) 6-3, in the 1st-round and Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz, 6-1 2-6 6-1, in the 2nd-round before upsetting No 2 seed Clara Tauson from Denmark. 6-3 6-4 in the quarters.

Watson raced past Timea Babos from Hungary, 7-5 6-0, in her opening round and Russian wild-card Alina Charaeva and 2020 Roland Garros junior finalist, 6-2 6-1, in round 2.

21-year old Charaeva has risen from No 678 to 392 in the rankings since August, and notched her first career Top 100 win with a 1st-round upset of French No 3 seed Oceane Dodin, 3-6 6-2 6-2.

18-year old Naef also scored a 1st-round upset, taking out top seed Cristina Bucsa, a Moldovan-born Spaniard, 4-6 6-3 6-4, for her second career Top 100 win.

The doubles title went to the all-teenage duo of Andreeva & Naef, who defeated Babos & Watson, the No 2 seeds, 6-2 6-1, in the final to claim a maiden WTA 125 trophy each.

Andreeva and Naef were teaming up for the first time.



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