Poland’s Magdalena Frech won the Thoreau Tennis Open in Concord, Massachusetts, on Sunday, defeating the No 8 seed Renata Zarazua from Mexico in the WTA 125 final.
I want to be main draw in the Australian Open. That's my goal, and I will do anything to be there. Magdalena Frech
Unseeded, Frech captured the biggest title of her career with her 6-3 7-6(4) win, coming from an early break down in both sets in 2 hours 3 minutes.
It was a battle between two players more reliant on speed and strategy from the baseline than outright power with extended exchanges.
Frech’s superior serve proved pivitol as the World No 153 sent down 5 aces and won 71% of her first serve points compared to Zarazua’s 62%.
“During the whole of the tournament, I think my serve was key,” said Frech afterwards. “I was patient and I knew I can serve very well and earn the points.”
The 23-year-old also pointed towards a previous encounter with Mexican World No 137 Zarazua this April, in the Charleston ITF W100 quarterfinals, as important.
“I won that in straight sets,” Frech recalled. “It was different conditions, it was very windy and on clay, but I knew Renata and how she played.
“So I knew the tactics today from the beginning. But it was so tough, because she played so well – she was so sharp.”
Off-court, Frech was also able to enjoy some home comforts, staying with Polish friends in private housing during her stay.
“Actually, they are almost like family now,” she said. “I felt so good in the house, the atmosphere and everything.
“I could relax after the matches. Polish food, Polish breakfast and speaking the Polish language – that was all important!”
Frech’s title run also included quality wins over No 9 seed Storm Sanders from Australia, 6-3 6-2, in the second round and Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva, the 4th seed, 7-5 6-3, in the semi-finals.
It was her gruelling 2 hour 43-minute 6-4 4-6 7-5 quarter-final defeat of Katrina Scott, though, that was the turning point for Frech, having trailed the 17-year-old American wild-card 2-5 in the deciding set, and saving 2 match points as she reeled off the last 5 games for the match.
“That was the moment where I knew I can win every match, even if I’m 2-5 in the third set and two match points for her,” recalled Frech. “She played really well, actually unbelievable – her rallies were so great.
“[Before this week] I felt confident, I knew that I was prepared, that I can beat some players. But I didn’t know I could win the whole tournament.”
The quarter-final round contained some of the week’s finest tennis at the Thoreau Club, with Frech and Scott having to complete their match the following day after 2 preceding matches turned into marathon battles.
The first was Zarazua’s 6-3 2-6 7-5 upset of No 2 seed Hsieh Su-We from Taipei, an encounter that featured multi-deuce tussles as it reached its third-set climax, both excelling on the drop-shot and the lob, with the Mexican holding firm to close out victory despite a late Hsieh fightback from 5-3 to 5-5.
That match was followed by another gripping meeting as Zvonareva delivered a 5-7 6-2 6-4 come-back over Georgian qualifier Mariam Bolkvadze in 2 hours 50 minutes.
Then Zarazua backed up her Hsieh upset with a second Top 100 victory in a row, defeating No 3 seed Madison Brengle, 2-6 6-4 6-2, to reach her first WTA 125 final.
Frech will aim to consolidate her position as she nears a Top 100 debut, having previously reached a career-high of World No 115 in July 2018, as the Concord title sees her rise back to 130 this week.
“I want to be main draw in the Australian Open,” she declared. “That’s my goal, and I will do anything to be there.”
Elsewhere, World No 372 Scott’s performance turned heads as the teenager had scored her first Top 100 win in last week’s 125 event in Charleston on green clay, and immediately backed it up with her second this week by upsetting No 5 seed Lauren Davis 7-6(1) 7-5 in the first round.
Peangtarn Plipuech & Jessy Rompies also broke new ground to become the Concord doubles champions.
In an all-unseeded final, the Thai-Indonesian duo overcame Usue Maitane Arconada & Cristina Bucsa, 3-6 7-6(5) [10-8] to win their first WTA 125 title.
The final was the second knife-edge match tiebreak that Plipuech & Rompies had won. In the semi-finals, they saved one match point before defeating Galina Voskoboeva & Zvonareva 4-6 6-1 [11-9].