American qualifier Lauren Davis claimed a 2nd WTA title in 6 years by defeating first time Italian finalist Elisabetta Cocciaretto at the Hobart International, 7-6(0) 6-2, on Saturday afternoon.
We’ve put in so much time and so much hard work and effort, and it’s such a fulfilling feeling to have all the hard work pay off. … [Hobart] feels like home to me, and I’ll be coming here for the rest of my career for sure. Lauren Davis
The 29-year-old outlasted her younger, 21-year old opponent, who is higher ranked at No 67.
“She’s an incredible fighter,” Davis said. “I knew she wouldn’t give me an edge at all so I knew, coming in, that I would have to play my best, really just show up for each and every point and do a good job of maintaining my emotions.”
Davis, who is ranked 84, upset 4th-seed and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the 1st-round and did not drop a set in 7 matches all week, including 2 qualifying rounds, while Cocciaretto’s strong run featured wins over 3rd seed Alizé Cornet in her opening round and former Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin in the semi-final.
In fact, Davis lost a total of 43 games in 14 sets, including her 6-2 6-2 win over fellow American Stephens. in the opening round of the main draw.
Meeting in an all-unseeded final, every game went to serve until the opening set tiebreak, the two players combining to save 6 break points in the first 11 games of what was eventually an 73-minute opening set.
Davis denied Cocciaretto 2 chances to win the set in the 12th game before running through the tiebreak without the loss of a point.
It was not the same tight affair, though, as the Italian, playing in her first Tour-level singles final, collapsed to a 0-5 deficit to leave her staring down the barrel of defeat.
Davis had won the first 5 games losing just 9 points, but needed the cushion she built to serve the match out after Cocciaretto won back-to-back games and 8 straight points.
The American, who was playing in a first Tour-level final since winning the trophy in Auckland in 2017, overcame losing the next 2 games to take the title.
“I have a lot of emotions going through my body right now,” a delighted Davis said after the match. “I’m just really happy, really excited. I really had to play my best in order to win today.”
Davis became the 4th qualifier in the past 11 years to lift the trophy in Hobart, following Mona Barthel in 2012, Garbiñe Muguruza in 2014, and Elise Mertens in 2017.
Thanking her coach Edward Elliot and the family who had been supporting her from the US over late nights and early mornings in the last 10 days, she added: “We’ve put in so much time and so much hard work and effort, and it’s such a fulfilling feeling to have all the hard work pay off. … [Hobart] feels like home to me, and I’ll be coming here for the rest of my career for sure.”
Davis has drawn World No 54 Danka Kovinic from Montenegro in round one of the Australian Open, while Cocciaretto, who played in the final with strapping on her left thigh but did not appear hampered, faces reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in her AO opener.
Belgian Kirsten Flipkens & Laura Siegemund from Germany took the Hobart International doubles title later on Saturday, defeating unseeded Swiss Viktorija Golubic & Panna Udvardy from Hungary, 6-4 7-5, after an 1 hour and 31 minutes.
Flipkens & Siegemund have recently been a winning combination, also taking the title together in Cluj-Napoca at the end of last year.
Hobart marks the 7th career doubles title for Flipkens, and the 10th career doubles title for Siegemund.