BAKU (WTA)—Margarita Gasparyan and her gorgeous one-handed backhand won an all-WTA Rising Star final against Patricia Maria Tig to win the first Women’s Tennis Aassociation title of her career at the Baku Cup.
A day earlier, the two upstarts—Gasparyan unseeded, Tig a qualifier—took out the Top 2 seeds in the semifinals of the International event, Tig beating No.1 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Gasparyan No.2 seed Karin Knapp—and both of them brought their very best with the title on the line, too.
Gasparyan came out stronger, breaking twice en route to taking the first set then getting another crucial break to serve for the match in the second set at 6-3, 5-4. Tig stormed back—she broke back at love and ended up stealing the set a few games later. But Gasparyan and that backhand bounced right back, storming through the third set to seal the two-hour-and-29-minute encounter, 6-3, 5-7, 6-0.
Before this week, Gasparyan had never even won a match at the WTA main draw level—she was 0-5 in five WTA main draws. She drew high praise from Serena Williams at Wimbledon, though.
The Russian national of Armenian descent also pulled off a bit of a first—she’s the first player with a one-handed backhand to win a WTA title this year. It’s actually been over a year since the last time it happened. The last time a player with a one-handed backhand won a WTA title was at Oeiras in April 2014 (Carla Suárez Navarro).
And Gasparyan didn’t stop there, either. She came on court a little bit later and won the doubles title. Seeded No.1 alongside Alexandra Panova, she beat No.2 seeds Vitalia Diatchenko and Olga Savchuk in the final, 6-3, 7-5. They fought off two set points with their opponents serving 5-4 second set.
“It’s been an amazing tournament for me,” Gasparyan said.
“It was an amazing atmosphere in the final today. I want to thank all the people who’ve supported me, like my hitting partner Misha, my doubles partner Alexandra and all of the organization here,” she said
“It’s a very good tournament and I will always remember my week here.”
The No.112-ranked Gasparyan is projected to break the Top 100 for the first time now.
It was a breakthrough week for Tig, too. Before this week she had only won one WTA-level match, at Bucharest a few weeks ago. In Baku the young Romanian made it all the way to her first WTA final.