|Germany’s Laura Siegemund returns the ball to France’s Kristina Mladenovic during their final tennis match at the WTA Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on April 30. — AFP Photo
STUTTGART, Germany — Germany’s Laura Siegemund was the shock winner of Stuttgart’s WTA tournament on Sunday after her three-set win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic in the final.
Siegemund, ranked 49th in the world and a wild card entry for the main draw, sealed a 6-1, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5) win over Mladenovic, who had beaten Maria Sharapova in the semi-final, ending the Russian’s comeback from a 15-month doping ban.
The 29-year-old converted her first match point after nearly two and a half hours to claim only her second WTA win after victory at Bastad, Sweden, last July.
"It was an incredible match, I don’t know how I managed to win here," said the new champion.
Mladenovic praised her rival.
"Laura played some really entertaining tennis," said the 23-year-old.
Siegemund made a strong start, charging into a 4-0 lead after twice breaking Mladenovic’s serve in what proved to be a topsy-turvy first set.
The Frenchwoman, 19th in the world, broke Siegemund in the fifth game, but the German returned the compliment breaking Mladenovic straight away, then serving out to take the first set in 29 minutes.
Just as she did in her three-set win over Sharapova, Mladenovic turned things around to take the second set, breaking Siegemund twice to force a third set.
The decider swung back and forth with both players breaking the other twice to force the tie-breaker, but it was Siegemund who held her nerve to claim victory.
She drove away with the prize of a brand new Porsche sports car and US$116,000 of winnings. — AFP