Astra Sharma has won her first WTA title after defeating heavy favourite Ons Jabeur the no. 1 seed.
Sharma at the start of the week was ranked at no. 165 with Jabeur ranked at no. 27. The Tunisian went into the match with an 18/7 win / loss record for the year, Sharma was 10/6.
In the past three rounds Jabeur won at least one set 6-0 including a 6-3, 6-0 semifinal win over Danka Kovinic.
Sharma started the week after having dropped a lot of points after losing in the first round in Bogota, a tournament that she reached the final in 2019.
There was also the disappointment of having lost a match where she had a game stolen in controversial circumstances, not only that she was treated as the villain on social media.
Sharma had survived some tough matches, especially her round two match against the no. 8 seed Madison Brengle where Sharma fought back from 1-4 down in the third set.
In her semifinal match Sharma accounted for last weeks title winner in Bogota, Colombia’s María Camila Osorio Serrano.
Based on the odds an easy win for Jabeur was expected.
Jabeur had the first break point opportunity however hit a shot well long to lose that point. A perfectly hit lob earned Jabeur another chance.
This time it would be converted after Sharma hit a shot that clipped the net and sailed over the baseline.
The no. 1 seed then comfortably held serve to consolidate the break and lead 3-1 after 15 minutes.
Sharma was down another break point after a wild forehand went well long. A backhand return clipped the net cord and went wide to see the score at deuce.
Jabeur earned yet another break point after a drop shot took Sharma to the net. The Australian answered with another drop shot however Jabeur quickly got to the ball and pushed it down the line for a winner.
A serve and volley play helped Sharma force an error from the Tunisian to save a break point for the third time.
A glorious backhand winner gave Jabeur another opportunity to break. This time she would hit a winner to go up a double break at 4-1.
Another solid service game from Jabeur and she was up 5-1 and in total control.
Sharma would hold serve to force her opponent to serve out the first set. The top seed was able to win that game to take the set 6-2 after 34 minutes.
Sharma had a look at her first break point in the fourth game after an error from Jabeur saw the score at 30-40. A forehand winner that took the line save that.
A mishit forehand from Jabeur gave the Australian another chance. A big forehand from the Tunisian had her opponent on the stretch. Good defence saw Sharma reach the ball and push it back. Luckily it hit the net and fell onto Jabeur’s side, she netted the next shot and suddenly Sharma was up 3-1.
Jabeur had two break points at 15-40 and with a look at a second serve. Sharma hit wide to see the break conceded.
A service hold from the top seed saw the score at 3-3. Sharma could have easily faded away at this stage.
The key game came at 5-6 with Jabeur serving. She was 40-15 and looking likely to send the set into a tie breaker.
Instead she hit a forehand into the net and then the next point saw Sharma on the run when she whipped a forehand cross court for deuce. Another forehand into the net from Jabeur and it was set point.
Jabeur played a drop shot and Sharma answered with a scoop drop shot that was a winner. After a 41 minute second set the match was going into a third set.
Sharma held serve to lead 1-0. In the next game Jabeur played a drop shot at 30-30 only to see it sit up for Sharma to hit a winner and see her with a break point.
Another attempted drop shot just hit the net for Sharma to take the game.
Jabeur was now looking in trouble. She was bent over at the back of the court in some discomfort.
Straight away Jabeur earned two break back points at 15-40. It would take just one point to break back.
The trainer then raced out to attend to Jabeur who was point to her right shoulder or bicep area. She received treatment during a medical time out before taking to the court again.
At 30-30 Jabeur attempted a drop shot that landed just wide. A deep shot that skidded off the line saw Sharma miss her next shot to go back to deuce.
The chair umpire was being kept busy with several close calls to inspect the ball marks from.
A terrific return from Sharma saw Jabeur late to a ball that she hit wide and another break point was hers. The next shot Jabeur short armed into the net to concede the game.
Jabeur would not hold serve in the third set and with Sharma winning her service games the title was the Australian’s. Sharma won 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 to claim her first WTA level title.
Sharma’s ranking has jumped to no. 120. Still some way to go to beat her career high of no. 85.
“I just kept backing myself,” Sharma said about how she turned the match around. “She’s obviously playing super well and I wasn’t really finding the court. I was getting wrong-footed and she was making me look a little silly. I just tried to do my best and try and read what she was doing.”
“To come out of this with a win, it’s really unexpected, it’s amazing for me, I have no words,” Sharma told the press after her win. “It hasn’t really sunk in that I won, I’m so happy.”
“There’s so many weeks where you come so close, and it’s rare to finally end a week on a win,” Sharma said. “Two years ago in Bogota, when I was so close, the nerves got the better of me.
“This time, I was a lot more calm and just held my nerve really well. Especially with Ons playing such high-level tennis in the first, I thought I did well to just reset in the second and just keep making her come up with the same shots.”
Winners were 26 to 12 in favour of Jabeur and unforced errors were 27 to 15 with Sharma hitting less. Jabeur won four from seven break points with Sharma five from seven.