(Reuters) - Aleksandra Krunic fought back from the brink for a second day running before lifting her maiden tour-level title with a battling 6-7(0) 7-5 6-1 win over Kirsten Flipkens in the final of the Libema Open in Rosmalen, s’Hertogenbosch on Sunday.
Serbian Krunic, who had to survive a match point against two-time champion and top seed CoCo Vandeweghe in Saturday’s semi-final, again stared at defeat as the Belgian Flipkens served for the match at 5-4 in the second set.
Yet the 32-year-old Flipkens, a finalist in this Dutch grass court tournament — a traditional warm-up event for Wimbledon — back in 2013, again missed out, playing a nervy game before really struggling physically.
Flipkens, who had battled through a marathon semi-final and had also been forced to retire from the doubles final on Saturday after just six games with muscle cramping in her leg, faded badly in the two hour, nine minute singles showdown.
“I don’t know how you pulled this off, mate, but the fact that you didn’t show how much pain you were in today, makes me respect you more,” the 25-year-old Krunic told Flipkens on court after winning nine of the last 10 games.
Krunic, the world No.55, became the first Serbian winner on the WTA tour since Jelena Jankovic in 2015.
Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Pritha Sarkar