NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Australian Daria Gavrilova doesn’t hide her emotions on the tennis court – and she put them on full display Saturday in winning her first WTA tournament title.
The unseeded 23-year-old, who was born in Russia, upset second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Connecticut Open.
She finished her comeback from a set down by breaking the 11th-ranked Slovak in the final game, hitting a forehand winner, throwing her racket and jumping into the air in jubilation.
Gavrilova, ranked 26th in the world, gesticulated wildly throughout the match and yelled “Come on” after every big point. That included the turning point in the match, when she broke Cibulkova to go up 3-2 in the second set in a game that featured a 30-shot rally and five deuces.
The match was extremely close with Gavrilova winning 105 points and Cibulkova taking 102.
Both players had problems early serving into the sun. There were five service breaks in the first set all from the same end of the court.
Cibulkova broke at love in the 10th game to take that set when Gavrilova hit a shot into the net and then screamed in frustration.
Cibulkova relied heavily on her forehand, making winner after winner. She had 32 of them in the match, but Gavrilova had 35.
The Australian broke Cibulkova again in the ninth game of the second set, pumping her fist wildly as she sent the match into a third set.
The two also traded breaks in the third set before the decisive 10th game.
Gavrilova, who beat top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals, is 9-18 in her career against opponents ranked in the Top 10. Cibulkova came in ranked 11th. She had been as high as fourth earlier this season.
Cibulkova, who won four times on Tour last year, has not had a victory this season. She was looking for her ninth career win and her first in New Haven in her 8th appearance at the tournament. She had never before made it past the quarterfinals.
Gavrilova began playing for Australia in 2015 after moving from her native Russia at age 18. She became the first player to win her first WTA title in New Haven.
Neither player will get much of a rest before starting play in the U.S. Open. Both are in the bottom half of the draw and will play on Monday. Cibulkova will face fellow Slovakian Jana Cepelova and Gavrilova will face American Allie Kiick.