No.6 seed Marina Bassols Ribera claimed her second WTA 125 title of 2023 at the Creand Andorra Open, defeating Erika Andreeva 7-5, 7-6(3) to win the final in 2 hours and 30 minutes.

No.145-ranked Bassols Ribera has excelled at this level throughout the season, reaching the Valencia final in June (falling to Mayar Sherif) before picking up her first career WTA 125 trophy in Ljubljana in September — both on clay. Her title run in Andorra featured two victories over former Top 20 players: in the quarterfinals, she saved two match points to come through 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 over wild card Anastasija Sevastova, and in the semifinals she defeated No.8 seed Alizé Cornet 6-4, 6-2.

“[My biggest improvement] was my mentality inside the court,” said Bassols Ribera. “I was playing good throughout the year, but this was the key to the improvement [in the past few months]. I got a lot of confidence [from defeating Sevastova and Cornet]. Long matches, too, I’m super tired now.”

The 23-year-old Spaniard narrowly eked out a title match full of incremental momentum shifts that was tightly contested to the very end. Ultimately, her proficiency in both offense and defense won out: Bassols Ribera started the match with a flurry of winners from all parts of the court, and took control of the second-set tiebreak with a pair of brilliant forehand winners on the run.

In between, the pair delivered an absorbing contest in which neither had full control for long. No.140-ranked Andreeva responded to Bassols Ribera’s excellent start by out-manoeuvring the Spaniard, reeling off four straight games to lead 4-2. But Bassols Ribera took five of the next six for the set, coming up with a series of fine passing shots and backhand winners.

Bassols Ribera was in front for most of the second set, but was unable to fully shake off her opponent. She went up a break four times, and served for the championship at 5-4 and 6-5, only for the resilient Andreeva to peg her back each time.

Andreeva, 19, had weathered two wild three-setters en route to the final, coming from 4-1 down in the decider to beat Celine Naef 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round and then triumphing 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-0 over Heather Watson in the semifinals. But the teenager was unable to make it a trio of comebacks and fell to her second WTA 125 final defeat in her past three tournaments, having lost in Rouen a month ago to Viktorija Golubic.

Sevastova makes strong comeback following maternity leave

Former World No.11 Sevastova returned to action in Andorra, playing her first tournament since the 2022 Australian Open. The 33-year-old Latvian gave birth to her first daughter, Alexandra, one year ago.

Sevastova, a US Open semifinalist in 2018 and quarterfinalist in 2016 and 2017, showed that her renowned drop shot was as lethal as ever in a pair of tenacious comeback victories. In the first round, she rebounded to defeat Irene Burillo Escorihuela 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-1 and in the second, she upset No.4 seed Dayana Yastremska 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-4. She will return to the WTA Rankings as a result on Monday.

A strong event for veterans also saw semifinal runs for Cornet, 33, and Heather Watson, 31. Cornet battled through a pair of three-set wins against Cagla Buyukakcay 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 in the first round and Nuria Parrizas Diaz 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 in the second round before upsetting No.2 seed Clara Tauson 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Watson raced past Timea Babos 7-5, 6-0 in the first round and wild card Alina Charaeva 6-2, 6-1 in the second.

There was also a significant milestone for Charaeva, the 2020 Roland Garros junior finalist. The 21-year-old has risen from No.678 to No.392 since August, and notched her first career Top 100 win with a first-round upset of No.3 seed Oceane Dodin 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Naef, 18, also scored a first-round upset, taking out No.1 seed Cristina Bucsa 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 for her second career Top 100 win.

Andreeva, Naef claim doubles title

The doubles crown went to the all-teenage duo of Andreeva and Naef, who defeated No.2 seeds Babos and Watson 6-2, 6-1 in the final to claim a maiden WTA 125 trophy each.

Andreeva and Naef were teaming up for the first time.

2023 Andorra 125 doubles champions Erika Andreeva and Celine Naef.

José Izquierdo/Creand Andorra Open


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