STUTTGART, Germany - German wildcard Laura Siegemund thrilled her home crowd by winning the second and biggest title of her career at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, outlasting French youngster Kristina Mladenovic, 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(5).
Siegemund first made the Stuttgart final 12 months ago as a qualifier, and was among the last into the main draw this year, earning a wildcard. Once there, the German veteran continued her habit of eliminating Top 10 opposition in Stuttgart, knocking out another three this week in Svetlana Kuznetsova, Karolina Pliskova, and Simona Halep en route to her second straight final.
On the other half of the draw was Mladenovic, who earned quite a few quality wins of her own to dispatch top seed Angelique Kerber, Carla Suárez Navarro, and three-time champion Maria Sharapova to book her second final of the season after winning her maiden title at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
Accustomed to playing drawn-out thrillers, Siegemund appeared poised for a quick victory on Sunday, racing through the opening set in 29 minutes, winning twice as many points and hitting eight winners throughout.
Mladedenovic gamely leveled from there, racing out to a 4-1 lead of her own and never looking back, matching Siegemund for winners (six to six) but hitting seven fewer unforced errors (four to 11), and converting the only two break points of the set.
The decider was a topsy-turvy affair; Siegemund served for the match in the tenth game only to serve to stay in it two games later. Down 1-4 in the ensuing tiebreak, the German won six of the next seven points, clinching the championships on an audacious passing shot in response to a Mladenovic drop shot.
In all, Siegemund hit one more winner and two fewer errors, winning just two more points in the closely-fought encounter.
The win will return her to the Top 30 - three spots shy of her career-high ranking - while runner-up Mladenovic moves up to No.7 on the Porsche Race to Singapore leaderboard.
Hear more from Siegemund in the latest edition of WTA Insider's Champions Corner:
Get on the Porsche Race to Singapore to see who are amongst the top 8 in the Leaderboard update!
This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.