Lauren Davis won a third-set tiebreak to claim the Midland title.
© Robert Spears Photography
By McCarton Ackerman, special to USTA.com
MIDLAND, Mich. – The hallmark 25th anniversary of the Dow Corning Tennis Classic at the Midland Community Tennis Center concluded on Sunday with two marathon matches. The fighting spirit that No. 1-seeded American Lauren Davis had shown all week was on full display in her third-set tiebreak win over unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia, while the unseeded pairing of Melinda Czink of Hungary and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia prevailed in the doubles final.
In a match that took well over two hours to complete, Davis took the title, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2), over Tomljanovic. The teenagers are no strangers to each other, having practiced together many times at the Evert Tennis Academy in Florida.
Tomljanovic struggled to find the range on her shots early on in the match, allowing Davis to comfortably take the opening set. The wear and tear on the American’s body after numerous long matches this week began to show in the second set, however, as Tomljanovic reeled off five consecutive games on her way to the second set.
"After the first set, my energy level went down," said Davis. "But if you want something bad enough, you’ve got to find the energy."
Things looked bleak for Davis in the final set, as she went down 2-0 to the Croatian. But as she had done all week, the No. 1 seed showed remarkable resistance in clawing her way back into the match. She fought off break points on her serve at 4-4 and 5-5 to help bring the match into a tiebreak, and she saved her best tennis for the end. As Davis continued to track down balls that would be winners against most players, Tomljanovic began to overhit on her forehand. Davis won the first four points of the tiebreak and rode the momentum the rest of the way, converting on her second match point.
Davis, who was ranked No. 90 coming into Midland and will move up to No. 77 when rankings are released on Monday, had never won a title at the $100,000 level before.
"I have so many dreams and so many visions, and this is part of it," said Davis. "It’s another step to where I want to go."
In the doubles final, Czink and Lucic-Baroni rallied from a set down to defeat the Brazilian-British team of Maria-Fernanda Alves and Samantha Murray, 5-7, 6-4, 10-7.
"I’ve had such a great week here," said Czink. "Some of the WTA tournaments should come here and see how you guys run this because it really is a great tournament."
The Dow Corning Tennis Classic has completed its 25th year on the USTA Pro Circuit, making it the longest-running women’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit. Several former competitors at the event have gone on to win Grand Slam titles and reach the Top 10 in the rankings, including seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and Olympic gold medalist Justine Henin, four-time Grand Slam singles champion Maria Sharapova, two-time Grand Slam singles champion Mary Pierce, 2011 French Open singles champion Li Na, 2010 French Open singles champion Francesca Schiavone and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Anna Kournikova.