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Lauren Davis storms to first title in six years in Hobart
Ohio's Lauren Davis broke a six-year WTA title drought on Saturday at the Hobart International, storming to her second career trophy with a 7-6(0), 6-2 win over Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto.
The 28-year-old Davis, a former Top 30 player, came to Hobart ranked No. 84 and the No. 11 seed in qualifying. She posted two victories in qualifying before she racked up five wins in the main draw to take the title. That included a Round 1 upset of fellow American and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Davis is the fourth American, and fourth qualifier, to win the singles title in the history of the tournament, which dates back to 1993.
“I have a lot of emotions going through my body right now,” Davis said after the match. “I’m just really happy, really excited. I really had to play my best in order to win today."
Davis saved two set points in the first set of her victory over Cocciaretto, the closest she came to losing a set all week. She lost more than three games in just one other set of the 14 she played in all.
Road to the Championship - Lauren Davis
Q1: def. Kamilla Rakhimova - 6-0, 6-3
Q2: def. Kateryna Baindl (UKR) - 7-5, 6-3
R1: def. (4) Sloane Stephens (USA) - 6-2, 6-2
R2: def. Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL) - 7-6(1), 6-2
QF: def. Wang Xinyu (CHN) - 6-3, 6-2
SF: def. (Q) Anna Blinkova - 6-3, 6-3
F: def. Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) - 7-6(0), 6-2
Neither woman lost serve in an 73-minute opening set. Davis saved two break points serving down 2-1 and 3-2, and denied Cocciaretto two chances to win the set serving down 6-5 before rolling through the tiebreak without losing a point. With the Italian struggling with a leg injury in the second set, Davis lost just nine points in the first five games, but needed the big lead; Cocciaretto won back-to-back games and eight straight points before Davis closed out the match.
“She’s an incredible fighter," Davis said. "I knew she wouldn’t give me an edge at all so I knew coming in that I would have to play my best, really just show up for each and every point and do a good job of maintaining my emotions.”
Davis' last career title also came at an Australian Open tune-up event; she won the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand in 2017. She'll begin her 11th main draw at Melbourne Park against Montenegro's Danka Kovinic on Tuesday.
“We’ve put in so much time and so much hard work and effort, and it’s such a fulfilling feeling to have all the hard work pay off," Davis added in her winner's speech, thanking her coach Edward Elliot and family back home. "[Hobart] feels like home to me, and I’ll be coming here for the rest of my career for sure.”
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