It’s a memorable first for Beatriz Haddad Maia.
The 26-year-old Brazilian tennis player defeated USA’s Alison Riske 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the Rothesay Open final to claim her first WTA Tour singles title.
She improves to 1-1 in WTA singles finals, having previously finished as runner-up to Jelena Ostapenko at 2017 Seoul. Riske is now 3-10 in WTA singles finals.
In her Nottingham tournament debut, Haddad Maia battled through the field to collect the first WTA singles title by a Brazilian since Teliana Pereira triumphed at Florianopolis 2015.
Haddad Maia had already been posting strong results in recent weeks. She won her first WTA 125 title in Saint-Malo in May, then followed that up with a run to the WTA 125 Paris final the following week, helping her hit a new peak in the rankings.
Simply by making the Nottingham final, Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian woman to reach a grass-court singles final since Maria Bueno finished runner-up to Margaret Court at Chestnut Hill in 1968.
Earlier in the week, Haddad Maia had knocked top seed Maria Sakkari out in the quarterfinals, which was the left-hander’s fifth consecutive win in her last five meetings against Top 5 players.
Haddad Maia claimed the only break of the first set to lead 2-1, and she took the one-set lead with her second ace of the day. But the second set was all Riske, as the American charged to a 5-0 lead, then came back from 0-40 down to tie up the final.
In the third set, errors by Haddad Maia gave Riske an early break at 2-1, but heavy hitting by the Brazilian allowed her to immediately get back on serve. At 4-3, a terrific passing winner on the sideline gave Haddad Maia double break point, and she claimed that game after a double fault by Riske.
Serving for the championship at 5-3, Haddad Maia coolly wrapped up the match, drawing two return miscues in a row from Riske to complete the last game and grab the crown.
Haddad Maia’s run puts her in a strong position to be seeded at Wimbledon, as she’s projected to rise to a career-best No. 32.