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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday March 7, 2020

 
Clara Tauson

Clara Tauson rolled to the title in Lyon without dropping a set, defeating Viktorija Golubic in the final.

Photo Source: Tennis Channel

In Clara Tauson’s first WTA final the nerves definitely played a role. But in the end it was her jaw-dropping game that took front and center as the 18-year-old Dane swept past Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic to claim her maiden WTA title, 6-4, 6-1 on Sunday at Lyon.

Tennis Express

It was a tricky first set, as Tauson struggled to find the court with her first serve and was broken three times. But the talented qualifier was able to do damage with her return and eventually push past Golubic to take the opener 6-4 despite a 37 percent first-serve percentage.

"My serve was definitely not working, especially in the first set I had two really good service games where I hit some aces and good first serves, but yeah it was a really weird set for my serve," Tauson said after the final. "The first one, I had no first serves and obviously when you don't have any first serves with a game like mine it's difficult to hold your serve but I kept on fighting and I knew that if I played my balls good I was going to have a chance in her games and I did and I took them so that was pretty good I think."

Helping to loosen the nerves, Tauson played a brilliant point in the third game, executing a tweener before rifling a forehand winner from the midcourt.


"I knew she was gonna lob me, so I can say I practiced it in the warmup," she said. "I do it sometimes when I don't see any other option, and I didn't see any other option on that point. It was a very low ball so I didn't have time to hit forehand or backhand, so I just went for it. When I went up to that short forehand where she drop shotted me after I thought okay 'You have to put this ball in the court, it's gonna look so good.'"

That was the start of the comeback for Tauson, who had fallen behind 2-0 quickly. After taking the opener, the Dane steadied in the second set, picked up her first-serve percentage, and saved both break points she faced in the second set.

Golubic fought back briefly, saving a bundle of championship points to hold for 1-5 and then threatened in the next game to break, but the sizzling ground game of Tauson held steady and she closed out the victory in one hour and 29 minutes.




Tauson, who dropped just 27 games in her five main draw matches, will rise from 139 to a projected 96 in Monday’s WTA rankings. She has stressed this week that it’s the process she’s focused on and not the rankings, but it is hard to imagine her not climbing higher in 2021, based on the performance she put forth in just her third WTA-level event.

"I think when I play like this, like I've been the whole week, I think I can beat some really good players, of course it's not every week I play like this for seven, eight matches, so I think this week was, I don't want to say it's easy because I've worked so hard for this.

"That it's coming now is more surprising I think. When I came here I was a qualifer I just tried to win as many matches as I could, I didn't expect this of course, so yeah, I'm very happy with this, and looking forward to the next."

Blessed with eye-catching power and consistency from the baseline, and a willingness to approach the net and shake rallies up by adding in drop shots and other wrinkles, Tauson is building a game for the future that already looks quite effective in the present.

 

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