Sam Stosur continued her great run of form at the Japan Open in recent years by securing her second title in Osaka, grinding out a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 over the rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard.
The game started in surprise fashion though, as the Australian failed to settle immediately into the final and Bouchard capitalised, grasping hold of the first set.
She broke Stosur with seeming ease three times in the first set and as a result, won the first set 6-3.
The game then seemed in her control because with it neatly posed at 5-5 in the second set, if Bouchard could hold she would at least force a tie break, moving her closer to a maiden victory.
Stosur sensed this danger and showed her professionalism, raising her game and proving too much for the Canadian on her serve, moving 6-5 ahead and then holding her own serve to level the match.
The resistance of Bouchard seemed to be broken by the late second set rally from Stosur, as despite looking strong in her first service game, she was then broken twice in a string of four straight games from Stosur, taking the game to 5-1.
Bouchard then held to stave off the somewhat inevitable for at least one more game.
This was all it proved to be, as Stosur never looked likely to drop the game, her focus on the title far too strong to let her form slip.
Game, set and match was then called, giving Stosur a 3-6,7-5,6-2 comeback to experience success again at the Utsubo Tennis Centre.
For Stosur it capped a difficult year, as her form has been indifferent, as despite dropping to 20th in the WTA World Rankings, she has won two titles having experienced victory at the Carlsbad Open earlier in the season.
She will certainly be looking to improve her Grand Slam performances next year though, as she didn’t progress further than the third round at any of the 4 this year.
Eugenie Bouchard shouldn't be deflated though, as she certainly played her part in the match, despite it being her first WTA Tour final appearance, it was just Stosur’s superior experience and knowledge of how to get the game won that proved the difference.
At just 19, she has already been tipped as a future Grand Slam winner and is very likely to have a chance to banish her final demons in the near future.
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