22 July 2014
South Africa’s Chanelle Scheepers came up just short of winning the second WTA title of her career on the weekend when she went down to Mona Barthel in the final of the Swedish Open in Bastad.
The 24-year-old German triumphed 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) to claim her third WTA title in the last clay court tournament of the year, after previous title successes in Hobart and Paris.
In a tournament littered with upsets, not one of the eight seeds made the quarterfinals, and none of the women who beat them progressed to the semi-finals.
Scheepers opened her challenge with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Colombia’s Mariana Duque-Marino and followed that up with a hard-fought 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over qualifier Laura Siegemund of Germany.
The South African number one was again taken to three sets in the quarterfinals, where she downed Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
She then booked her place in the title-decider with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over the Slovakian Jana Cepelova.
Barthel, meanwhile, saw off Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic in straight sets in the first round, and was taken to three sets by Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski in the second round.
She ran out a 6-2, 7-6 winner over Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi in the quarterfinals, and held off Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the semi-finals.
In the final, Barthel dominated the first set to take it 6-3, but Scheepers hit back quickly in the second set, breaking the German’s serve to take a 2-1 lead.
Leading 3-2, the South African saved two break points before conceding her serve to see Barthel level matters at 3-3.
The contest moved on to a tie-breaker and went with serve until Barthel secured a mini-break to lead 4-2. She went on to claim the tie-breaker 7-3, the set 7-6, and with it the match.
“It’s been an amazing week for me. I cannot believe I won the title,” Barthel said afterwards. It was like a perfect week for me. I was fighting a lot. In some matches I was behind, and I was just fighting for every point.
“I’m just happy everything worked out. I love this tournament so much. I can’t wait to defend my title.”
With the victory, Barthel shot up the rankings from 61st place to 42nd. Scheepers, too, was well rewarded for her strong showing, improving from 91st place to 71st.