Former world No. 3 Nadia Petrova ended a title drought of nearly three years on Sunday, defeating top seed Shahar Peer 7-5, 6-2 in the final of the Citi Open hard-court event.
The 32-year-old Russian second seed won the final six games to capture her 10th career WTA title, her first crown since 2008 in Quebec, and improved her career record against Peer to 6-0.
“I have been waiting for this one patiently and I’m very happy to come away with my 10th title,” Petrova said. “It’s a good achievement.”
Petrova, playing in her first WTA final since New Haven 11 months ago, is battling back after a struggle with vertigo for six weeks in March and April.
“It was an important match,” Petrova said. “I’m sure it’s going to give me a lot of confidence for other tournaments.”
Peer broke Petrova to open both sets, but each time Petrova broke back in the fourth game, reaching 2-2 in the first set on a Peer double fault and in the second set on an overhead-smash winner.
“Both times, I was able to turn it around,” Petrova said. “I knew Shahar was not able to hurt me with her serve. I knew if I was serving solid, I would be very difficult to break.”
Peer, ranked eight spots above Petrova at 24th, saved three break points in the eighth game of the first set, but Petrova broke through four games later, claiming the set after 55 minutes when Peer hit a backhand beyond the baseline.
After Peer broke and held to open the second set, Petrova did not drop a game to the finish, which came after 87 minutes when Peer sent a forehand long.
“I started each set well, then I backed off a little,” Peer said. “I need to be better about this. I think it’s my next step. I just need to win the important points. This was my first match this week where I didn’t serve good.”
Peer, who began the week on a five-match losing streak, missed a chance for her sixth career WTA title. Peer, 24, won her most recent titles in 2009 in Guangzhou, China, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Peer was one victory shy of cracking the top 10 in April, but she slid from a career-high 11th in the rankings, before switching to new coach Harold Solomon.
“I’m encouraged,” Peer said. “Even though I lost, I’m in good shape. I’m improving each match. I had a great week. I have to take the positives out of it. There’s still a lot to improve, but it’s a good start for my summer.”