Tauson charges to first title in Lyon

Clara Tauson completed a dream week at the Open 6ème Sens – Métropole de Lyon with a championship victory on Sunday, defeating Viktorija Golubic, 6-4, 6-1 in the final for her first WTA singles title.

“I think I played aggressive, I think I played my game, even though I missed a few balls,” Tauson, 18, said, after her win. “I didn’t really think too much about winning or losing, I thought about playing my game and just playing one point at a time, and that helped a lot.”

In the first WTA final between two qualifiers since 2017, Denmark’s Tauson needed six championship points before she at last put down the challenge by the Swiss player after 87 minutes of play.

2021 Lyon Highlights: Tauson storms past Golubic for first WTA title

In just her third WTA main-draw appearance, former junior World No.1 Tauson charged through the event without the loss of a set — which included two straight-set wins in qualifying for a 14-0 set record over the course of the week.

Read more: ‘I’m not a team player!’ – Getting to know Clara Tauson

“I think I’ve been really solid; especially after the first set, I’ve come out good in every single match,” Tauson said. “I just kept my game going. It’s been a weird week like that, normally I have some fall-outs, but I haven’t had any of those this week, so I’m very happy with that.”

Tauson kicked off her main-draw campaign with an upset of No.1 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova and rolled on to hoisting the trophy from there, improving her 2021 win-loss record to 19-3 (including ITF Challenger and qualifying results).

A bevy of breaks occurred in the first set, as seven of the 10 games were won by the returner. After dropping serve in the opening game, Tauson used penetrating groundstrokes to take leads at 4-2 and 5-3, only to see them swatted away both times by error-forcing play from Golubic.

Golubic, seeking her second career WTA title, fell behind 0-40 in the next game but saved three set points to pull back to deuce, only to then cede the set to Tauson after a double fault and a backhand miscue.

Tauson raced ahead to 5-0 in the second set and held four championship points to end her week with a bagel, but aggressive play by Golubic pulled her out of the lengthy game and put her on the scoreboard.

At 5-1, Tauson squandered a fifth match point and had to save two break points before reaching her sixth chance, but pinpoint hitting by the teenager propelled her through another challenging game, and she closed out victory by forcing an error with one final fabulous forehand.

All told, Tauson won 72 percent of points returning second serves to lead her to her win in an hour and a half, and a projected spot in the Top 100 of the WTA singles rankings for the very first time.

The doubles championship was also determined on Sunday, with top seeds Viktoria Kuzmova and Arantxa Rus edging Eugenie Bouchard and Olga Danilovic, 3-6, 7-5, [10-7] in the final.

Kuzmova and Rus had not dropped a set en route to the final, but were pushed to the limit by Bouchard and Danilovic before winning in 1 hour, 30 minutes.  

Kuzmova collected her third WTA doubles title, while it is a fourth WTA doubles title for Rus. It was their first title as a tandem.