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Lucky loser Sara Sorribes Tormo beats Ekaterina Alexandrova for the championship in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) — Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, who received a lucky loser berth into the tournament, captured her second career singles title with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over fourth-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia at Tennis in the Land on Saturday.

Sorribes Tormo, ranked No. 95 in the world, overcame a 4-2 deficit in the second set and trailed 4-3 in the third before storming back. She broke No. 22 Alexandrova twice to close out each set, finishing the 2 hour and 27 minute match on her fourth match point at the WTA 250 event.

“I knew I was close to losing the match, so I was thinking that I have to find the solution,” she said. “My family always tells me to fight and always stay in the match, and that’s what I tried to do. I know I can run and I used that to my advantage.”

The championship was the final stop on an emotional roller-coaster for Sorribes Tormo, who was “almost crying in the players’ lounge” at the Nautica Entertainment Complex after being eliminated in the qualifying round.

When Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania became the sixth player to withdraw from the 32-woman main bracket, she informed Sorribes Tormo that four additional spots were now available. The 26-year-old subsequently picked her own name in the raffle for the first bid.

Sorribes Tormo became the sixth lucky loser in WTA history to win a singles crown. It was her first title since 2021 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“One week ago, I was out of the tournament, and today I am here,” she said, smiling. “Someone told me they call this Believeland. It must be true.”

Alexandrova, the lone seed to advance past the quarterfinals, fired all four aces in the match, but was broken in her last three service games. She failed to score a point in one of them and committed two of her 14 double-faults in the finale.

“Sara had an amazing week and played an amazing match today,” Alexandrova said. “It was quite an enjoyable week for everyone.”

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia won the inaugural Tennis in the Land title in 2021 and Liudmila Samsonova of Russia was the defending champion. All matches were played outdoors on a hard court, in a temporary downtown stadium, for the first time this year.

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis