Third time lucky as Suarez Navarro wins in Portugal
Carla Suarez Navarro returns the ball to Svetlana Kuznetsova during the Portugal Open final at Jamor stadium in Oeiras, outskirts of Lisbon, on May 3, 2014 - by Francisco Leong
The Spanish top seed beat Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours, 10 minutes for her first career trophy after finishing on the losing side in her first five finals.
"I'm very happy that I've finally won a title," said the champion. "I was nervous today, it's not easy playing here.
"On match point I was only thinking about putting the ball in. It felt really good when it was all over. This was a very special day for me, my most special moment so far."
Suarez Navarro came from 1-4 down in the final set when it looked like two-time Grand Slam title winner Kuznetsova finally had the fluctuating match under control.
But Suarez Navarro, who had lost three of her previous four matches against the 29th-ranked Kuznetsova, refused to give up.
Kuznetsova, the seventh seed, dropped serve in the sixth and eighth games and went down to the loss on the first of two match points for her Spanish opponent.
The 15th-ranked Suarez Navarro leapt in the air in delight and rushed to hug her coaching team in the stands.
"The most important thing was to play solid all the time," said Suarez Navarro. "That was not easy as we were both making mistakes.
"We both wanted to win this final, it was a close match all the way through. She played better than me at the start but I finished better at the end."
Kuznetsova commented: "It was a tough match and I'm disappointed that I could not hold on at the end.
"But I did better than I had expected this week, there is still time for me to get even more prepared for Roland Garros."
The Spaniard was playing this week after recovering from a wrist inflammation which forced her to abandon a match last week in Stuttgart.