After an intense battle featuring a contrast of styles, Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens emerged victorious over American wild card CoCo Vandeweghe 7-6(4), 6-4. The match, which lasted 1hr41min, featured incredible shot-making from both athletes. A few important games and points were all that separated the two competitors.
The first set started with Vandeweghe breaking Flipkens and then holding serve, and was followed up with a tough six-deuce game where the American had three break point opportunities.
“In the beginning, she started off really well,” said Flipkens about her opponent. “She was up 2-0, 15-40 on my serve, so it was a long game and a good hold on my side. But I knew from that point, if I wasn’t going to play a little more aggressive and instead just wait for her mistakes, that wasn’t going to work. So every opportunity I would get, I had to take it and go for it.”
After trading breaks to get to 3-3, they held serve to force an all-important tiebreak. An incredible lob by Flipkens at 4-2 gave her the momentum and she closed it out 7-4.
The second set also saw opportunities for both players to gain the upper hand, but it was Flipkens who took the bigger points and swung the match in her favor.
“She defended her break points really well,” said Vandeweghe. “I had a couple in the second set, but she did a great job of holding her ground. She mixed up the pace really well, which I knew she was going to do. She passed really well when I was up at the net, kept me on my toes by not being predictable and took advantage of my second serve by putting me on my back foot with her returns.”
After breaking for 3-2, Flipkens stayed steady and stuck to her game plan to close out the match with a strong hold at love. Vandeweghe was the fifth American in a row that she defeated, having knocked Hailey Baptiste, CiCi Bellis, Caty McNally and Irina Falconi out of the competition in her previous rounds.
Flipkens leaves Houston with a title and a great feeling to close out her 2019 season.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “It’s an awesome feeling to end the season with a win, it doesn’t happen that often. It gives me a lot of satisfaction going into 2020.”