Kiki Bertens wins Korea Open in 3 sets over Ajla Tomljanovic

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Kiki Bertens won her third WTA Tour singles title of the season on Sunday and denied Ajla Tomljanovic her career first with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-2 win over the Croatian-born Australian.

The second-seeded Bertens, who won the final six games of the match, was a service break down twice in the first set, but fought back to level and then dominated the tiebreaker thanks to a strong first serve.

Bertens was behind 2-0 in the second set before coming back to take a 4-3 lead with a break, but Tomljanovic broke in the 10th game when Bertens netted a forehand, giving the Australian the second set.

Tomljanovic again took a 2-0 lead in the final set, hitting a blistering forehand to the back of the court on break point that Bertens could only watch streak past her. But the Dutch player again staged a comeback, not dropping another game.

The consolation prize for Tomljanovic, who ended Hsieh Su-wei's eight-match winning streak in the semifinals, will be a big jump in the rankings.

Tomljanovic, who has lost all three WTA finals she has contested, was ranked in the 900s nearly three years ago due to persistent shoulder problems. But she has moved steadily up in the rankings and is projected to reach at least No. 44 next week.

The No. 12-ranked Bertens had dropped only one set going in to the final, while Tomljanovic needed three sets in each of her previous matches.

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Updated September 23, 2018

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