'Huge confidence': Aussie gun Astra Sharma's stunning WTA first

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Australian Astra Sharma won her first ever WTA singles title by defeating world No.25 Ons Jabeur at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston. Picture: WTA
Australian Astra Sharma won her first ever WTA singles title by defeating world No.25 Ons Jabeur at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston. Picture: WTA

Just a couple of weeks after an umpiring calamity saw her crash out of the Copa Colsinatas in Colombia, Australian star Astra Sharma has claimed her first WTA title.

The Singapore-born 25-year-old took out the MUSC Health Women's Open in Charleston thanks to an impressive comeback victory over world No.25 Ons Jabeur, 2-6 7-5 6-1.

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The Australian moved up to become the new world No.120 after bouncing back in resounding fashion, having been being well and truly outplayed by Jabeur in a one-sided first set.

Sharma managed to turn things around though, romping home in the third set to earn her maiden WTA title in just under two hours.

In disbelief after the victory, Sharma said she couldn't believe she had won the title after making just one other WTA finals appearance prior.

"My mind's just blank right now - I can't believe that's just happened," she said on court after her victory.

"I don't even know what to say, I'm just so grateful to everyone who's been behind me the whole time."

Admitting that Jabeur had made her 'look silly' in the opening set, Sharma attributed the turnaround to her ability to simplify her game and outlast her opponent.

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"I thought I just kept backing myself," she said.

"She's obviously playing super well and I was getting wrong-footed she was making me look a little silly and I thought I'd just try to do my best to keep things simple and try to read what I was doing."

"This gives me huge confidence," she said, looking towards the European clay court season with her ranking set to shoot up 45 places to 120.

"Not just this win, it's the whole week, back-to-back consolidated wins. The level of play from me was great all week, so I'm so happy."

Astra Sharma topples Ons Jabeur in WTA Charleston final

While Jabeur needed treatment on her shoulder in the deciding set, she was already seriously on the back foot as Sharma's all-court athleticism and power proved too much for her.

Even though her own legs and arms were heavily strapped, Sharma used her extra fitness and long levers to defend expertly and chase down everything, including the crafty Jabeur drop shots which had been doing such damage early on.

In a tight second set, Sharma began to take the initiative and as it came to its denouement with Jabeur serving at 5-6 down, she produced her best tennis.

Astra Sharma impressed many in her comeback victory over Ons Jabeur. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)
Astra Sharma impressed many in her comeback victory over Ons Jabeur. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

At set point, not only did she manage to furiously chase down a Jabeur drop shot but also responded with a flicked short ball of her own which left the Tunisian stranded.

In the decider, Sharma again looked the fitter player and Jabeur, who had struggled with a gastric issue in the semi-final, seemed to flag and had to call for the trainer at 2-1 down, complaining of a right shoulder and upper arm problem.

There was also a ruthlessness about Sharma, as she reeled off the last four games.

With AAP

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