Home favourite Daria Kasatkina roared back from a set and 4-1 down to win the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, denying Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur a first WTA title for her country.
But it was Kasatkina’s response to Jabeur’s injury that stole the show, with the Russian embracing her opponent who was suffering from severe cramps.
After clinching the match, Kasatkina fell to the court and wept for joy.
Then, still wiping her face, she walked round the net as Jabeur struggled to her feet – the two hugged before the Russian helped the limping Tunisian from the court.
Jabeur tweeted about the moment on Twitter, and despite her heartbreak, it was genuine.
“She was crying because she won, I was crying because I was cramping,” Jabeur tweeted.
Kasatkina survived a rollercoaster encounter to complete the turnaround for a 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 victory after two hours and five minutes on Saturday.
The pair exchanged early breaks in the opening set before Kasatkina fired a blistering forehand to take a 4-2 lead.
Heartbreak struck for Jabeur when she started to cramp, despite the Tunisian recovering early with some aggressive returns as she reeled off four games in a row to claim the first set.
— Ons Jabeur (@Ons_Jabeur) October 20, 2018
The world No.101 showed understandable signs of fatigue as the match ticked past the two-hour mark, handing Kasatkina a crucial break on her way to a second career WTA title.
At one stage she received assistance as she winced in pain with an injury, but she managed to battle on – with the players sharing a touching moment after the match.
“I remember 10 years ago as a kid I was coming here, dreaming to standing on the centre court and holding this trophy,” the 21-year-old Kasatkina said.
“It’s a dream come true.”
— Daria Kasatkina (@DKasatkina) October 20, 2018
World No.14 Kasatkina ended a run of three losses in the finals to clinch her first hardcourt title.
The victory also earned her a trip to WTA Finals in Singapore, overtaking Aryna Sabalenka as the first alternate for the season-ending tournament next week.