Two of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's brightest young stars went to battle in the Tashkent Open final on Sunday.
It was Sorana Cirstea who rose to the top on this occasion, coming back from the brink in the third set and edging Sabine Lisicki in a third set tie-break to capture her first title at the Tier IV event.
"I'll cherish the title in Tashkent forever as it is my first title; I was desperate to take my first title!" Cirstea added.Cirstea was a runner-up in her first career final, losing to Gisela Dulko in three sets on the clay courts of Budapest last spring.
"I've been improving a lot since my first final, and I'm looking for many more titles. I'm also extremely happy to wear the traditional Uzbek dress, which has become the trademark of this event."
But it was second time lucky in Tashkent this year, as the 18-year-old came back from the brink to emphatically beat her 19-year-old opponent, who was playing in her first career final.
"I made some mistakes and missed too many easy shots; it was my first final and I'm happy to have come so far, but I'm sad to lose," Lisicki said.
"Although I might have missed a lot of shots today, in the future these shots will be my weapons. My goal is to be a Top 10 player and I'm going to work even harder."
With Cirstea, Lisicki and Peng all reaching the semifinals, the only Top 4 seed not reaching the semifinals was No.2 seed Olga Govortsova.
In her stead it was No.5 seed Magdalena Rybarikova who reached the final four before retiring against Cirstea due to illness after dropping the first set, 6-3.
Also making noise in Tashkent was Portuguese phenom Michelle Larcher de Brito, who reached a Tour quarterfinal for the first time in her very green career.
The doubles final took the court on Saturday as well, with Ioana Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk beating Nina Bratchikova and Kathrin Woerle in a match tie-break, 5-7, 7-5, 10-7.
Both Olaru and Savchuk picked up their first Tour titles of any kind; and while Olaru had reached one Tour doubles final - at Budapest earlier this year, finishing runner-up - Savchuk was playing her first Tour final of any kind.
(Via sonyericssonwtatour.com, Image via Yahoo! Sport)