Petra Martic won her first WTA Tour-level title this week, defeating Marketa Vondrousova in the final of the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup. Almost two years ago, Martic was ranked No. 662 in the world after a back injury forced her to miss 10 months of the season. 

Martic rallied from a set down in three of her five matches, including in her 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 final victory against world No. 46 Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. Earlier in the tournament, Martic beat No. 68 Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3; qualifier Ana Bogdan of Romania, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3; former world No. 10 Kristina Mladenovic of France, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6; and No. 72 Margarita Gasparyan of Russia, who was forced to retire after losing the first set.

Here’s more on the first-time champion, who never lost confidence that her best was still ahead of her.

The Petra Martic File

Age: 28
Birthplace: Split, Croatia
Current Ranking: 36
Career-High Rank: 31 (January 2019)
Best US Open Finish: Round 2 (2009, 2011)


The Baseline

- Martic’s victory is her first WTA triumph, following runner-up finishes in Bucharest, Hungary, last year and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2012. In addition, Martic has contested five doubles finals, winning the 125K Series title in Bol, Croatia, with Xenia Knoll in 2016.

- With a run to the semifinal in Charleston earlier this month, it marks the first time since 2009 that Martic has reached the semis or better in consecutive events. In September 2009, Martic won an ITF-level event in Biella, Italy, then reached the semifinal of another clay-court ITF event in Sofia, Bulgaria, the following week.

- The 28-year-old is back to playing a full schedule and her ranking is showing the fruits of her labor. She played just nine tournaments in each of 2016 and 2017, missing almost 10 months from June 2016 to April the following year with a back injury. In 2018, she recorded a full season, playing 52 matches over 20 events, including a title at the WTA 125K Series event in Chicago last September and a fourth-round appearance in Melbourne.

- Martic’s ranking has been a rollercoaster over the past decade. She ended the 2009 season inside the Top 100 for the first time in her career at No. 84, and she finished the 2011 campaign at No. 49. After ending 2012 at No. 59, Martic dropped as low as No. 662 by April 10, 2017, her lowest ranking in almost a decade since turning pro. But the Croatian is on the rise again, ending 2017 at No. 89 and 2018 at No. 32.

- Despite runs to the fourth round at each of the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, Martic has never been past the second round in New York City. Her last appearance past the first round was in 2011. Since then, she has lost her opening main-draw match three times and lost in qualifying twice.

- The Croatian has represented her country in Fed Cup play seven times since 2008, compiling a 6-5 singles record and 2-4 doubles mark over 12 ties. She made her debut in a World Group II quarterfinal loss to Japan in 2008 and most recently played in singles and doubles matches against Luxembourg and the Netherlands in Group I in 2014.  

They Said It!

"When I got injured, I really believed that my best years were still to come for me. That kept me believing that I could come back, stronger than ever. I really believed that there were still so many good things on court waiting for me, and so I couldn’t wait to be back playing tournaments again." – Martic told after winning the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup.