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Meet Maria Timofeeva: 19-year-old Lucky Loser Who Won Maiden WTA Title In Budapest

Maria Timofeeva

19-year-old Maria Timofeeva became just the third lucky loser in WTA history to win a tournament. Last Sunday, the young Russian lost in the final round of qualifying to Anna Siskova in a third-set tiebreak. But after earning a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser, she sensationally defied the odds to win her maiden WTA title in Budapest.

Timofeeva (from Russia) defeated Ukrainian Kateryna Baindl 6-3 3-6 6-0 in just over two hours. There was neither a customary post-match handshake nor an acknowledgment by Baindl in her runner-up speech amid the tension between Russia and Ukraine.

Remarkably, Timofeeva had never played a WTA main draw match prior to Budapest. She arrived at the 250 event on the back of a five-match losing streak across all levels. However, the seven days in Hungary’s capital proved to be the best week of her life. She follows the footsteps of previous lucky losers to win the whole tournament, Olga Danilovic (winner of the River Cup in 2018) and Coco Gauff (Linz 2019), who both achieved that feat as teenagers.

Timofeeva’s run was nothing short of magical, accounting for some big scalps in the form of talented compatriot Diana Shnaider, who she thrashed 6-1 6-1. Wins over Kaja Juvan and former French Open semifinalist Nadia Podoroska took many by surprise. And her assured baseline aggression and ability to mix up varied shotmaking put the icing on the cake on Sunday, seeing off Baindl in a rather routine fashion down the stretch.

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Having started the week ranked #246, Timofeeva will vault to inside the Top 130 when the new rankings are updated on Monday.

“This is all new to me and it feels like a dream. Normally I should not be here but here I am so happy and thankful. thank you guys,” Timofeeva said in her on-court speech.

She added, “It was nice to play in such a great crowd. I hope you didn’t skip Formula 1. The match was worth watching. Of course congrats Kateryna on a great week, you are a great player and I’m sure you have many great weeks and tournaments ahead of you

By virtue of her dream week here, reaching the semifinal already guaranteed her special exemption in this coming week’s Hamburg 250-level main draw.

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