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McHale wins first WTA title in Tokyo

September 17, 2016 08:28 PM

By McCarton Ackerman, USTA.com

Christina McHale enjoyed a breakthrough on Sunday by winning her first WTA singles title, prevailing in a marathon final over Katerina Siniakova in Tokyo, Japan.

The 24-year-old American rallied from an early deficit to prevail in the championship, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

McHale was down a set and a break, but she took full advantage of a mid-match rain delay, winning eight straight games when she came back on court. McHale raised her arms in celebration after Siniakova sent a backhand wide on match point. She improved her head-to-head against the Czech player to 2-1, with both victories coming this year.

"I don't even want to put my trophy down; I just want to hold it all the time," said McHale during the trophy presentation. "I've been coming to this tournament for a few years now and I really love it here. Thanks to all the fans and everyone here for sticking through all the rain delays.”

McHale showed off her improved fitness by fighting through three-set battles in all five of her singles matches this week. She spent a total of 13 hours on court in total.

Her only previous final came in March 2014 in Acapulco, Mexico. McHale, however, has excelled in Asia in recent years. She was a semifinalist last year in Tokyo and reached the semifinals of the WTA event in Seoul, Korea, in 2014.

Currently ranked No. 53 in the WTA rankings, McHale is projected to move inside the Top 50 when the newest standings are released on Monday.