POLAND'S Magdalena Frech is looking ahead to the 2020 Australian Open with confidence following her Canberra International tournament win in Bendigo.
The 22-year-old, who came into the event ranked 187th in the world, was handed victory after top seed Patricia Maria Tig withdrew ahead of Sunday's final due to injury.
A gracious Frech was quick to pay her respects to her Romanian opponent.
"It's never easy to retire from a match, especially before a final - it's not the first round, it's a final," she said.
"The final) is the most important match in the tournament, so I am really sorry for Patricia and I wish her all the best."
Unseeded in Bendigo, Frech advanced to the final without dropping a set.
She set up her finals berth with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Georgian Ekaterina Gorgodze, while Tig was similarly impressive in disposing of her semi-final opponent Ankita Raina, from India, 6-3, 6-4.
Frech, who won her fourth career tournament, was rapt to have gotten plenty of match play under her belt ahead of the Australian Open, starting on January 20.
"I am so excited (to win), it's my fourth trophy, so I am really happy I can be here before the Australian Open," she said.
"I hope I play the same as I did here.
"I really enjoyed the week here and I want to stay as long as possible (in Australia).
"I'm ready for the Grand Slam."
Frech will be attempting to qualify for her second Australian Open.
She made it through to the main draw in 2018, but was knocked out in the first round by Spain's Carla Surez Navarro in straight sets.
Most pleasing for Frech, who has a career best singles ranking of 115 (reached in 2018), the tournament win was her third since returning from a wrist injury.
"I had a left wrist injury and I couldn't play for nine months," she said,
"I was pretty nervous, but now I'm healthy and looking forward.
"Every win in the tournament gives you more confidence. I am really glad that I could (win)."
Tournament director Kim Kachel wished Tig all the best for a speedy recovery from injury and Frech congratulations on a fantastic week.
"She (Frech) has been in great form all week and did not drop a set on her way to the title," Kachel said.
On Saturday, Australian combinations made it a clean sweep of the doubles titles, with Canberra's Alison Bai and Victorian Jaimee Fourlis teaming to win the women's, and South Australian Luke Saville and Max Purcell (NSW) claiming the men's.
For Bai and Fourlis, it was their second title together, after also winning the ACT Claycourt International #2 in March.
The in-form pair defeated Anna Bondar Pemra Ozgen 5-7, 6-4, 10-8, to extend their record together in the last three events to 10-1.
Saville and Purcell made it two from two for the Aussies when they defeated third seeds Jonathan Elrich (Israel) and Andrei Vasilevski (Belarus) 7-6, 7-6.
It was the eighth ATP Challenger title the pairing have collected since teaming up in 2019 with Purcell saying they have formed a strong partnership.
"We have been in a team together now for almost a year and I think it's a Challenger level a lot of the guys mix up partners but we stick with each other," he said.
"We know our game so well and pick each other up on the tennis court.
"We complement each other and we never get down. We find our chances and we take them."
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