Kristina Mladenovic claimed her first WTA singles title by beating a spirited Yulia Putintseva in a tense St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy final.
The unseeded duo had exceeded expectations to set up an unlikely showdown on Sunday and it was Mladenovic who was crowned champion, winning 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 6-4.
Mladenovic, who beat Venus Williams and defending champion Roberta Vinci this week, failed to serve out the match three times before finally ending Putintseva's resistance.
Putintseva claimed the scalps of Svetlana Kuznetsova (3) and Dominika Cibulkova (2) in Russia, but was unable to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat this time around.
Mladenovic saved nine break points in a contest which lasted two hours, 36 minutes after Putintseva showed great character to hang in there yet again.
The 51-ranked Mladenovic's nerves appear to set in when she let a 5-2 lead slip in the second set and lost the tie-break before charging into a 5-1 advantage in the deciding set.
But Kazakhstan's Putintseva did not know when she was beaten in her first WTA final, winning three games in a row before her French opponent finally got the job done with a rasping forehand winner.