Rio de Janeiro - Kurumi Nara of Japan won her first WTA singles title on Sunday, defeating top-seeded Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 in the Rio Open final.
The 22-year-old Nara was seeded fifth in the tournament and is Japan's top-ranked woman at No 62. She prefers to play on hard courts but has adapted to the heat and clay in Rio.
"I love Rio," Nara said, cracking a huge smile. "I can't believe I won the tournament, but I am very happy."
Maria Bueno, Brazil's greatest female player who won seven Grand Slam singles titles - her last in the US Open in 1966 - helped hand the winning trophy to Nara.
Zakopalova, 31, won two WTA titles 10 years ago, but has now lost 12 consecutive singles finals. In parts of the match she seemed unwell, probably bothered by the 32 Degree Celsius heat and intense humidity.
"I have an asthma problem so I couldn't breathe," Zakopalova said. "But it's not an excuse. Well done to Kurumi. She deserved it. She played really well."