Team USA’s Marina Stefanoni claimed the biggest PSA Tour title of her career, beating Torrie Malik 3-0 to win The St. James Open presented by Argent Bridge Advisors.
The 21-year-old – currently in her senior year at Harvard – was playing her first Tour event since the U.S. Open in October, but capped an impressive week by beating Malik in just 25 minutes to clinch her first 15k crown.
The pair had never met before in a PSA event, and it was Malik who made the stronger start, winning the opening point on a crips backhand kill and soon finding herself 8-5 up in the first.
Stefanoni, though, turned the tables by winning six points on the bounce to take a one-game lead, and won game two in similar style a few minutes later.
Malik once again controlled the early rallies, establishing a 6-3 lead, but Stefanoni responded in style for the second game running, this time winning the next eight points, closing out the game on a sharp forehand boast from the back of the court.
Any chances of a stirring comeback from Malik were soon dispelled in game three, too, as the young American reeled off another seven points in a row, making it 15 on the bounce in total, to move to the brink of glory.
She brought up match ball at 10-1 just moments later, and while Malik saved the first, Stefanoni didn’t have to wait long for the moment of victory, hitting a delicate dropshot winner on the forehand to clinch victory.
The win represents an eighth tour title for Stefanoni and a second in her last three events on the PSA Challenger Tour, after a win at the Windsor City Open in August.