Launceston International winner Asia Muhammad has avenged a straight sets defeat in a past tournament final that has lingered in the back of the American's mind for two years and into this week.
Muhammad would readily admit she has lost count how many times she has landed back in Launceston to win at all costs, but remembering the 2018 loss to Brit Gabrielle Taylor had quickly remained the last thought on Sunday.
It spurred the Las Vegas 28-year-old to a cautious 6-4 6-3 victory against Victorian teenager Destanee Aiava.
"I did not want to be a runner-up twice in this tournament," Muhammad said.
"So that definitely gave me some more motivation."
Despite going down in one final in Launceston, another in Burnie gave Muhammad renewed confidence.
The world No.221 did take out the Burnie International back in 2017, ensuring visits to Tasmania are on the itinerary straight after qualifying for the Australian Open.
"I like Tassie and I like how I feel when I am playing here," Muhammad said. "Knowing I have won in Burnie before it helps mentally."
The seasoned campaigner that has been playing on the world circuit since 2007 had brought recent doubles form into her singles game after having an Auckland final win over giants Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki.
It showed in Launceston after only dropping 27 games over the first five matches.
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But that didn't account for taking the court alone - form aside - without doubles partner Taylor Townsend.
"I felt a little uncomfortable the whole match with nerves," Muhammad said.
"I guess that is to be expected in a final and I know I was playing against a really good young player. So I had to be on my A-game and happy to squeak out the win."
Muhammad got the early break on Aiava's serve, but the 19-year-old of Samoan parents broke back by the sixth game to square it 3-3.
But Muhammad then was able to break the very next game and soon after closed out the first set in convincing fashion when Aiava was unable to take a single point on her rival's serving game.
"It was tricky because at times we were missing and at times we were playing good tennis," Muhammad said.
"So I think whoever could kind of keep it close and not so erratic helped a lot."
The match followed a similar pattern in the second set as scores were level at 3-3 before Muhammad broke Aiava to win the last three games.
Muhammad continued a fine track record, claiming a 10th win from 14 ITF finals - but still paid credit to Aiava.
"I know she can play some really good tennis, but I don't think today was her best," she said. "I fought hard and felt like I did the best I could with my game."
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