AP Photo

Gavrilova upsets Cibulkova in New Haven for first WTA title

Leave a comment

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Australian Daria Gavrilova doesn’t hide her emotions on the tennis court – and she put them on full display Saturday in winning her first WTA tournament title.

The unseeded 23-year-old, who was born in Russia, upset second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Connecticut Open.

She finished her comeback from a set down by breaking the 11th-ranked Slovak in the final game, hitting a forehand winner, throwing her racket and jumping into the air in jubilation.

Gavrilova, ranked 26th in the world, gesticulated wildly throughout the match and yelled “Come on” after every big point. That included the turning point in the match, when she broke Cibulkova to go up 3-2 in the second set in a game that featured a 30-shot rally and five deuces.

The match was extremely close with Gavrilova winning 105 points and Cibulkova taking 102.

Both players had problems early serving into the sun. There were five service breaks in the first set all from the same end of the court.

Cibulkova broke at love in the 10th game to take that set when Gavrilova hit a shot into the net and then screamed in frustration.

Cibulkova relied heavily on her forehand, making winner after winner. She had 32 of them in the match, but Gavrilova had 35.

The Australian broke Cibulkova again in the ninth game of the second set, pumping her fist wildly as she sent the match into a third set.

The two also traded breaks in the third set before the decisive 10th game.

Gavrilova, who beat top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals, is 9-18 in her career against opponents ranked in the Top 10. Cibulkova came in ranked 11th. She had been as high as fourth earlier this season.

Cibulkova, who won four times on Tour last year, has not had a victory this season. She was looking for her ninth career win and her first in New Haven in her 8th appearance at the tournament. She had never before made it past the quarterfinals.

Gavrilova began playing for Australia in 2015 after moving from her native Russia at age 18. She became the first player to win her first WTA title in New Haven.

Neither player will get much of a rest before starting play in the U.S. Open. Both are in the bottom half of the draw and will play on Monday. Cibulkova will face fellow Slovakian Jana Cepelova and Gavrilova will face American Allie Kiick.

Federer overpowers Dimitrov to win 97th career title

AP Photo
Leave a comment

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) Roger Federer came to the ABN AMRO World Tournament aiming to secure a return to the top of the world rankings. He achieved that goal Friday. On Sunday, he put an exclamation point on a remarkable week by winning the tournament for good measure.

Federer overpowered an ailing Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in less than an hour to win his 97th career title.

“What a week it’s been. Absolutely amazing,” Federer said. “The goal was to make the semis and I won the tournament so of course I’m incredibly excited and so, so happy.”

The 36-year-old Swiss extended his domination over the player once dubbed “Baby Fed” for the similarities in their playing style, registering his seventh victory in as many meetings.

Federer’s third title at the Rotterdam tournament comes a day before he officially returns to the top of the rankings, more than five years after he was last world No. 1.

He will become the oldest person to hold the No. 1 position when the rankings are updated on Monday. It’s been more than five years since Federer was last No. 1, and 14 years since he first reached the top spot.

Federer, who has 20 Grand Slams to his name, said his next target is 100 career titles. He moved a step closer Sunday.

Federer said ahead of the final that the more aggressive player would win and Dimitrov started the strongest, winning his first game to love as he slammed powerful forehands and backhands past Federer.

But the Swiss great quickly started matching Dimitrov’s groundstrokes and converted his first break point in the fifth game. Federer broke Dimitrov again to go up 5-2 and then served out the set.

Federer kept the pressure on Dimitrov in the second set, breaking the Bulgarian in the first game and continuing to dominate on his way to victory in just 55 minutes.

Federer won a massive 82 percent of points on his service compared to 55 percent for Dimitrov.

After his strong start, the Bulgarian appeared to be struggling physically, but said afterward that he simply wasn’t good enough.

“Against Roger in the current situation he is in you can’t play any less than 100 percent,” Dimitrov said.

Querrey advances to New York Open final

AP Photo
Leave a comment

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) Second-seeded Sam Querrey advanced to the final of the New York Open, winning the last four games to beat No. 4 Adrian Mannarino 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3 on Saturday.

Querrey will face top-seeded Kevin Anderson or No. 5 Kei Nishikori in Sunday’s final.

The U.S. Davis Cup player fought off three break points while serving at 2-3 in the third set, then broke Mannarino in the next game and cruised from there, closing out the match in just under 2 hours for his first victory over the Frenchman in four career meetings.

The California native is ranked a career-high 12th and had an opportunity to move into the top 10 if he won the tournament and Anderson lost in the semifinals.

Mannarino is still seeking his first ATP Tour title. At No. 25, he is the highest-ranked player without one.