AP Images

Pliskova beats Vandeweghe 7-6, 6-4 to win Stuttgart Open

Leave a comment

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Karolina Pliskova ended CoCo Vandeweghe’s brilliant week with a 7-6 (2), 6-4 win in the Stuttgart Open final on Sunday.

The sixth-seeded Czech held her nerve at key times to win her first title of the season and her 10th overall in just under two hours. Pliskova, who fired 41 aces over four matches on her way to the final, added another 11 against Vandeweghe.

Vandeweghe, a wild card entry who defeated the defending champion Laura Siegemund and three top 10 players including top-ranked Simona Halep over the week, was bidding to become the first American winner in Stuttgart since Lindsay Davenport in 2005.

Vandeweghe broke Pliskova’s first serve but the Czech answered for 2-2. Both held serve for the tiebreaker, where Pliskova responded to losing the first two points by winning seven straight.

Vandeweghe saved a break point to hold serve at the start of the second set, but hurt her right hand when she hit the ground on deuce.

Pliskova got the break she had been pushing for to lead 3-2, then broke again for 5-2. Vandeweghe broke in turn to prolong the suspense but the Czech successfully took her second chance to close out the game.

Kasatkina beats Jabeur to win Kremlin Cup

AP Images
Leave a comment

MOSCOW — Daria Kasatkina won the Kremlin Cup as qualifier Ons Jabeur narrowly failed to become the first WTA winner from Tunisia on Saturday.

Jabeur was a set and a break up at 4-1 when she seemed to tire in her eighth match in as many days, allowing Kasatkina to win 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 with vocal support from the home crowd.

The exhausted Jabeur served the last game with severe cramp and tears in her eyes.

“I saw you gave everything today and this is what sport is about,” Kasatkina told Jabeur.

“When I was a little girl 10 years ago, I was coming to this tournament and dreaming of being champion one day,” the 21-year-old Russian said. “Thank you to everyone who believed in me.”

Sixth-seeded Kasatkina ended a run of three losses in finals, including last year’s Kremlin Cup, and has a career 2-3 record. Her previous win was in Charleston in April 2017.

Jabeur played high-risk tennis, with 45 winners and 65 unforced errors, against 12 winners and 26 unforced errors for the defense-first Kasatkina.

Russian competitors have won the women’s Kremlin Cup four times in the last five years, with Germany’s Julia Goerges beating Kasatkina in last year’s final.

Jabeur, the junior French Open champion in 2011, was the first Tunisian to reach a women’s tour final and the first African finalist since South Africa’s Chanelle Scheepers in 2014.

“I wanted to win today but it’s not meant to be. Maybe it’s a little bit lack of experience, but this is my first final so hopefully I can have many more,” Jabeur said. “Not a chance for me in the third set, cramping.”

Qualifiers have played four WTA finals this year and lost them all.

Jabeur’s run to the final included upsets of Ekaterina Makarova, former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, Anett Kontaveit, and Anastasija Sevastova.

Kasatkina came back from the brink of defeat in the second round when she broke Alize Cornet’s serve to stay in the match.

In the men’s draw, Adrian Mannarino of France reached the final by beatingr former Moscow champion Andreas Seppi 7-5, 7-5.

Mannarino was 5-3 down in the second set before winning four straight games to close out the match.

The Frenchman has lost all five of his career finals and will play Daniil Medvedev or Karen Khachanov for the title on Sunday.

Goerges wins Luxembourg final for second WTA title of year

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LUXEMBOURG — Julia Goerges lived up to her top seeding at the Luxembourg Open by winning her second title of the year on Saturday.

Goerges beat unseeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 6-4, 7-5 in the final.

The German won her first tournament of the year in Auckland, reached another final at Charleston in April, and the Wimbledon semifinals. This is her sixth career title. She lost the 2010 final here.

She’s at a career-high ranking of No. 9.

Bencic, who has been ranked as high as No. 7, was eyeing her first title in more than three years.