MADRID – Petra Kvitova outlasted Kiki Bertens 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-3 to claim a record third Madrid Open title on Saturday.
The two-time Wimbledon winner celebrated the hard-fought match when Bertens hit a backhand long on the final point after nearly three hours.
Kvitova previously won on the Madrid clay in 2011 and 2015. This third win took the Czech’s career total to 24 titles, including four in the first five months of 2018.
The final was evenly contested, with both players getting three breaks each while saving many more chances.
The key moment came when Bertens appeared to have swung the momentum back in her favor by pulling back a break in the third set, only for Kvitova to strike right back and recover the advantage for a 5-3 lead. She served out for the championship.
“It feels great, it does not matter if it is the first, second or third title,” Kvitova said.
The roof of the Caja Magica was closed without play being interrupted when it began raining in the second set.
On the men’s side, Dominic Thiem beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the final.
The fifth-seeded Thiem arrived at the semifinals after dealing top-ranked Rafael Nadal his first loss on clay in a year.
Thiem beat the sixth-seeded Anderson after breaking both of his first service games in each set.
He will play second-seeded Alexander Zverev or Denis Shapovalov in Sunday’s final.
SINGAPORE — In a match between the last two U.S. Open champions, Sloane Stephens came out on top.
The 2017 champion beat Naomi Osaka 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 Monday at the WTA Finals, the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world.
Both players are making their debut appearances at the tournament, but Stephens appeared to be more composed while Osaka, who became the first Japanese citizen to win a Grand Slam title last month in New York, never seemed comfortable.
“I’m just really happy to get through and play a good competitive match,” Stephens said on court after the match. “I never gave up. I knew she’s been playing well and I’d have to play really good tennis to beat her.”
Both players struggled to hold serve. Osaka was broken on seven of 19 break-point opportunities, while Stephens was broken on four of 12.
Stephens entered the tournament with 33 wins this season, the least of any of the eight qualifiers. She reached her second career Grand Slam final at this year’s French Open, and won the Miami title.
Osaka continually showed her frustration during the match. When she failed to capitalize on four break points in the fourth game of the second set, she made a visible shrugging gesture with both hands.
Stephens gifted the second set to Osaka when she double-faulted on a second set point in the 10th game. But Osaka appeared to be mentally fatigued and only managed to hold serve in the third game of the final set.
Stephens is now 1-0 in the Red Group, while Osaka is 0-1. Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens are also in the group.
STOCKHOLM — Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek tennis player to win an ATP World Tour title when he beat Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Stockholm Open on Sunday.
The 20-year-old Tsitsipas tossed his racket in the air and put both hands to his head when Gulbis put a forehand into the net after 1 hour, 21 minutes.
Tsitsipas had lost his previous two finals, both times to Rafael Nadal. The No. 145-ranked Gulbis was an easier proposition, though, and Tsitsipas won 80 percent of his service points and didn’t have his serve broken.
“Of course I feel happy because I’m the first Greek (to win an ATP title),” said 16th-ranked Tsitsipas, who became the 12th first-time title-winner on the ATP Tour this year. “Hopefully many Greek players can achieve something like this. I would be super-happy to see them achieve something like this in the future.”
Gulbis had won all six of his finals at ATP tournaments. This was his first since 2014, having beaten top-seeded John Isner in the semifinals.
It was still a great week for Gulbis, who only had four tour-level wins this season before coming to the Swedish capital.
“He played a really good match. He had a great week,” Gulbis said. “I know it’s a big deal to win your first ATP title, so enjoy it. I wish that it’s not the last one.”