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Zverev beats Thiem to win Madrid Open

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MADRID – Second-seeded Alexander Zverev eased past fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4 to win the Madrid Open on Sunday, claiming his second title in a week.

The German broke Thiem’s opening service games in each set and didn’t give his Austrian rival a single break chance to win in 1 hour, 19 minutes.

Zverev won his eighth career title and second of the season after also winning the Munich Open last weekend.

“It is unbelievable,” Zverev said. “This is my third Masters 1000 and I am only 21 years old. It has been an amazing journey.”

Zverev dominated the entire week in the Spanish capital, not losing a single set en route to victory.

Thiem lost his second consecutive final at the Caja Magica. He avenged last year’s final loss to Rafael Nadal by beating him in Friday’s quarterfinals for the Spaniard’s first clay-court loss in a year.

Zverev started strongly when Thiem conceded his first service game with a costly double fault.

Serving to close out the first set, Zverev trailed 0-30 but used his big serve to force deuce and finally closed out the point when Thiem’s return sailed long.

Zverev started the second set in similar fashion, hitting a deep forehand that Thiem could only send into the net on the final point of his service game to fall behind a break.

It was Zverev’s second win in six meetings with Thiem.

On Saturday, Petra Kvitova beat Kiki Bertens in three sets to win the women’s title.

Kasatkina beats Jabeur to win Kremlin Cup

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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

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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.