Barty beats Svitolina to win maiden WTA Finals title

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SHENZHEN, China — Ashleigh Barty added to her already stunning year by winning her first WTA Finals title in her maiden appearance at the season-ending event with a 6-4, 6-3 win over defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on Sunday.

The title adds to the 23-year-old Australian’s lengthy list of achievements in 2019 including winning her first Grand Slam title at the French Open. She also rose to the No. 1 ranking in the game and is now enjoying her 15th week in the top spot, becoming the first Australian to hold the year-end top ranking.

Barty, who came through the round-robin standings with a 2-1 record this week, was unable to find a breakthrough against Svitolina until the 10th game when she created three break point opportunities, finally taking advantage of the third with a forehand return winner to score the opening set.

There were five service breaks in the first eight games of the second set, leaving Barty leading 5-3 and serving for the match.

Svitolina smacked a backhand crosscourt way wide on a second break point in that eighth game to seal her fate with Barty then serving out the match at love.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.