Former top-ranked doubles player Barbora Strycova retires

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PRAGUE — Barbora Strycova, a former top-ranked doubles player and Wimbledon singles semifinalist, announced her retirement on Tuesday.

“Until now, tennis was the only world I knew,” Strycova said in a statement. “I have always had enormous love for this amazing sport. Even though all the pain, tears, renunciation and sweat, all the great moment(s) and victories were worth it.”

The 35-year-old Czech player previously announced her pregnancy. She is due in September and doesn’t plan to return after giving birth.

“I never planned to end my career during a pandemic,” she said. “However, some moments in life just can’t be planned and I am super excited for my next life role as a mom.”

Strycova won two WTA singles titles and 31 in doubles.

She was at her best at Wimbledon in 2019, when she won the women’s doubles with Hsieh Su-wei to become No. 1 and reached the singles semifinals, losing to Serena Williams. Her career-high in singles was No. 16.

In 2016, she teamed up with Lucie Safarova to win the bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Unseeded Parks beats top-seeded Garcia for her 1st title

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LYON, France — Unseeded American Alycia Parks secured a stunning 7-6 (7), 7-5 upset win over WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in the Open Metropole de Lyon final to clinch her first career title.

“I think France has a special part in my heart right now,” Parks said. “I’ll be back next year.”

The 22-year-old Parks, who is ranked 79th, had 15 aces and saved all four break points against the top-seeded Garcia.

Parks secured the only break of a tight contest to win the match.

The fifth-ranked Garcia, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, was seeking a 12th career title.

“Congrats on a great tournament,” Garcia told Parks in English. “If you keep playing like this for sure you’re going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks has a career-best ranking of 75th.

The 29-year-old Garcia, who grew up in Lyon, took time to thank her home crowd – this time in French.

“It means a lot to play here, thanks for being here,” Garcia said. “You supported me from the first point to the last. Thanks for all your encouragement.”

Zhu beats Tsurenko to win Thailand Open

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Zhu Lin of China won her maiden career title after beating Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Thailand Open.

In a match lasting one hour and 45 minutes, both players exchanged nail-biting baseline rallies before Zhu finally found a way past her determined opponent.

The 29-year-old Chinese player managed a break to go up 5-3 in the first set. Although she was broken to love in the following game, Zhu returned the favor straight back, also to love, to take the opening set in 46 minutes.

The second saw players trade breaks with Zhu eventually securing her first match point at 5-3. She sprayed a shot wide to miss the chance but capitalized on her third in the 10th game with a backhand winner.

“I’m so happy to finally win my first tour title. All the hard work finally paid off,” said the No. 54-ranked Zhu, who will crack the top 50 when the new WTA rankings are updated.

Zhu has started the season strongly, reaching the quarter-finals in Auckland and the last 16 at the Australian Open.

The victory also allowed Zhu to avenge her loss to the Ukrainian at the WTA Dubai Championships back in 2019.

Despite the loss, the No. 136-ranked Tsurenko, 33, will return to the top 100.