Gauff beats Wang for 2nd career title and 1st on clay

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PARMA, Italy — American teenager Coco Gauff stormed to her second career singles title as she comfortably dispatched Wang Qiang 6-1, 6-3 at the Emilia-Romagna Open in her first clay-court final.

The 17-year-old Gauff also won the doubles title with Caty McNally, becoming the youngest player to complete the singles/doubles sweep in nearly 17 years, since Maria Sharapova won both titles in Birmingham in 2004. That was just 92 days after Gauff was born.

“I feel like all week I was just thinking about it (winning both), especially when we got to the semifinals and you’re thinking about it, and you’re like it would be pretty cool to win both the singles and doubles titles. And I’m happy I was able to do that today,” Gauff said.

Gauff and McNally beat Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac 6-3, 6-2.

In the singles final, Gauff needed just 74 minutes to beat her Chinese opponent in Parma.

She won more than three-quarters of her first-service points and fended off each of the four break points she faced against the 48th-ranked Wang.

Gauff, who reached her first semifinals on clay at the Italian Open last week, dropped just one set in Parma en route to victory. She is gearing up for the French Open, which starts May 30.

“It means a lot, especially on clay which is not really I feel like a surface that people associate me with,” Gauff said, before adding with a laugh: “It feels good, I like the dirt now. I always talk about it how I don’t like it but I like it now.”

Gauff has won 20 of her last 26 matches on tour. In contrast, she won 21 matches in the whole of 2019 and 2020 combined.

Gauff won her only previous final in Lienz, Austria, in 2019.

Sonego beats Bublik at Moselle Open to win 1st title of 2022

Winston-Salem Open - Day 5
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METZ, France – Lorenzo Sonego clinched his first title of the season by beating Alexander Bublik 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the Moselle Open final.

The 27-year-old Italian did not drop a set all tournament as he won the third title of his career and first on hard courts.

The unseeded Sonego recovered from 0-40 down in the fifth game of the match and secured victory when the seventh-seeded Bublik sent a backhand return long.

He then danced on court as he celebrated a perfect tournament where he also beat defending champion Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals.

Sonego’s win will move him up 21 places in the ATP rankings and into 44th place.

Samsonova beats Zheng to win 3rd WTA title in 2 months

Toray Pan Pacific Open - Day Seven
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TOKYO – Liudmila Samsonova extended a remarkable summer run by clinching her third title in two months after beating rising Chinese player Zheng Qinwen 7-5, 7-5 at the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

No. 30-ranked Samsonova won in Washington and Cleveland in August and also reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open. The 23-year-old has now won 18 of her last 19 matches and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo.

“It’s amazing. I think I need a little bit of time to realize it, but it’s unbelievable,” Samsonova said. “It was like a nervous match today. I was really prepared physically but I was tired mentally because I was playing singles and doubles every day. I’m very happy with the way I managed the pressure.”

Samsonova added that the exclusion of Russian players from Wimbledon had helped her game though she stopped short of supporting the move.

“Wimbledon for me is the best tournament. I love it. The news really impacted me. I had one month without a tournament so I thought let’s work,” she said, adding: “I don’t agree that politics should be involved in sports because it’s unfair.”

The match between two power hitters with big serves was close throughout but Samsonova was striking the ball cleaner and stronger.

Zheng, who ousted top-seeded Paula Badosa and No. 4-seeded Veronika Kudermetova, was broken in the first set after giving up her first double fault on deuce in the 11th game.

Samsonova, who defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the first round and former world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals, then sent a perfect forehand that landed in the right-hand corner of the court to break the 19-year-old and go 6-5 up. She took the first set with another strong service game that included her third ace.

Zheng was the first to crack in the second set when she handed Samsonova free points with two double-faults in the fifth game. A double-fault by the Russian saw her drop to 0-40 in the next game and the No. 36-ranked Chinese broke back to level at 3-3.

As in the first set, Zheng was broken in the 11th game. A long forehand at deuce gave Samsonova a breakpoint and she converted it with a crosscourt forehand that sent her opponent the wrong way. Samsonova then won her next game to love after three errors by Zheng, clinching the match 7-5, 7-5.

Samsonova has now won all of the finals she has appeared in.

In reaching the final, Zheng became the youngest Chinese finalist at a tour-level event, beating the mark set by Peng Shuai.