August 4, 2015

Ana Konjuh Wins First WTA Title at Nottingham Open

NOTTINGHAM - ENGLAND - JUNE 15: Ana Konjuh of Croatia celebrates winning the Aegon Open Nottingham against Monica Niculescu of Romania with the Elena Baltacha Trophy on day eight of the WTA Aegon Open Nottingham at Nottingham Tennis Centre on June 15, 2015 in Nottingham, England.  (Photo by Jon Buckle/Getty Images for LTA)

NOTTINGHAM – ENGLAND – JUNE 15: Ana Konjuh of Croatia celebrates winning the Aegon Open Nottingham against Monica Niculescu of Romania with the Elena Baltacha Trophy on day eight of the WTA Aegon Open Nottingham at Nottingham Tennis Centre on June 15, 2015 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Jon Buckle/Getty Images for LTA)

(June 15, 2015) Croatian teen Ana Konjuh won her first WTA tour title on Monday defeating Monica Niculescu 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a rain-delayed Nottingham Open final.

For the 17-year-old, former winner of junior titles at both the Australian and U.S. Opens, it was her third match in two days after playing both her quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Sunday.

Konjuh, who is the only under-18 player in women’s top 100, broke Niculescu’s serve four times in the final two sets at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.

 

“It means a lot, especially because it’s the first year here,” the world No. 87 Konjuh said. “It feels great, I didn’t expect it. I came here two days before to acclimatize on grass, and after five matches I’ve won the tournament, so it feels great.

 

“The first set wasn’t going my way but I had to stay calm. I just knew that my game was going to come and I did it much better in the second set. I’m really glad to get that win today.”

 

“She’s an uncomfortable player, especially on grass with that many slices,” Konjuh said of her opponent. “It’s so frustrating. She had that experience and took the first set because I wasn’t ready for it.”

 

“I had a perfect week and I hope to see everyone next year.

“I will remember it. It’s going to hold a special place in my heart, this tournament.”

 

World No. 61 Niculescu said: “Maybe I was not at my best in the final, I was a bit tired. She was serving and hitting the ball very hard. My return was not great, I was struggling a little bit. I’m happy to be here because I had so many tough three-set matches and came straight from Marseille in the heat and had to come to a new surface. But I’m really happy about this week and I’m really positive. My ranking will be better after this final hopefully. Life goes on.

“I don’t want to take away from her title because she played amazing.

 

“She played well, she deserved it. She’s a young, up and coming player. To have a title at 17, it’s amazing. I see her going very far in the rankings. This is just the beginning for her.”

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Nottingham Open Rain-Delayed Niculescu versus Ana Konjuh Final Set for Monday

Nottingham

 

(June 14, 2015) Monica Niculescu and Ana Konjuh will contest the rain-delayed final of the Nottingham Open on Monday.

The tournament had been hit by bad weather coming into the finals weekend, with play again halted during Sunday.

Niculescu of Romania reached her first grass court singles final with an upset win over top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 5-7, 6-4, 6-0.

“The goal is always to win the tournament but today I couldn’t,” Radwanska said. “She was playing very good tennis and was very solid from the beginning until the end. No mistakes. It was her day.”

The 17-year-old Konjuh had to win two matches on Sunday. After beating Sachia Vickery 6-2, 6-2 in the delayed quarterfinal, the Croatian beat No. 5 seed Alison Riske 6-4, 6-3.

“After I played the (Vickery) match I got the chance to relax a bit because I was tired, but that’s a part of our job. You just have to go with it,” World No. 87 Konjuh said.

On reaching her first WTA final, she said: “It’s been amazing. My season didn’t start that well, I’ve been in a bad mood these last few months. Grass is my favourite surface so I’ve come here with nothing to expect and I’ll do my best in the final.”

AEGON OPEN NOTTINGHAM – NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND
$ 250,000.00
8-14 JUNE, 2015

RESULTS – JUNE 14, 2015
Women’s
Singles – Semifinals

M. Niculescu (ROU) d [1] [WC] A. Radwanska (POL) 57 64 60
A. Konjuh (CRO) d [5] A. Riske (USA) 64 63
Quarterfinals
A. Konjuh (CRO) d [Q] S. Vickery (USA) 62 62

Women’s
Doubles – Finals

[1] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d J. Rae (GBR) / A. Smith (GBR) 36 63 11-9
Semifinals
[1] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d C. Chan (TPE) / Y. Xu (CHN) 61 63
J. Rae (GBR) / A. Smith (GBR) d [2] Y. Chan (TPE) / J. Zheng (CHN) 63 46 10-8

ORDER OF PLAY – MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2015
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
SINGLES FINAL – M. Niculescu (ROU) vs A. Konjuh (CRO)

 

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Nicolas Mahut and Camila Giorgi Win Topshelf Open Singles Titles

(June 14, 2015) Nicolas Mahut won a second Topshelf Open title while Camila Giorgi claimed her first WTA title on Sunday.

Qualifier Mahut upset second seed David Goffin 7-6(1), 6-1 in 77 minutes, while the fifth-seeded Giorgi stopped rising Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic 7-5, 6-3 win.

“It was a very tense first set, but after one-all (Goffin) was missing some shots and I felt more and more confident,” Mahut said.

“I had trouble with my neck today, so it was tough to serve and to return the ball when the pace was fast,” Goffin said.

For Mahut this was his third career ATP World Tour title, all of his titles have come on grass courts. (2013, 2015 ‘s-Hertogenbosch and 2013 Newport)

 

“I think I played better here this year than two years ago,” said the 33-year-old Frenchman. “From the first round I was hitting the ball really well.”

“It was really tough to lose the first set,” said the Belgian. “I had trouble with my neck today, so it was tough to serve and to return the ball when the pace was fast.”

The 23-year-old Giorgi, finally broke through for a title victory, falling short in her three previous finals.

Giorgi saved three match points in her quarterfinal win over Yaroslava Shvedova. She is the fourth player this year to save match points on the way to a WTA title, joining Andrea Petkovic, Sara Errani and Daniela Hantuchova in that feat.

“It’s been a great week for me and I’m so happy to bring this trophy home,” Giorgi said after the match.

“It was my first time here and it went so well. Every match was great for me this week, and I felt like I was playing more and more consistently every match.”

Giorgi will play another warm-up for Wimbledon event at Eastbourne next.

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Tennis – Bellucci, Knapp, Stosur and Thiem Win Tournaments Leading into French Open

Contributor

Thomaz Bellucci

(May 23, 2015)

World No. 60 Thomaz Bellucci won the Geneva Open title on Saturday, beating sixth-seeded Joao Sousa of Portugal 7-6 (4), 6-4 for his fourth ATP World Tour title. The Geneva tournament returned to the tour after a 24-year hiatus. For the Brazilian, he’s won three out of his four titles in Switzerland. He captured crowns in Gstaad in 2009 and 2012.

“It wasn’t easy to play today,” said the winner. “It was very windy. I was more solid at the baseline. Mentally I was strong all week so maybe that was the key today… The conditions in Geneva are good for me. The ball bounces high and I like the clay courts here. It’s similar to where I practice in Sao Paulo. I’m feeling very relaxed and happy to win my third title in Switzerland. I hope to come back next year.

“I don’t have much time to celebrate because tomorrow I have to be practicing again for Roland Garros. This week gave me a lot of confidence, so I hope to keep playing like that and I hope to be ready for the next week.”

“I’m not happy today but I think that it’s still a good week for me,” Sousa said. I’m leaving for Paris with good rhythm and confidence. That’s very important before the start of Roland Garros. I won four matches here and I’m feeling well. It’s great that I reached the final here. I had a great week and enjoyed this tournament a lot.”

Italy’s Karin Knapp defeated countrywoman Roberta Vinci 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-1 to win the Nuremberg Cup title on Saturday. For Knapp it’s her second WTA title.

“I’m really, really happy to win the title,” Knapp said. “It’s never easy against Roberta, and as you saw it was a close match. But it’s great to get the win and gain some good confidence for the French Open.”

Twenty-one-year-old Dominic Thiem battled back to take his first ATP tour winning 6-7 (8), 7-5, 7-6 (2) over fourth-seeded Leonardo Mayer in the

“It’s really, really special; the first title ever,” said the Austrian. “It’s not only this, the match today was a really, really good level. Leonardo played outstanding and I was fighting until the end. I think it was one of the best matches I’ve ever played. The first title, I will remember it forever, so I will also remember forever Nice.”

“It was a very even match. We both played very well and I’m happy despite losing,” Mayer said. “This week, I showed some good tennis and I will get to Roland Garros with a very good level.”

Thiem, who is No. 42 in the world, has become the eighth player born in the 1990s to win a title on the ATP World Tour.

Samantha Stosur returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday defeating Kristina Mladenovic 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to win the Strasbourg International, her first title of the year and seventh of her career.

The world No. 26 Stosur was given a wild card into the tournament at the last minute.

“To play as well as I did and walk away with the title, it’s exciting, and especially going into a Grand Slam,” said the 2010 French Open finalist.

The French Open begins on Sunday.

 

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Karolina Pliskova Wins All-Czech Final in Prague

221 Dubai Pliskova fist pump-001

(May 2, 2015) In an all-Czech final, top seed Karolina Pliskova came back from a set down to her fourth WTA title by taking down qualifier Lucie Hradecka 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 at the Prague Open on Saturday.

Pliskova survived 17 aces from her opponent for the victory, but hit 8 of her own.

Pliskova had three match point chances at 5-2 in the third set, but did serve out the win.

“It was all about a few points,” Pliskova said afterwards. “I’m really happy I managed to win it.”

She now has four WTA titles, adding to her 2013 Kuala Lumpur, and 2014 Seoul and Linz titles.

“It was very tough to play a Czech girl in the final in front of a Czech crowd,” Pliskova said “Lucie and I are good friends, we practice a lot together at tournaments, and we played Fed Cup together twice, so we know each other pretty well. I didn’t want to beat her, but I had to!”

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Svitolina Wins Marrakech Title

(May 2, 2015) Elina Svitolina won her third career WTA defeating unseeded Timea Babos 7-5, 7-6 (3) in the Grand Prix SAR final in Marrakech on Saturday.

The fourth seed Svitolina remains perfect in finals at 3-0. The world No. 25th other titles came in Baku in 2013 and 2014.

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Angelique Kerber Stops Caroline Wozniacki for Stuttgart Title

Angelique Kerber

German Angelique Kerber rallied in the third set to upset Dane Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 in the final of Stuttgart for her second straight title, lifting her win streak to 11 straight.

“It was small things today that made the difference,” Wozniacki said of the 2-hour and four minute match. “I had 5-3 in the third set and 30-all, and it could have gone both ways, but she took her chances and it went her way. We’re great friends, we hang out a lot and practice a lot together, and it’s always nice to play a friend in a final. You obviously want to win, but if you don’t win, it’s still nice that your friend does.”

“A few days ago I said clay is actually not my favorite surface, but right now I think I will change my mind,” said Kerber. “I’ve played very well on clay the last few days and weeks. I feel good that I have had so many matches on clay, and now I’m looking forward to the next tournaments before Paris. Of course I’m a little bit tired – I’ve had a lot of matches the last few weeks, and also a lot of travel. So that’s why I’m for sure taking the next few days off, just relaxing a little bit before I go to Madrid.”

On the way to the final, Kerber defeated three-time defending champion Maria Sharapova in the second round and also took out second seed Simona Halep in the semifinals.

For Kerber she won her the fifth WTA title of her career and second of 2015. She also won Charleston earlier in the month.

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Kerber Takes Home Family Circle Cup

Angelique Kerber

(April 12, 2015) Angelique Kerber rallied from 1-4 down in the third set, winning six of the last seven games to defeat Madison Keys and win the Family Circle Cup in Charleston 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 on Sunday.

For the German Kerber, this was her fourth career WTA title, her first since capturing Linz in 2013.

“It’s unbelievable,” Kerber said. “To win here after the really difficult weeks I had, I’m feeling great. Last year I had four finals and I didn’t win any of them, so it’s great that I actually won this one today. It’s just been a great week for me here. Everybody is so nice, and I’m really happy about my game.”

“Coming off tough losses at Indian Wells and Miami, I’m happy I kept a great attitude this week, and I was just fighting as hard as I could today,” said the 20-year-old American Keys. “I could have gone either way after the first set, but I dug deep and still put myself in a position to win. But she just wasn’t making any mistakes at the end.”

The win for Kerber was a bit of revenge – last June Keys defeated Kerber in three-sets in the final of Eastbourne for her first WTA title.

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Sania Mirza Becomes First Woman from India to top the Doubles Rankings

Miami Open Tennis - Day 14 Hingis and Mirza

(April 12, 2015) On Sunday Sania Mirza has become the first woman from India to reach the top of the WTA double rankings.

The 28-year-old Mirza reached No. 1 by virtue of teaming with Martina Hingis to win the Family Circle Cup title, beating Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak 6-0, 6-4. The victory marks three straight title wins for the pair – Inidan Wells, Miami and now Charleston.

“It’s a dream for every kid to be No.1 one day,” Mirza said. “I can’t think of a better person to do it with. When we came here we had one thing in mind, to get No.1, and she really helped me get there. She helped me through some tough moments this week. She’s just a great person and a great player. We also become the No.1 team in the world today with this.

 

“I hope we have many, many more tournaments and end the year on a high as well.”

 

This is the 26th title of Mirza’s career. Mirza was the first woman from India to win a WTA singles title,  the first to reach the third and fourth rounds of a major, the first to surpass $1 million in career prize money, and the first to win a Grand Slam title of any kind when she claimed the 2009 Australian Open mixed doubles title with countryman Mahesh Bhupathi.

 

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Anna Karolina Schmiedlova Takes Katowice Open for First WTA Title

(April 12, 2015) World No. 67 and eighth seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia defeated Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-3 to win the Katowice Open for her first WTA title.

The third seed Giorgi moved into the final with an upset victory in the semifinals over top seed and Poland native Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday. En route to the final Schmiedlova dismissed defending champion and second seed Aliza Cornet

“I started out nervous today,” said the first-time WTA title winner. “I lost my serve straight off in the first game. But then it was better. I wasn’t nervous after that and was just taking it point by point. Usually I don’t like playing aggressive players like her as much, because I can’t play as aggressively as them and I feel like I’m always defending, but I did very well. It was maybe one of the best matches I’ve played.

“It’s something special. I still can’t believe it – it will take a long time for me to believe it.”

Schmiedlova is the seventh Slovak to win a WTA title. No. 31 Giorgi is now 0-3 in finals.

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