Tagged in: wins

Simona Halep wins tournament title in Toronto for third time, outlasting Beatriz Haddad Maia

Simona Halep collected the National Bank Open on Sunday for the third time, defeating Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

Halep, from Romania, also collected the title in 2016 and 2018 when it was called the Rogers Cup. It’s the 24th title of Halep’s career and first since switching to Patrick Mouratoglou as her coach.

The 26-year-old Haddad Maia, who is from Brazil, has never won a tennis tournament at this level before but has rocketed up the WTA Tour’s standings this year.

She upset three seeded players at the National Bank Open: 13th-seeded Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., world No. 1 Iga Swiatek and 14th-seeded Karolina Pliskova in succession.

A year ago, Haddad Maia was ranked 183rd in the world, but entered this week’s tournament No. 24 and will crack the top 20 next week.

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Halep fell behind Haddad Maia 3-0 in the opening set and started yelling at herself.

Some Brazilian fans — many of them in yellow national soccer kit — started chanting “Bee-ah! Bee-ah!” to cheer on Haddad-Maia but they were soon drowned out by Romanian fans’ calls of “See-moh-nah! See-moh-nah!”

The chanting seemed to rouse Halep. A deep forehand return on set point that was just out of the reach of Haddad Maia’s extended racket sealed six consecutive games for Halep as she came back to take the first set.

Haddad Maia seemed to shake off that stunning comeback to start the second set, quickly winning the first two games and fending off Halep on two more for a 4-0 lead.

Although Halep won a game back to slow Haddad Maia slightly and make it 4-1, the younger Brazilian immediately reclaimed that momentum to make it 5-1.

Halep claimed another game before Haddad Maia could serve for the second set. Haddad Maia jumped out to a 40-15 advantage and then her serve handcuffed Halep to attain the set and force a decisive third and final set.

For the first time in the match, Halep opened a set with a game winner and took a 2-0 lead when Haddad Maia’s return of her forehand went long. Later, an overhand smash at the net by Halep completed her own unblemished game for a 5-2 lead.

Haddad Maia stayed in the match, winning another game. She made it 5-3 when her high backhanded volley dropped in for a point. Holding a 40-15 advantage in the ninth game of the third set, Halep clinched her first title in Toronto when Haddad Maia put her return into the net.

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Naomi Osaka returns to court for first time since May, wins in first round of Silicon Valley Classic

Four-time major champion Naomi Osaka collected the first match she has played since May, defeating Zheng Qinwen 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 on Tuesday night at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.

Osaka hit 11 aces and saved 7 of 8 break points in the hard-court tournament that serves as a tuneup for the US Open.

Osaka, who had not played anywhere since a first-round loss to Amanda Anisimova at the French Open on May 23, was all smiles after the match, waving and clapping back at the crowd, which gave her a standing ovation.

“It’s really good to be back,” she said in her on-court interview after the win. “I’m just really happy.”

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The former No. 1-ranked player was bothered by her left Achilles tendon during that defeat, then cited that lingering injury when she pulled out of Wimbledon in June. Osaka won the US Open in 2018 and 2020.

Next up for Osaka is Coco Gauff, who won her match 6-0, 6-1 over Anhelina Kalinina.

Osaka leads their head-to-head series 2-1, including a triumph over Gauff at the 2019 US Open. Gauff was the runner-up at this year’s French Open.

Another past champion at Flushing Meadows, 2019 winner Bianca Andreescu, lost Tuesday in San Jose, beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Shelby Rogers.

In other first-round action, qualifier Elizabeth Mandlik won her WTA debut, defeating Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-3, 6-3, and No. 9 seed Veronika Kudermetova beat Camila Giorgi 7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-5.

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Dominant Matteo Berrettini wins second straight Queen’s title

Italian Matteo Berrettini retained his title at the Queen’s Club Championships with a 7-5, 6-4 defeat of Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic on Sunday, as the world No. 10 gave himself the perfect launch pad into Wimbledon.

Berrettini had too much firepower for unseeded Krajinovic, who has now lost all five of his Tour-level finals.

The Italian, who also claimed the title in Stuttgart this month, has now collected 20 of his last 21 matches on grass, his only loss coming in last year’s Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic.

He was made to work hard by Krajinovic who broke back in the first set, only to get broken again at 5-5. A Krajinovic double-fault proved costly at 2-3 in the second set as Berrettini secured the decisive break of serve and went on to secure his seventh career title with an ace.

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Berrettini, who had surgery on his right hand in March, is the eighth player to win back-to-back titles at the event, all of the others being former world number ones including John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker and Andy Murray.

He will now go into Wimbledon as one of the favorites.

“There are too many emotions,” Berrettini said. “To have this trophy twice, I used to just dream of playing in this tournament. It was a really good week for me, I came here with a lot of confidence. Today was the best match that I played.

“I’ve worked so hard for this. I know that Wimbledon is different but I know that I can do it, I did it once. I’m really looking forward to it, but I know every match will be tough.”

A superb angled volley gave Berrettini the break he had threatened in the fifth game of the opening set.

But Krajinovic, who before this week had never won a match on grass, replied in the next game with a punchy volley to get back on level terms.

The Serbian netted a backhand to drop serve at 5-5, however, and Berrettini then held to take the opener.

In the second set Berrettini showed the range of his game, mixing power with panache to pull ahead, and once he broke serve to love in the fifth game, there was no looking back.

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Verstappen wins as both Ferraris retire in Baku

Ferrari’s championship chances took a critical blow at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as both its cars retired from the race while Max Verstappen led a one-two victory for rivals Red Bull.

The two Ferraris suffered reliability issues in the first half of the race, with Charles Leclerc suffering an engine failure on lap 20 and Carlos Sainz pulling off the road with a hydraulic failure on lap nine.

The double retirement paved the way for Red Bull to take maximum points with a comfortable one-two victory, extending Verstappen’s lead in the championship to 21 over teammate Sergio Perez and 34 points over Leclerc.

Red Bull now leads Ferrari by 80 points in the constructors’ championship.

The retirements add to a dire run of form for Ferrari, with Leclerc retiring from the lead in Spain three weeks ago, missing out of victory in Monaco two weeks ago due to a botched strategy and retiring in Baku after securing pole position on Saturday. “I can’t find the words to describe it, it’s very, very disappointing,” Leclerc said after the engine failure.

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Prior to the retirement, Leclerc had dropped to third place after losing a position to Perez at the start before Ferrari took a gamble on an early pit stop under a Virtual Safety Car for Sainz’s retirement that moved Leclerc behind Verstappen.

The strategy may have paid off as Leclerc lost less time in his pit stop than the Red Bulls were due to under normal racing conditions, but when smoke emerged from the rear of his car on lap 20 it failed to plan out.

When Leclerc made his early pit stop, Verstappen found free air and quickly cruised up to the rear of Perez’s car in the lead.

On lap 15 he lined Perez up and overtook him into Turn 1, but only after Perez had been told “no fighting” by his Red Bull engineer over team radio.

Verstappen clearly had a pace advantage over his teammate, and in the space of a lap extended his lead over Perez to three seconds.

Perez was the first of the two Red Bulls to pit on lap 17, but any chance of making use of his fresh tires to gain an advantage over his teammate was lost when his car failed to come off the jacks after the tire change.

Verstappen pitted two laps later and re-emerged in the lead before extending his advantage over Perez to 20 seconds by the end of the race.

With the two Ferraris out of the picture, George Russell secured his third podium finish of the year for Mercedes ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who found himself in a strategic battle with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly for fourth place.

Hamilton made an extra stop over Gasly and his fresh tires towards the end of the race saw him take the position with an overtaking move on lap 45.

Gasly held on to fifth place to finish ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in sixth, the Alpine of Fernando Alonso in seventh and the two McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris in eighth and ninth. Esteban Ocon took the final point on offer in tenth.

The next round of the season will take place in Montreal next weekend.

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Novak Djokovic, ‘satisfied with my tennis,’ wins first match of his year as Dubai Championships begin

Novak Djokovic won his first match of the year when he defeated Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-3 to open the Dubai Championships on Monday.

Djokovic couldn’t defend his Australian Open title last month because he was deported from the country for being unvaccinated.

The United Arab Emirates permitted him entry, and Djokovic cashed in at a tournament he’s won five times. The Monday crowd was glad to see him, as he was met with a standing ovation, complete with phone cameras flashing when he was introduced.

Djokovic responded with an emphatic wave before making his way to his position by the judge’s chair.

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Musetti took two sets off Djokovic at the French Open last year, but on a breezy Dubai evening, the Italian wild card couldn’t convert bags of break chances while trailing 3-1 in the first set and 4-2 in the second.

“I have to be satisfied with my tennis, especially after not playing for two and a half, three months,” Djokovic said on court.

“Of course, there were moments when I played great, there were moments when I made a couple of unforced errors in a row uncharacteristically. But it’s normal to expect that [in my] first match after a while.”

He next faces Karen Khachanov or Alex de Minaur.

Andy Murray won his first match in Dubai since his title run in 2017. He defeated Australian qualifier Christopher O’Connell 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-5 after nearly three hours.

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Anett Kontaveit wins Kremlin Cup in comeback over Ekaterina Alexandrova

Anett Kontaveit twice came back from the brink of defeat to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 and gain the Kremlin Cup on Sunday to stay in contention for a place at the WTA Finals.

After dropping a set for the first time in the tournament, Kontaveit turned the second set around from 4-0 down and mounted another comeback to win the decider with a break of serve when Alexandrova served for the match at 5-4 up.

“I’m still a little bit speechless,” Kontaveit stated. “Congratulations to Ekaterina. You played such great tennis today.”

Playing in Moscow with a wild card, the Estonian won her third title on tour in as many months after winning the Cleveland Ladies Open in August and the Ostrava Open last month. On the women’s tour only top-ranked Ash Barty has won more than three titles this campaign, with five. Barbora Krejcikova also has three.

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“Unfortunately I couldn’t manage to achieve more today and I’m really very sad but I’m going to work on this and hope something like that won’t happen again next time,” Alexandrova said.

Next week either Kontaveit or Ons Jabeur can secure the last spot at the WTA Finals.

Jabeur has a points lead, meaning Kontaveit would need to collect the Transylvania Open in Romania and hope Jabeur does not reach the semifinals in Courmayeur, Italy.

Aslan Karatsev won the men’s tournament without dropping a set to deny Marin Cilic a third title in Moscow.

Karatsev saved the only break point he faced on his way to a 6-2, 6-4 win over Cilic. He is the third consecutive Russian winner of the tournament following Karen Khachanov in 2018 and Andrey Rublev in 2019. Last year’s Kremlin Cup was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the second tour title for Karatsev in a breakout season that started with his surprise run to the Australian Open semifinals despite being in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

The 33-year-old Cilic was bidding to win a 20th career title and was the oldest men’s finalist in Kremlin Cup history.

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Dustin Poirier wins trilogy rematch by TKO after Conor McGregor injures leg in Round 1

Dustin Poirier now owns two triumphs over the biggest star in the history of mixed martial arts. This one, though, didn’t end in the cleanest way.

Poirier hit Conor McGregor with a combination at the end of the first round of Saturday night’s highly anticipated UFC 264 main event. McGregor went to plant his left foot and his leg buckled, sending him to the mat. Poirier followed up with punches on the ground as time expired in the round.

With McGregor clearly hurt, referee Herb Dean called the lightweight fight. The official result was Poirier by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of the first round. A stretcher was brought in to transport McGregor to the hospital. The video replay showed McGregor’s lower leg bent gruesomely as his foot hit the canvas. UFC president Dana White later stated the injury was to McGregor’s lower tibia and that he will have surgery Sunday morning.

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The finish left the sold-out crowd disappointed. There was a mixture of boos and cheers when Poirier was declared as the winner. This was one of the most anticipated trilogy fights in UFC history.

“I beat the guy,” Poirier said in his postfight interview.

Poirier explained that he hurt McGregor’s ankle on a checked kick and then the ankle buckled at the end of the first round. McGregor denied that it was a checked kick that did it. Poirier picked up his 15th career first-round finish.

“This is not over,” McGregor said.

White said Poirier will fight for the UFC lightweight title next versus champion Charles Oliveira and that when McGregor is healthy he will probably get a fourth fight against Poirier.

“When Conor is healed and ready to go, we’ll do the rematch, I guess,” White said. “Poirier will do his thing until Conor is ready.”

Oliveira told ESPN’s Mike Coppinger he expects the fight with Poirier to possibly be in December.

“It’s really sad what happened [to McGregor], but if you look at Poirier’s game, he’s been improving a lot, he’s been putting a lot of pressure, so he deserves the win,” Oliveira said of Saturday night’s result.

White said he believes that had McGregor not been injured, he would have gotten out of the first round.

“His ankle snapped from throwing punches. He was fighting back,” White said. “It wasn’t like he was up against the cage with Dustin unloading punches on him. If his ankle doesn’t break, I think we get to the end of the round.”

Poirier, for his part, said he and McGregor “are going to fight again, whether it’s in the Octagon or on the sidewalk. … He was saying that he was going to kill me. You don’t say stuff like that.”

Poirier said he wasn’t sure he felt a sense of closure following the trilogy.

“I need to digest it all, because right now, it kind of feels weird,” he said. “It’s not a good feeling.”

Poirier stopped McGregor at UFC 257 in January via second-round TKO. In 2014, at UFC 178, McGregor knocked out Poirier in less than two minutes.

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Barbora Krejcikova wins women’s doubles with Katerina Siniakova to complete Paris title sweep

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova completed a rare title sweep at Roland Garros as she acquired a third women’s doubles major trophy with fellow Czech teammate Katerina Siniakova on Sunday.

Less than 24 hours after she claimed her first singles Grand Slam title, Krejcikova became the first woman since Mary Pierce in 2000 to lift both trophies at the clay-court major. Only seven women have completed the title sweep at Roland Garros.

“Right now after all of this happened, this last two weeks, last two days, I feel really relieved and relaxed,” Krejcikova said.

“I just know from now on I can really enjoy because I have pretty much achieved everything I really wanted. Now I can just improve. That’s the only thing I can do, just improving.”

In addition to her pair of trophies, Krejcikova will reclaim the No. 1 spot in the doubles rankings next week.

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“We will have a little bit glass of champagne,” Krejcikova said. “I already said I don’t really drink, but I think it’s a time to actually celebrate it. I think we going to really enjoy.”

Krejcikova, 25, who overpowered Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the women’s singles title Saturday, also became the first player to sweep both titles at any Grand Slam tournament since Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2016.

Krejcikova and Siniakova are both 25 but have extensive experience playing together, having started their partnership in the juniors in 2013.

It clearly showed in their 6-4, 6-2 victory over Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek in Sunday’s final as they converted five of their seven break points.

After racing to a 4-0 lead in the opening set, they resisted a late comeback with an efficient display at the net. Krejcikova served out the set at love as Mattek-Sands missed a tough backhand volley.

The Czech pair won the final four games and sealed the game with Siniakova’s final backhand winner.

Siniakova and Krejcikova had already won in Paris in 2018 and claimed the Wimbledon trophy the same year.

“I’m just really happy that we have another title, and looking forward we going to continue with our cooperation in Wimbledon and also for the Olympics,” Krejcikova said.

“I hope there’s going to be a bright future for us.” Swiatek was the defending singles champion in Paris but bowed out in the quarterfinals this year.

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Dustin Johnson wins FedEx Cup

Dustin Johnson only looks like he plays without a pulse. Beneath his stoic stare and that swagger as he walked the fairways of East Lake on Monday were jangled nerves because it meant so much to him.

The $15 million prize for winning the FedEx Cup? That would get anyone’s attention, especially someone who thought he was rich when Johnson cashed his first tournament check for $113,571 as a PGA Tour rookie.

But there was more.

“The prestige, for sure,” Johnson said after delivering a key par putt and steady play down the stretch for a 2-under 68 and a 3-shot victory in the Tour Championship.

“Being a FedEx Cup champion is something that I really wanted to do. I wanted to hold that trophy at the end of the day. It was something that I wanted to accomplish during my career.” He did it by hitting his stride at just the correct time

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He acquired two of the three FedEx Cup postseason events and lost in a playoff by a 65-foot putt in the other.

It all came down to the final day of the final event, and even with a 5-shot lead, it was never easy.

“It’s a very tough trophy to win,” Johnson said. “I controlled my own destiny, but I still had to go out and play well. I had a lot of great players right behind me. It got close at the end. I knew it was going to come down the stretch and I’d have to hit some golf shots.”

None was bigger than the 20-foot par putt on the 13th hole to keep his lead at three shots, the 5-iron safely on the green on the toughest hole at East Lake, another 5-iron over the water on the par-3 15th — the one hole where big numbers lurk — and a wedge out of a deep bunker and onto the green at the 16th.

“This is a tough golf course. No lead is safe,” Johnson said. “The guys gave me a good fight today.” Johnson became the first No. 1 seed at the Tour Championship to collect the FedEx Cup since Tiger Woods in 2009.

Now Johnson has his name etched on the silver trophy alongside some of the best from his generation, starting with Woods and most recently Rory McIlroy, with Hall of Famers, major champions and former world No. 1 players in between.

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Serena wins, Venus falls in 1st round at US Open

Making quick work of an opponent for a change, Serena Williams wrapped up her 102nd career US Open match victory to break a tie with Chris Evert for the most in the professional era. Then Williams headed back out to the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands Tuesday night, her dog in tow.

Williams had a match to watch – her older sister’s, which did not work out as well. Serena Williams, who turns 39 this month, overpowered Kristie Ahn 7-5, 6-3. But Venus Williams, who is 40, lost in the US Open’s first round for the first time in 22 appearances, beaten 6-3, 7-5 by No. 20 Karolina Muchova.

It is the fourth time in the past five Grand Slam tournaments that Venus exited in her opening match.

“I just ran out of time today,” Venus stated. Venus, who won two of her seven major singles championships in New York, was trying to become only the third woman in her 40s to win a US Open singles match.

“We would have never thought we would still be out here, to be honest. I love my job. At the end of the day, I love what I do. I’ve always said, ‘You can’t do it forever’. One of these days, it’s going to end,” Serena said after delivering 13 aces and dropping only six points on her serve.

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She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in the professional era, which started in 1968; only Margaret Court collected more, with 24. Six of Serena’s trophies came at the US Open, and she also was the runner-up four times, including each of the past two years.

Entering Tuesday, Serena had been 3-2 since tennis matches resumed after a hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic – and all five went three sets. So Tuesday’s match was a welcome change. “It’s been years – since the ’90s – since I won a match in straight sets,” Serena joked.

“I’ve been playing a ton of tight matches. I felt like, all right, I just wanted to be ‘Serena-focused’ from the first point to the last point, no matter what happens,” she said.

Her career mark at the hard-court event is 102-13, a winning percentage of .887. “In a weird way, I feel like every time I come here, I’m being told I broke another record. It’s cool. I don’t think I appreciate it enough, which is unfortunate. But I’m in the middle of a Grand Slam, so it’s not the time to be focused for me on records when I’m thinking about winning a tournament,” Serena stated.

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