Beatriz Haddad Maia Outlasts Alison Riske in Rothesay Open Final to Claim First WTA Tour Title

It’s a memorable first for Beatriz Haddad Maia.

The 26-year-old Brazilian tennis player defeated USA’s Alison Riske 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the Rothesay Open final to claim her first WTA Tour singles title.

Beatriz Haddad MaiaHaddad Maia, currently ranked at a career-high World No.48, fought back from an early break down in the third set before prevailing after 2 hours and 18 minutes in her first meeting with Riske.

She improves to 1-1 in WTA singles finals, having previously finished as runner-up to Jelena Ostapenko at 2017 Seoul. Riske is now 3-10 in WTA singles finals.

In her Nottingham tournament debut, Haddad Maia battled through the field to collect the first WTA singles title by a Brazilian since Teliana Pereira triumphed at Florianopolis 2015.

Beatriz Haddad MaiaHaddad Maia had already been posting strong results in recent weeks. She won her first WTA 125 title in Saint-Malo in May, then followed that up with a run to the WTA 125 Paris final the following week, helping her hit a new peak in the rankings.

Simply by making the Nottingham final, Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian woman to reach a grass-court singles final since Maria Bueno finished runner-up to Margaret Court at Chestnut Hill in 1968.

Earlier in the week, Haddad Maia had knocked top seed Maria Sakkari out in the quarterfinals, which was the left-hander’s fifth consecutive win in her last five meetings against Top 5 players.

Haddad Maia claimed the only break of the first set to lead 2-1, and she took the one-set lead with her second ace of the day. But the second set was all Riske, as the American charged to a 5-0 lead, then came back from 0-40 down to tie up the final.

In the third set, errors by Haddad Maia gave Riske an early break at 2-1, but heavy hitting by the Brazilian allowed her to immediately get back on serve. At 4-3, a terrific passing winner on the sideline gave Haddad Maia double break point, and she claimed that game after a double fault by Riske.

Serving for the championship at 5-3, Haddad Maia coolly wrapped up the match, drawing two return miscues in a row from Riske to complete the last game and grab the crown.

Haddad Maia’s run puts her in a strong position to be seeded at Wimbledon, as she’s projected to rise to a career-best No. 32.

Leylah Fernandez Outlasts Camila Osorio to Claim Second Straight Monterrey Open Title

Leylah Fernandez is a repeat defender

The 19-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis player outlasted Colombia’s Camila Osorio in an absolutely thrilling final at the Monterrey Open on Sunday night, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (3), to win the WTA 250 hard-court event for the second year in a row.

Leylah FernandezFernandez has to fight off five match points late in the third set to win the tournament.

Fernandez has now won her last 10 matches in a row in Monterrey, 17 of her last 20 matches in Mexico and 19 of her last 24 matches in North America.

There were all kinds of momentum swings throughout the two-hour, 52-minute battle, including right from the get-go, as Fernandez stormed out to a 3-0 lead after just eight minutes on court, eventually extending that to 5-2—but an increasingly determined Osorio clawed back to take the opening set in a tie-break.

Fernandez got back on track in the second set, building a 4-1, double-break lead. Osorio began building another comeback, getting one break back, but Fernandez held onto the other one and ended up serving it out to take it to a decider.

After Fernandez broke in the first game of the third set, Osorio won four games in a row to build a 4-1 lead, then Fernandez came back to 4-all, and that’s when the tension reached its peak—Fernandez staved off five match points, one serving to stay in the match at 4-5 and another four serving to stay in the match at 5-6, the last one coming after a 15-minute-plus delay after several lights in the stadium went out.

But once the lights came back on Fernandez came alive one last time, winning 10 of the last 13 points to close it out, ripping a flurry of forehand winners along the way.

At the end of the day, Fernandez’s numbers were just a bit tidier than Osorio’s—she finished with 15 more winners, 44 to 29, to only 9 more unforced errors, 60 to 51.

Fernandez won her second WTA Tour title, having also won Monterrey last year. She’s the third woman in the 14-year history of the event to win it in back-to-back years, after Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2010-2011) and Garbine Muguruza (2018-2019).

She had also come back from the brink of defeat in the second round earlier in the week—she was two points away from losing serving to stay in the match at 5-6 in the third set against China’s Zheng Qinwen before winning that one, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (3).

Despite the narrow loss in the final, it was a great week for the 20-year-old Osorio, who reached her third WTA final—her first two came last year, winning Bogota and finishing runner-up in Tenerife. She also got the second-biggest win of her career along the way, beating No. 15-ranked Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals—her biggest win also came against Svitolina, when the Ukrainian was No. 6 in Tenerife last year.

The 20-year-old Colombian now rises from No. 44—which was already her career-high—to a new career-high of No. 35 on the new WTA rankings.

On this day a year ago, she was ranked No. 185.

Paula Badosa Edges Past Victoria Azarenka to Win First-Ever WTA 1000 Title at Indian Wells Masters

It’s a debut for books for Paula Badosa

The 23-year-old Spanish tennis player outlasted former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-6 (2) at the BNP Paribas Open, becoming just the third woman to win in her Indian Wells Masters debut and the tournament’s first Spanish champion.

Paula BadosaIn claiming her first WTA 1000 title, Badosa earned $1.2 million.

Badosa joined Bianca Andreescu in 2019 and Serena Williams in 1999 in winning the title in her first appearance. It was Badosa’s second title of her career, having won in Belgrade earlier this year.

Badosa and Azarenka struggled for more than three hours, trading back-to-back service breaks five times. The last time Azarenka broke for a 5-4 lead in the third, and Badosa broke right back for a 5-all tie.

Paula Badosa

“We were both going for our shots, really pushing each other to the max,” Azarenka said.

Badosa missed a backhand that allowed Azarenka to hold at 6-all.

Badosa dominated the tiebreaker, racing to a 6-2 lead. Azarenka dumped a forehand into the net to give Badosa match point.

Paula Badosa

Badosa cracked a forehand winner, then collapsed at the baseline. She lay face down, crying and shaking, before getting up. Azarenka came around the net and hugged the 23-year-old Spaniard.

Azarenka, the two-time major champion and former top-ranked player, was seeking just her second title since 2016. She last won in 2020 at Cincinnati. The 32-year-old from Belarus came up short in her bid to become the first woman to win Indian Wells three times, having taken the title in 2012 and 2016.

Azarenka’s season was interrupted by injuries and she made early exits in the Grand Slam events. Her best result was making the fourth round at the French Open.

“This year has been challenging a bit,” she said, “but finishing on a strong note, not necessarily with the result I wanted but with the progress I wanted to seek, that’s really positive.”

In the first-set tiebreaker, Badosa had leads of 4-0 and 5-3. Azarenka tied it 5-all on Badosa’s netted forehand. Azarenka missed a backhand to give Badosa a set point and the Spaniard cashed in with a backhand winner to take the set.

She beat fifth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova in the fourth round, No. 15 Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals and No. 14 Ons Jabeur in the semifinals — all in straight sets — to reach the final.

“The first thing I learned this week is that nothing is impossible,” Badosa said.

Badosa earned $1.2 million, more than her previous prize money for the year of just over $1 million.

She came into the tournament ranked 27th in the world; a year ago, she was 87th. Badosa is projected to rise to a career-best 13th in Monday’s WTA Tour rankings.

The combined ATP and WTA tour event was one of the first major sporting events canceled in March 2020 when the coronavirus took hold in the U.S. It will return to its usual March slot next year.

Garbine Muguruza Outlasts Ons Jabeur to Claim Chicago Fall Tennis Classic Title

Garbine Muguruza is celebrating a new title…

The 27-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan professional tennis player rallied to beat Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Sunday in the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic for her second WTA Tour victory of the season and ninth overall.

Garbine Muguruza

“I had to be very strong mentally,” Muguruza said. “I suffered that first set, that it didn’t go my way. I just said, ‘OK, this is tennis. I’ve got another set and if I win it, I have another opportunity.’ I definitely gave it all.”

The ninth-ranked Muguruza also won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in March.

Garbine Muguruza

Jabeur, ranked 16th, broke Muguruza’s serve in the fourth game of the opening set, and took the set on a sliced backhand winner from behind the baseline.

After Jabeur broke Mugurzua’s serve again early in the second set to go up 3-2, Muguruza broke back to level it up, then won the next three games to win the set.

In the third set, Muguruza won the first 10 points and broke Jabeur’s serve three times.

“It was the final, the moment you have to give everything in the tank,” Muguruza said. “Forcing that decider set gave me all the energy to kind of jump in the score and dominate that third set.”

Muguruza boosted her chances to qualify for the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico in November. After entering the weekend ranked No. 9 in the world, she will rise to No. 6 in the new WTA Rankings. The top eight players on the tour qualify.

From Tunisia, Jabeur became the first Arab tournament winner in WTA history in June at Birmingham, England. She has a WTA Tour-high 44 match victories this season.

Conchita Martínez Among International Tennis Hall of Fame Nominees

Conchita Martínez may be earning a spot in the Tennis Hall of Fame.

The 46-year-old Spanish former tennis player, the first Spanish player to win the women’s singles title at Wimbledon, has landed on the eight-player ballot for next year’s induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Conchita Martínez 

Martínez is eligible for enshrinement in the player category next year, as announced by the ITHOF.

“This is an exciting year for the International Tennis Hall of Fame election process, with a broad-ranging group of candidates and our first ever Fan Vote. The eight candidates on the ballot come from seven nations, and have achieved tremendous results on tennis’ biggest stages – winning Grand Slam titles and Olympic medals, and topping the world rankings,” stated ITHF President Stan Smith, who also serves as Chairman of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee.

“They’ve also each had massive impact on the sport in their home nations as trailblazers, Olympic and Fed and Davis Cup Champions, first-time Slam winners from their countries, and great ambassadors for tennis. Each has done much for the sport and I hope we’ll see their many fans turn out to vote online to support their Hall of Fame candidacy.”

In a 15-year career on the WTA Tour, Martínez won 33 singles titles and 13 doubles titles. She was the 1994 Wimbledon champion, defeating nine-time champion Martina Navratilova in the final.

She was also a finalist at the Australian Open and French Open.

Martínez reached a career high of world No. 2 and spent 190 weeks ranked inside the world’s Top 5. In addition, she was a key member of five championship Fed Cup teams and a three-time Olympic medalist in doubles.

But Martinez isn’t the only Latin player on the ballot…

Sergi Bruguera is one of the men to make the cut.

The 47-year-old Spanish former tennis player won consecutive men’s singles titles at the French Open in 1993 and 1994, a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in men’s singles and reached a career-high ranking of 3 in August 1994.

Bruguera has been selected to captain the Spain Davis Cup team in 2018

Candidates on the ballot for International Tennis Hall of Fame induction are selected from nominations submitted by the general public and tennis community. The ITHF Enshrinee Nominating Committee, which meets annually in June, then reviews all nominations and determines the ballot. The committee is comprised of 23 individuals from around the world with expertise in various areas of the sport.

The ITHF Voting Group, which consists of tennis media and Hall of Famers, then casts their votes. To be inducted, an affirmative vote of 75 percent of returned ballots is required. Votes are tallied by an independent accounting firm.

New for 2019, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has introduced a fan vote component to the process. From Aug. 27 through Oct. 7, fans around the world are able to participate in the Hall of Fame election process by voting online at vote.tennisfame.com. The top three vote getters in the Fan Vote will receive bonus percentage points added onto their result from the committee to determine their ultimate final result.

The candidate with the highest result in the Fan Vote will receive three additional percentage points, while second and third places will receive two and one additional percentage points respectively.

The results of fan voting will be announced at the conclusion of the voting period in early October. The overall results and the complete Class of 2019 will be announced in January at the Australian Open. The 2019 Induction Ceremony will be hosted on July 20, 2019.

Garcia Wins First-Ever Title on Grass at the Mallorca Open

Caroline Garcia is kicking serious grass, just in time for Wimbledon

The 22-year-old part-Spanish tennis player hit an ace on match point to close out a 6-3, 6-4 victory on Sunday over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova in the Mallorca Open final and claim her first-ever title on grass.

Caroline Garcia

Things turned in Garcia’s favor starting in the seventh game of the match, when she reeled off three games in a row to take the first set.

Sevastova, who had had to spend a night in the hospital earlier in the week due to a stomach virus, continued to battle in the second set but was hurt by her low first-serve percentage – 41 percent – and also was unable to make any impression on Garcia’s service games.

Caroline Garcia
Garcia, the tournament’s sixth seed, defeated former World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals and former Wimbledon finalist Kirsten Flipkens in the semifinals to reach her first final on grass.

It’s Garcia’s second singles title of the year, the third of her career.

Garcia, whose two previous WTA Tour titles had both come on clay, said afterward that she felt comfortable in Mallorca because the ball bounces higher and skids less at this tournament than other grass-court events.

She will now look to keep her momentum going at tennis’ premier grass-court showcase, Wimbledon, which gets under way on June 27.

Muguruza Defeats Timea Bacsinszky at the China Open to Claim Second WTA Tour Title

Garbine Muguruza has returned to the winner’s circle…

The 22-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan professional tennis player claimed her second career WTA Tour title on Sunday, but not without breaking a sweat.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza rallied in both sets in the China Open women’s final to defeat Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-4.

Muguruza trailed 5-2 in the opening set before winning five straight games to clinch it, then went down an early break in the second set before coming back yet again.

She’ll rise to a career-high ranking of No. 4 on Monday, while Bacsinszky will break into the top 10 for the first time.

“Definitely it’s a big achievement. I think, you know, to see you are improving, also on the tennis side, but in the rankings, it’s that moment when there’s only three more in front of me,” Muguruza said, smiling. “Three more. Three more.”

Muguruza struggled after her breakthrough performance at Wimbledon—where she reached the finals—losing in the second round of the US Open. But she has played some of her best tennis in the past two weeks. She also reached the final last week in Wuhan, retiring in the second set with a left ankle injury while trailing Venus Williams.

Hours after winning the China Open, Muguruza pulled out of this week’s Hong Kong Open. Organizers said she needed to recover from an ankle problem.