Sunday, October 31, 2021

Kontaveit handles Halep in final, will make top-10 debut

Anett Kontaveit has won 10 consecutive matches
and 26 of her last 28. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   Not even Simona Halep, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion and former world No. 1 playing in her home country, could stop Anett Kontaveit.
   The second-seeded Kontaveit won her second title in two weeks and fourth of the year today, overwhelming the top-seeded Halep 6-2, 6-3 in 70 minutes on an indoor hardcourt in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. 
   Kontaveit, a 25-year-old Estonian, did not drop a set in the tournament. She has won 10 consecutive matches and 26 of her last 28 with four titles under her new coach, Dmitry Tursunov, a 38-year-old Moscow native who trained in Northern California as a junior and professional.
   Kontaveit clinched the last spot in the WTA Finals, Nov. 10-17 in Guadalajara. She will make her top-10 debut on Monday, rising six spots to No. 8. 
   Halep returned to competition in August after missing three months with a calf tear.
   ATP Tour — Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz, 23-year-old Americans who combined to win three singles titles in Northern California Challengers, lost to 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) players in indoor hardcourt finals.
   No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany defeated Tiafoe, a qualifier, 7-5, 6-4 in Vienna for his fifth title of the year. Zverev improved to 25-2 since Wimbledon, including the singles gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
   Unseeded Marin Cilic of Croatia outlasted the fifth-seeded Fritz 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 in St. Petersburg, becoming the sixth active player to win at least 20 career tour-level titles. Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, joined Roger Federer (103), Rafael Nadal (88), Novak Djokovic (85), Andy Murray (46) and Juan Martin del Potro (22).
   Cilic played in St. Petersburg for the first time since 2011, when he also captured the title.
   Fritz, who won Sacramento and Fairfield back to back at 17 in 2015, and Tiafoe, who claimed Stockton at 18 the following year, were seeking their second career ATP titles.
    In the second (final) round of qualifying for the Paris Masters, No. 3 seed Jenson Brooksby, 21, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area defeated No. 14 seed Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in 3 hours, 2 minutes.
   Brooksby, who edged Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4) in the first round, is scheduled to play 2016 champion Murray, a 34-year-old wild card with a metal hip, on Monday at 11:30 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel) in the Masters 1000 tournament, the highest level besides the Grand Slams.
   Brooksby has been compared to Murray, a three-time Grand Slam singles champion, because of their outstanding defense. Murray won the first of his tour-level titles in San Jose at 18 in 2006 and repeated the next year.
   USTA Pro Circuit — No. 1 seed Rinky Hijikata, a University of North Carolina junior from Australia, beat unseeded Tristan Boyer, a Stanford sophomore from Altadena in the Los Angeles area, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to win the $25,000 USTA Men's Pro Tennis Championship of Calabasas in the L.A. region.

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