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Geneva | Medvedev crashes out on return

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Lyon | Norrie through to last eight

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London | ATP relent on two events

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Paolini claims maiden WTA title in Portoroz with Riske win

Italy’s Jasmine Paolini won the first WTA title of her career at the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz on Sunday, defeating Alison Riske, the 3rd seed from the USA, 7-6(4) 6-2, in the final.

I think I was, maybe, a little bit more relaxed. I understood more about the game, I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key. Jasmine Paolini

The 25-year-old Italian, who is currently ranked 87 in the world, came back from a double-break down in the first set to claim her maiden title on the WTA Tour.

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz,” Paolini said, after the match. “I feel just very happy, it’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hard-courts, it’s special.”

Paolini gritted out the lengthy opening set before easing through the second to score her win over the World No 38 after an hour and 45 minutes of play.

“It wasn’t easy to go through to the final,” she said. “I’m proud of myself because I never gave up.

“I’m working really hard in the past couple of months. I understood more about my game, I think.

“I just want to keep this level for all the season that is almost finished, and to stay strong and keep this level.”

Paolini knocked out 4 seeded players here in Slovenia this week, including Dayana Yastremska, the No 6 seed from Ukraine in the opening round, Croatia’s Sorana Cirstea (4) in the quarter-finals, and Kazakstan’s Yulia Putintseva (2) in the semi-finals.

The final started 3 hours late due to rain and Riske, who is a former top 20 player and has won 2 WTA singles titles in her career, raced out of the gates to establish a 5-2 lead, helped along by some beautiful backhands at key moments.

The American, however, was unable to convert as she was broken to love while serving for the set, and she faltered again at 5-4 with the Italian extending the rallies until she could find superb winners of her own, pushing the set into a tiebreak.

Paolini saw her 5-2 lead narrowed down to 5-4 in the breaker, but a long miscue by Riske gave the Italian 2 set points at 6-4.

The ensuing epic rally saw Paolini chasing down all of Riske’s shots until the American finally struck an overhead long after over an hour of play.

“I think I was, maybe, a little bit more relaxed,” Paolini said about her first-set come-back. “I understood more about the game, I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key.”

The second set proved more straightforward for Paolini, once she had broken for 3-2 with a divine forehand winner down the line, and she then reeled off the final 5 games to claim her first title, closing it out sublimely with an error-forcing forehand.

While Paolini struck only 2 more winners than Riske in the match, the major difference came in the unforced error count, with the American outpaced by 44 to her 33.

The unseeded Italian also won two-thirds of Riske’s second-service points, which helped her to convert 6 of her 10 break points in the match.

Portoroz doubles champions Tereza Mihalikova & Anna Kalinskaya


In the doubles final, Russia’s Tereza Mihalikova & Anna Kalinskaya from Slovakia upset No 2 seeds Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic & Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove of Netherlands, 4-6 6-2 [12-10].

It all came down to a topsy-turvy match-tiebreak in which Kalinskaya & Mihalikova saw a 9-4 lead and 5 championship points slip away.

After winning 6 straight points, Krunic & Pattinama Kerkhove held a match point of their own at 10-9, before Kalinskaya & Mihalikova got back on track to pick up the last 3 points of the tilt.

The victory brings Mihalikova the first WTA title of her career, while Kalinskaya now has won 2 WTA doubles titles, with her first coming in Prague in 2019 alongside Viktoria Kuzmova.



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