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Tennis: Alexander Zverev Wins Western & Southern Open Tournament

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Germany’s Alexander Zverev took down Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-2, 6-3 in 59 minutes to win the Western & Southern Open, while top seed Ashleigh Barty claimed the women’s category of the tournament at Mason, Ohio, USA.

The third-seeded Zverev, ranked No. 5 in the world, won his 17th career singles title, his fifth title at the ATP Masters 1000 level and his fourth event of the season.

The victory follows on the heels of Zverev winning the men’s singles Gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. He had never won a match at the Cincinnati-area event until this year.

“The first win I ever had on these courts was on Wednesday, four days ago, and now I have my first title here,” Zverev said in his on-court interview. “It has been an incredible week, a lot of great matches. It is an incredible feeling going into the US Open.”

Zverev won 26 of 28 first-serve points and converted five break points in 10 opportunities. He now has an 11-match winning streak going just one week before the final Grand Slam of the season.

The fourth-seeded Rublev put up a fight, smashing 11 aces without committing a single double fault. Rublev, ranked No. 7 in the world, is still seeking his first ATP Masters 1000 title.

Alexander Zverev (R) poses with Andrey Rublev (L) at the trophy presentation after their Western and Southern Open final match at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre in Mason, OH, USA

“I did not do a big celebration because I know how Andrey feels as well, because we have been best friends since we were 11 years old,” Zverev said. “And I know he is seeking his first Masters 1000 win but it is going to come very soon I think.”

Zverev also won in Madrid and Acapulco earlier in the season before earning gold in Tokyo, where he took down Novak Djokovic, who was striving for a “golden slam” of four Grand Slams plus Olympic gold in a single year.

Ashleigh Barty wins Western & Southern Open Tournament

Women’s tennis World number one Ashleigh Barty will head to the US Open in peak form after ending Swiss wildcard Jil Teichmann’s brave run with a 6-3 6-1 defeat to claim the Western and Southern Open title in Cincinnati.

Wimbledon champion Barty will now bid for her third Grand Slam crown and first on hardcourt at New York after humbling major winners Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka and Barbora Krejcikova.

“It’s been an awesome week. I felt like with each match we’re getting progressively better and better in most parts of my game,” Barty said after clinching her tour-leading fifth title of a stellar 2021.

Ashleigh Barty (R) and Jil Teichmann (L) at the net after their match during the Western and Southern Open final at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre in Mason, OH, USA

“Today against Jil I feel like I was able to really trust myself and play with confidence, get after the ball, be aggressive and get a bit of a run-on, which was going to be important in a big final.”

“I think we’re just excited that we’ve got matches under our belt in tough conditions here in Cincy, and that’s put us in really good stead going into New York.”

Barty, 25, came out of the Tokyo Olympics with a doubles bronze medal and a tinge of disappointment after her quest for singles Gold ended with a first-up loss to Sara Sorribes Tormo. However, the change of scene in the United States appears to have done wonders, along with a more aggressive mindset on the back of excellent serving.

“I felt like these conditions were going to reward good serving and good first-strike tennis,” Barty added. “Even though that’s not necessarily my repertoire all the time, I felt like I wanted to push myself this week to try and be more assertive on my serve.”

World number 76 Teichmann will also head to the US Open with new confidence in her game after a terrific week, having upset US Open champion Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova and Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.

 

Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.

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