Jelena Ostapenko claimed her first WTA singles title for over two years as she saw off Julia Goerges in the final of the Luxembourg Open.

Ostapenko was playing in her second final in as many weeks after losing in the Linz showpiece to teenager Coco Gauff.

However, the former French Open champion went one better in Luxembourg, cruising to a 6-4 6-1 win over Goerges.

The championship marks Ostapenko's first since the Korea Open in September 2017, three months after her French Open final triumph over Simona Halep.

Ostapenko needed only one break to take the first set and it came in the ninth game when Goerges fired long, the Latvian then consolidating to wrap up the opener.

Goerges' resistance faded in much shorter order in the second as the German faltered on the forehand side, allowing Ostapenko to race to victory having lost her previous two finals of 2019.

Belinda Bencic came from behind to defeat home favourite Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and claim glory at the Kremlin Cup.

A 3-6 6-1 6-1 victory in one hour and 44 minutes on Sunday earned Bencic a fourth career WTA Tour title and a second of her resurgent 2019.

Bencic booked her place in the WTA Finals in Shenzhen with her semi-final victory over Kristina Mladenovic and capped the week with a Premier title.

It came after a shaky start in which she dropped the opening game on serve and was later broken again en route to losing the first set.

But she struck on Pavlyuchenkova's serve in the first game of the next set to immediately launch her comeback and broke on a further two occasions to level the match.

Bencic, the world number 10, was in control and raced 5-0 up in the decider, converting her first championship point soon after when Pavlyuchenkova smashed a return into the net.

After her poor opening set, the Swiss star did not allow 2014 champion Pavlyuchenkova a single break point in her dominant second and third sets.

"It feels unbelievable right now, I still can't imagine it," said Bencic, who was the third seed in Moscow.

"I had no pressure going into this match. We were so happy on Saturday celebrating Shenzhen and this is the cherry on top."

Belinda Bencic booked her place in the WTA Finals by progressing to the showpiece of the Kremlin Cup, where she will meet home hope Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Bencic needed to beat Kristina Mladenovic to secure her spot in Shenzhen and made no mistake in the 6-3 6-4 defeat of the Frenchwoman.

This week's event in Moscow marked the final opportunity for the Swiss, who has enjoyed a resurgent 2019 having previously dropped out of the top 300 amid injury problems, to reach the season-ending tournament.

Bencic, whose run to the US Open semi-finals was highlighted by a victory over Naomi Osaka, said: "I think tomorrow [Sunday], I'll just be so happy to be in the final and will enjoy it already knowing I'll be in Shenzhen.

"This gives me a great feeling and hopefully I can take that into tomorrow and play even better.

"It means the world to me. Obviously, it was a big goal this season, particularly after I started it so strongly, and having put myself in a position to reach the WTA Finals I'm so happy now to have reached it.

"To do it at the last minute makes it even more emotional. There was lots of pressure today and I was really nervous so I'm just over the moon to somehow have made it to the Finals."

Pavlyuchenkova stands between Bencic and a second title of 2019 after defeating Karolina Muchova 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-1.

Jelena Ostapenko will take on Julia Goerges in the final of the Luxembourg Open, where Coco Gauff enjoyed doubles success alongside Caty McNally, a team dubbed 'McCoco' during the US Open.

Goerges won in straight sets against Elena Rybakina, while Ostapenko came from a set down to beat Anna Blinkova, who knocked out Gauff in the first round.

Fifteen-year-old Gauff was unable to follow up her first WTA singles crown in Linz with a run in Luxembourg, but she claimed her second doubles title alongside fellow American teenager McNally, the pair defeating Kaitlyn Christian and Alexa Guarachi 6-2 6-2.

Belinda Bencic clinched a debut appearance at the end-of-season WTA Finals, meaning Serena Williams will miss out.

Swiss star Bencic reached as high as seventh in the world rankings during the 2016 season before slumping outside the top 300, with poor form compounded by injury trouble.

But 22-year-old Bencic has returned to the top 10 since reaching the semi-finals of the US Open in September, beating defending champion Naomi Osaka along the way in New York.

A 6-3 6-4 victory over France's Kristina Mladenovic in the semi-finals of the Kremlin Cup on Saturday made sure of Bencic's appearance in the eight-player WTA Finals.

That lucrative event is the last major tournament of the WTA season and takes place in Shenzhen, China, from October 27 to November 3.

Bencic becomes the last player to secure a place, joining Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina, Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova and Bianca Andreescu.

She nudged ahead of Williams in the Race to Shenzhen to deny the American a place in the elite field for the upcoming tournament that carries prize money of $14million.

Williams has been inactive since the US Open and is unlikely to be perturbed by missing the WTA Finals.

Bencic said in an on-court interview: "I'm so happy I reached the top eight. It was a huge goal for me this season and so last-minute.

"I was so nervous before the match, but also reaching the final here [in Moscow] tomorrow is amazing. I'm so happy."

Kiki Bertens look set to miss out on the WTA Finals following a Kremlin Cup quarter-final defeat to Kristina Mladenovic, which left the door open for Belinda Bencic to make her Shenzhen debut.

Bertens missed out on a place in the last four in Moscow when she was beaten 6-4 2-6 6-1 by the unseeded Mladenovic.

The second seed will require a withdrawal to feature in the season-ending tournament in China after failing to climb above the eighth-placed Serena Williams in the standings.

Mladenovic mixed up her game with skill and intelligence and faces a semi-final showdown with Bencic next.

Bencic will move ahead of both Bertens and Williams to grab a Shenzhen spot if she records one more win following a 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 result against qualifier Kirsten Flipkens on Friday.

The Swiss third seed, who has never played in the WTA Finals, drew on her fighting spirit to come from 4-1 down in the opening set and edged a tie-break after saving two set points, then dominated the second set.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Karolina Muchova will contest the other semi-final after getting the better of Veronika Kudermetova and Ekaterina Alexandrova respectively.

Meanwhile, defending champion Julia Goerges rallied from a set down to beat Monica Puig 1-6 6-2 6-3 and reach the last four of the Luxembourg Open.

The German will take on Elena Rybakina, a 6-0 6-4 winner against Laura Siegemund, while Jelena Ostapenko and Anna Blinkova will also do battle for a place in the final.

 

 

Veronika Kudermetova upset top seed Elina Svitolina in the second round of the Kremlin Cup and Jelena Ostapenko fought back to knock Elise Mertens out of the Luxembourg Open on Thursday.

Kudermetova came out on top in her first match against a top-five opponent, defeating Svitolina 6-1 2-6 7-5 in Moscow.

The 22-year-old Russian wrapped up the opening set in only 28 minutes and came from 2-0 down in the decider to move into the quarter-finals.

Kudermetova's attacking approach paid off, world number four Svitolina showing resolve in the final set but missing out on a last-eight showdown with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Second seed Kiki Bertens advanced with 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory over Kaia Kanepi, while Pavlyuchenkova won an all-Russian contest with Varvara Gracheva 5-7 6-4 6-2.

Kristina Mladenovic will face Bertens after battling her way past sixth seed Anastasija Sevastova 7-5 3-6 6-3.

The top seed also bowed out Luxembourg, with Ostapenko digging deep to see off Mertens 4-6 6-2 6-2.

Ostapenko, runner-up to Coco Gauff at the Linz Open last weekend, will now come up against Antonia Lottner, who went through when Andrea Petkovic retired with a knee injury after losing the first set 6-1.

Defending champion Julie Goerges saw off Sorana Cirstea 4-6 6-4 6-4, while Anna Blinkova and Monica Puig also made it through, defeating Kristyna Pliskova 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-6 (8-6). 

Camila Giorgi bageled Andrea Petkovic in the first set of their first-round match at the Luxembourg Open, but the sixth seed was still eliminated.

Giorgi took just 24 minutes to wrap up the opener and yet Petkovic, a semi-finalist at the Linz Open last week, bounced back, coming from a break down late in the third set to advance.

Fiona Ferro won a solitary game as Monica Puig swatted the seventh seed aside 6-1 6-0, with Alison Van Uytvanck, ranked fourth in Luxembourg, also out having retired in her match against Monica Niculescu when leading 4-2 in the first set.

However, top seed Elise Mertens and third seed Elena Rybakina made it through in straight sets.

Defending champion Daria Kasatkina was knocked out of the Kremlin Cup by fifth seed Dayana Yastremska, the teenager building on a 5-0 lead in the opener to win 6-1 6-4.

Elsewhere, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won the tournament in 2014, came from behind to oust seventh seed Maria Sakkari in a 5-7 6-1 6-3 triumph.

Two-time champion Svetlana Kuznetsova suffered an early exit at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow on Monday, losing to Karolina Muchova in straight sets.

Home favourite Kuznetsova – who won the WTA Tour tournament in 2015 before returning to successfully defend her title the following year – managed just 13 winners as Muchova triumphed 6-2 6-3 to set up a second-round clash with fourth seed Donna Vekic.

Anastasija Sevastova had no such problems in her opening encounter, easing past Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1 7-5, while Anna Kalinskaya overcame Anastasia Potapova 6-0 3-6 6-4 via a tense final set that saw the two players combine to produce seven breaks of serve.

Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens are the top seeds for the tournament, though neither are in action during Tuesday's play in Russia.

At the Luxembourg Open, Viktoria Kuzmova rallied from a set down to defeat teenager Katie Volynets 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-1) 6-1.

The sixth seed let slip a 5-2 lead in the second set before eventually prevailing in a tie-break, while she dropped just 10 points in the decider to triumph after two hours, 33 minutes on court.

Margarita Gasparyan, Tatjana Maria and Denisa Allertova also recorded three-set wins in the main draw, the latter coming through via a tense tie-break against Mandy Minella.

 

Coco Gauff's first WTA Tour title at the Linz Open means the 15-year-old has the prize money to buy a Halloween costume she hopes will be the best in the sport.

The outstanding teenager, who starred at Wimbledon and the US Open, became the youngest champion on the main tour in 15 years as she defeated Jelena Ostapenko on Sunday.

The victory capped a sensational week for Gauff, who also claimed a landmark first win against a top-10 player when she downed world number eight Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals.

Despite a fast-moving week, which started with the American entering the tournament as a lucky loser, Gauff has already made plans for her reported winnings of $43,000.

"I know Halloween is coming up and it's one of my favourite times of year," she said. "So I guess I'll splurge a little bit on my costume and make sure it's right.

"[The costume is] a secret, because I know last year they had a WTA contest for the best costumes, and I came in third. This year my goal is to come in first!"

Gauff drew huge crowds as she made grand slam breakthroughs at the All England Club and then at Flushing Meadows, yet she revealed she had not expected to be in contention for titles at the start of the season.

"I'm still overwhelmed and shocked," she said. "I guess it's crazy to say it's my first WTA title.

"This was definitely not on the calendar at the beginning of the year, because I didn't think I'd have a chance to get in. And now I'm the champion, so it's crazy."

Gauff is the first player this season to win on the tour as a lucky loser and added: "It's just literally insane that I got in as a lucky loser and now I'm the champion.

"My dad told me when I got in, before the first main-draw match, he said, 'You can't lose twice in the same tournament!'

"I'm sure he never thought it would come this far, to being the champion, but I guess he was right."

Rebecca Peterson won her second title of the 2019 Asian swing as she denied a resurgent Heather Watson at the Tianjin Open.

Having won the Jiangxi Open in Nanchang, Peterson overcame Watson 6-4 6-4 in a rain-delayed final.

The match was postponed by over five hours, with adverse weather during the warm-up then forcing a switch to an indoor court.

But the weather did not dampen Peterson's clinical performance, though Watson - who had knocked out second seed Wang Qiang and Bronx Open champion Magda Linette en route to the final - did take an early advantage.

Watson broke Peterson's first service game, but the Swede immediately rallied to break back at the fourth time of asking in the next game.

Another break followed to give Peterson a 5-4 lead, with the 24-year-old saving a break point to wrap up the set.

Watson started the second set on the front foot, only to concede two successive breaks - Peterson holding her serves as she cruised clear to claim the prize with her first match point.

Peterson's triumph will take her into the WTA's top 40, while Watson will move back into the top 100.

Coco Gauff claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career with a thrilling 6-3 1-6 6-2 victory over Jelena Ostapenko in the final of the Linz Open.

The 15-year-old American sensation was the youngest WTA finalist since Nicole Vaidisova won the Tashkent Open in 2004 and showed plenty of the form that saw her spring to grand slam prominence this year to take the first set.

Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, rallied impressively both to level matters and delay a victory that marks the latest staging post in Gauff's rapid rise.

Gauff, who stunned world number eight Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals, was forced to save a pair of break points in the first game but immediately got stuck in to the Ostapenko serve, opening up a 3-0 lead.

Playing her first final of 2019, Ostapenko settled well enough thereafter but Gauff looked imperious, shrugging off a double fault at the start of the ninth game to take the set.

Ostapenko finally got a look at her opponent's serve in set two as they exchanged breaks early on, before the weight of what she seemed set to accomplish appeared to hinder Gauff.

It meant the second went 6-1 to the world number 72 but the pedigree Gauff displayed en route to round four at Wimbledon and round three in the US Open came emphatically to the fore in the decider.

After dropping serve for 2-0, Ostapenko got involved in an animated exchange with the umpire, repeatedly asking the official, "Can you see the ball?"

At the next change of ends, newly appointed coach Marion Bartoli sought to settle her charge but Gauff was on a roll, and Ostapenko was forced to gamely repel a pair of match points at 5-0.

Those near misses knocked the teenager, who plopped a forehand into the net to be broken to love in the next game.

She regrouped superbly, however, as both players tore into each other with all-or-nothing groundstrokes. One of those from Ostapenko was shown to be long on a challenge and Gauff let out a scream of delight, embracing a landmark triumph.

Coco Gauff says her run to a first WTA Tour final at the age of 15 shows she is ready to play at a top level.

Gauff needed a lucky loser spot to take her place in the main draw of the Linz Open after failing to qualify but could claim the title on Sunday following a 6-4 6-4 defeat of Andrea Petkovic.

The American, who reached the fourth round of Wimbledon and third round at the US Open this year, will face Jelena Ostapenko after the 2017 French Open champion booked her place in the final by beating Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Gauff saved nine of the 10 break points she faced in a superb defensive display, with the teenager thrilled by her continued rise.

"This is actually the first time in my life, including juniors, that I got into something as a lucky loser, and now I'm in the final," said Gauff. "I guess every little thing counts. You never know what it could lead to.

"Last year, around this time, I was playing a juniors Grade 1 [tournament], and I lost in the quarter-finals there, in Mexico. It's crazy how much a year can make a difference in improvement.

"I thought this was one of the highest-level matches I played, even though it was straight sets. No game was really easy to win, I felt, for either player.

"Andrea was playing an amazing match, and she was hitting a lot of winners and put a lot of pressure on me to put the ball deep. I guess I was fighting for every point, because you never know what happens.

"Maybe after these [earlier] matches, they boosted my confidence a lot. It kind of showed I can play at this top level, and hang with these top players."

Gauff, who enjoyed her first career top-10 win against Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals in Austria, will move into the top 100 of the WTA rankings when they are updated on Monday.

Teenage sensation Coco Gauff will face Jelena Ostapenko in her first WTA Tour singles final after beating Andrea Petkovic in straight sets at the Linz Open. 

Gauff needed a lucky loser spot to take her place in the main draw after failing to qualify but could claim the title on Sunday following a 6-4 6-4 defeat of Petkovic. 

The 15-year-old American saved nine of 10 break points she faced and rallied from 2-0 down to win the first set before claiming the only break of the second to oust German Petkovic on Saturday. 

Gauff showed great defence and mixed up her game impressively, making Petkovic pay for a double fault which gave the teenager a 3-2 advantage in the second set. 

The Florida native, set to move into the top 100 in the rankings on Monday, won 71 per cent of points on her second serve and broke new ground when she put away a textbook volley. 

Ostapenko saved three match points in a battling 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 defeat of Ekaterina Alexandrova. 

The 2017 French Open champion showed her fighting spirit to reach a first singles final of the year after fending off a match point in the second set and another two in the decider. 

Rebecca Peterson reached her second WTA Tour final in the space of a month by booking a Tianjin Open clash against Heather Watson, who made her first showpiece since 2016.

Sweden's Peterson, a recent winner in Nanchang, recovered from a dreadful first set to defeat Ons Jabeur 0-6 6-4 7-5 in the first semi-final on Saturday.

She will meet Watson in the final of the WTA International event after the Briton won in straight sets against Veronika Kudermetova, triumphing 6-1 6-4 in 74 minutes.

Peterson suffered a bagel in the opener of her match, though the set was closer than the scoreline suggested as the first five games went to deuce.

In the second, Peterson missed a chance to serve it out at 5-3 but then broke Jabeur in the next game to level the contest.

She fell 3-1 behind in the decider before winning six of the last eight games to progress from a hard-fought encounter in two hours and six minutes.

"It was a really tough match," said Peterson. "[Jabeur] played well, I couldn't find my rhythm and I had to fight for every point so I'm happy that I got the win in the end."

Watson made her first WTA final in three-and-a-half years, winning the first set with ease as Kudermetova – ranked 80 places above her – did not earn a single a break point.

One break was enough to settle a closer second set, with world number 125 Watson converting her third match point.

She has won all of her previous three finals on the main tour, while Peterson's Jiangxi Open success in September was her only prior such contest.

Coco Gauff reached her first WTA Tour semi-final on Friday with a stunning win over world number eight Kiki Bertens at the Linz Open.

The 15-year-old, in the main draw as a lucky loser after initially failing to qualify, produced another demonstration of her enormous potential by claiming her first victory against a top-10 player.

American Gauff, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon as the tournament's youngest Open era qualifier and then the third round at the US Open, saw off Dutch player Bertens 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 in an hour and 37 minutes.

She becomes the WTA Tour's youngest semi-finalist since 2004, when Nicole Vaidisova won in Tashkent.

The American, who will break into the top 100 as a result of her exploits in Austria, will face Andrea Petkovic on Saturday for a place in the final.

Petkovic beat Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4 6-1, the German reaching her first semi-final of 2019.

The other last-four clash will see Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova take on Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.

Alexandrova dispatched Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 6-4 and former French Open champion Ostapenko overcame Elena Rybakina 7-5 6-1.

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