WTA

Jelena Ostapenko claims second title on grass with victory in Birmingham final

By Sports Desk June 25, 2023

Jelena Ostapenko won her second title on grass with victory over Barbora Krejcikova in the final of the Rothesay Classic in Birmingham.

In a battle of the top two seeds, it was the second seed who came out on top, with Ostapenko triumphing 7-6 (8) 6-4.

It was the Latvian’s first title since Dubai last February and her first on grass since Eastbourne in 2021.

Ostapenko clinched a very tight first set on her fourth set point in the tie-break after saving one chance for Krejcikova and moved to the brink of victory at 5-1 in the second set.

Czech Krejcikova, who will return to the top 10 on Monday, threatened a comeback, winning three games in a row, but Ostapenko made it across the line.

“She’s a really great player and congrats to her and her team,” said the 26-year-old, who has survived several close battles this week.

“I was really close from 5-1 to 5-4 but then I managed somehow and I’m really, really happy about it. I was fighting every match. I played five great matches, this was the only match in two sets. It’s a great preparation for Wimbledon and there’s still a couple of things I can do better.”

Krejcikova, who was playing her first final on grass, did not drop a set until the final and felt losing the first-set tie-break was crucial to the outcome.

“She’s playing well,” said the top seed. “I’m disappointed but that’s tennis. (The tie-break) was maybe the key to the match because when you play the first set that long and you are up, down, up, down all the time – I was very unfortunate.

“I definitely had a great week. It was really nice to be here, I really enjoyed it. It’s special to play on a centre court and to enjoy the support. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back.”

Related items

  • Boris Becker ‘working hard with the authorities’ to return to Wimbledon in 2025 Boris Becker ‘working hard with the authorities’ to return to Wimbledon in 2025

    Boris Becker says he is “working hard with the authorities” to return to the UK and Wimbledon in 2025.

    The three-time Wimbledon men’s singles champion was deported from the UK in December 2022 after serving eight months of a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for hiding £2.5m of assets and loans in a bankruptcy fraud case.

    Becker cannot return to the UK until October 2024 at the earliest following his deportation, but the 56-year-old German plans to return to the tournament he says is “in my DNA” as soon as possible.

    “Wimbledon has been my favourite tournament as a player, coach and commentator,” Becker said at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Madrid.

    “It’s unique, you can’t compare it.

    “I lived in Wimbledon a long time so I’m working hard with the authorities to have all the applications ready to be back for next year. We’re working on 2025.

    “It’s a part of my life. It’s in my DNA, you can’t deny that.”

    Asked if he would be back in the Wimbledon commentary box, Becker replied: “I hope so.”

    Becker has not been involved in tennis since stepping down as Holger Rune’s head coach at the start of February.

    The pair spent less than four months together, but in that time the 20-year-old qualified for the ATP finals in Italy.

    ::The 25th Laureus World Sports Awards take place on Monday evening in Madrid. To find out more, and follow the ceremony, visit www.laureus.com

  • Gary Rowett felt Birmingham lacked rhythm as they drop points at Rotherham Gary Rowett felt Birmingham lacked rhythm as they drop points at Rotherham

    Birmingham interim manager Gary Rowett was left frustrated after his side were held to a 0-0 draw at Rotherham.

    The result edged the Blues two points clear of the Championship relegation zone but it was a missed opportunity to move closer to safety against the already-relegated Rotherham.

    Steve Evans was back in the home dugout following his shock midweek return following the sacking of Leam Richardson and he will have been pleased with the spirited display which kicked off his second stint as Millers’ boss.

    Play was stopped for more than half an hour after nine minutes of the first period when referee Keith Stroud was alerted to a medical emergency in the home stand, with the supporter being taken to hospital after receiving treatment.

    The game lacked quality following the restart but burst into life in the closing stages, with Birmingham’s Jay Stansfield having an effort ruled out for offside.

    Rowett said: “It was an attritional game. The way that Rotherham are going to be set up, you know they’re going to be very direct and play for second balls and make it difficult to get out.

    “I thought it was difficult to find any rhythm. It was a tough game.

    “The first half was a non-event. Second half was a little bit better, we just needed those moments of quality to open the game up. Sometimes we did that without finding an end to it and sometimes we lacked composure.”

    On Stansfield’s disallowed goal, Rowett added: “There is a player in or around the goalkeeper. There is about 15 but one is in an offside position. I don’t think he saves it anyway. It does not impact the keeper’s vision. He hits it so hard and low and wide of the keeper that he isn’t going to save it.”

    Birmingham lead third-bottom Huddersfield by two points and they travel to face the Terriers next weekend.

    “I don’t think you can get any bigger at this stage of the season,” Rowett added.

    “Every game is massive and every game is one where you don’t want to waste an opportunity. We just could not quite find that winning goal today.”

    Rotherham boss Steve Evans is glad to be back at the New York Stadium.

    He said: “It was everything you would have wanted. It was exciting. It was a fantastic welcome. How I got received will go down as another wonderful memory at this place.

    “That is how we play. We played against a team fighting for their lives and against top players.

    “The boys have gone through the pain barrier. All we can do is freshen them up and get them ready for Bristol City and Cardiff.

    “The break in play changed the momentum of the game because they were under the cosh. It was like starting afresh. It gave the Birmingham lads an opportunity to reset.

    “We asked the boys to work incredibly hard. From a neutral point of view a draw was probably a fair result.”

  • Birmingham held by Rotherham as Steve Evans returns to Millers dugout Birmingham held by Rotherham as Steve Evans returns to Millers dugout

    Birmingham edged another point clear of the Championship relegation zone after being held 0-0 by already relegated Rotherham in a game which was held up by a medical emergency in the stands.

    The Blues were left frustrated by Rotherham, who had Steve Evans back in the dugout after his shock return from Stevenage midweek, and the stalemate left the visitors just two points clear of the bottom three with two games to play.

    Birmingham had a chance within the first two minutes when Keshi Anderson burst down the left flank and found Tyler Roberts at the backpost but his volley was off target.

    The match was stopped after nine minutes due to a medical emergency in the home stand, with paramedics rushed over to give treatment to a supporter.

    Referee Keith Stroud took the players off the field for more than 20 minutes and after the supporter was taken to hospital, the game resumed around 3.45pm.

    Anderson was again causing problems after the restart and he got a shot away which Viktor Johansson had to kick away for a corner.

    Rotherham’s Jordan Hugill then headed tamely at John Ruddy after Sebastian Revan had picked him out with a left-wing cross.

    The Millers were hit by two first-half injuries, with Cafu and Peter Kioso both having to be replaced.

    A strike from Oliver Rathbone from the edge of the box looked to be goal-bound but Krystian Bielik bravely put his head in the way.

    Birmingham brought Koji Miyoshi on to liven up their attack at the break and he almost made an instant impact when he cut inside and saw his shot diverted wide.

    A long ball to Jay Stansfield almost led to an opportunity but his touch was too heavy and it ran through into Johansson’s grasp.

    Stansfield thought he had given Birmingham the lead when he lashed in from Paik Seung-ho’s free-kick but it was ruled out for offside by the assistant referee.

    Arvin Appiah had a good opportunity to strike at the other end after he burst forward but his low shot was clung on to by Ruddy.

    Scott Hogan was brought on for the closing stages by interim boss Gary Rowett and he almost got on the end of Lee Buchanan’s near-post cross.

    Rotherham threatened to nick the points when the ball fell to Sam Nombe in the box but the record signing hooked over the chance.

    Miyoshi should really have grabbed the winner when he was found by Bielik on goal but his weak effort was kept out by Johansson.

    Birmingham survived a scare in added on time as Revan’s volley was beaten away by Ruddy.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.