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Kostyuk wins first title, dedicates it to Ukraine

SportsTennisKostyuk wins first title, dedicates it to Ukraine
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Austin, Texas — marta kostyuk At the age of 20, she won her first career WTA title by defeating Varvara Gracheva 6-3, 7-5 in the final of the ATX Open on Sunday, then dedicated the victory to his home country, Ukraine.

Eighth seed Kostyuk and unseeded Gracheva, a 22-year-old Russian, did not meet at the net for the traditional postmatch handshake; Kostyuk has said she would not do so after facing any adversaries from Russia, which launched its invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago, or Belarus, which helped launch the attack.

“Winning this title in the position I’m in right now is very special, and I want to dedicate this title,” Kostyuk said during the trophy ceremony at the inaugural edition of the hard-court tournament in the Texas capital. Ukraine and all those people who are fighting and dying right now.”

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When Gracheva hit a forehand long to end the match after 1½ hours, Kostyuk – who had trailed 5–3 in the second set and saved a set point at 5–4 – dropped to her knees at the baseline, she He put his hands on his hands. Her face and sobs.

“Obviously,” said Kostyuk, who was the junior champion at the 2017 Australian Open, “it’s a very special moment.”

Both players were participating in a tour-level title match for the first time, and they combined for 13 breaks of serve – eight by Kostyuk – and 14 double faults. Both won less than 50% points on serve.

There were only two aces, both by Gracheva, including one that gave her a set point at 5–4, 40–30. But she missed a chance to force a third set by pushing a forehand wide. Gracheva, ranked 88, who knocked out No. 1 seed Magda Lynette and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens For the first in the tournament, put another forehand into the net to face break point. Kostyuk changed that by ending a 16-shot exchange with a forehand volley winner.

Kostyuk, who came in ranked 52nd on the day, then broke with an underhand serve to break to 6–5, before serving out another break to finish the match in four games.

She is the first-time champion on the women’s tour for the third time in 2023.

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