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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Kvitova outplays Mladenovic to lift title

Sports Shorts: Kvitova outplays Mladenovic to lift title

Last updated on: February 04, 2018 20:54 IST

A summary of sports events and sports persons who made news on Sunday.

Petra Kvitova

IMAGE: Double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova last played in a final in June, when she won the title in Birmingham. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova captured the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Sunday for her first title of the year, beating defending champion Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-2 in the final.

Kvitova, who entered the tournament as a wild card, was dominant in the opening exchanges and hit 16 winners in taking the first set.

The 27-year-old broke her French opponent's serve twice more in the second set to seal the match in just over an hour.

"This was a special tournament for me," Kvitova said in her on-court interview.

"All week, I played unbelievable matches and I really had to fight to make the final. It is not easy at the beginning of the year. I had to focus hard for the win."

The Czech left-hander gave few opportunities on her serve to Mladenovic, firing nine aces and saving all three break points faced in front of a buoyant Sibur Arena crowd.

"Coming into this week, there was a lot of pressure and I don't think many people expected me to show up in the finals," the 24-year-old Mladenovic said in her runner-up speech.

"I fought very hard every single match to make it back here but Petra had an amazing week."

The victory meant Kvitova maintained her streak of winning at least one WTA title since 2011 and now moves back up to world number 21, while German semi-finalist Julia Goerges will make her top-10 debut in Monday's rankings.

Mannarino earns injury-hit France quarter-final spot in Davis Cup

Holders France qualified for the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup when stand-in player Adrian Mannarino earned them a 3-1 unassailable lead against the Netherlands on Sunday despite Les Bleus being without their two best players because of injuries.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille both withdrew injured and France were trailing 1-0 after the opening singles on Friday when Mannarino, who was called up at the last minute, lost to Thiemo De Bakker in Albertville.

However Richard Gasquet levelled with a commanding win against Robin Haase before Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hughes Herbert won Saturday's doubles.

Mannarino came back from a set down against Haase to clinch the decisive point with a 4-6, 7-6(6), 7-5, 6-7(2), 7-5 victory on Sunday to set up a last-eight tie with Italy, victors over Japan in Morioka.

France were joined in the last eight by Spain after they beat Britain 3-1 in Marbella despite Cameron Norrie's best efforts against Albert Ramos-Vinas in a 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(4) 6-2 defeat for the world number 114.

Norrie had beaten world number 23 Roberto Bautista-Agut in the opening singles on Friday but Spain were a cut above their opponents as they set up a quarter-final meeting with Germany, who defeated Australia 3-1, in April.

Neymar on target as PSG extend Ligue 1 lead to 11 points

Neymar

IMAGE: Neymar celebrates scoring Paris Saint-Germain’s second goal against Lille. Charles Platiau/Reuters

Neymar scored his 18th Ligue 1 goal as Paris St Germain extended their lead to 11 points with a 3-0 win at Lille on Saturday.

The Brazil striker fired home with a superb free kick after Yuri Berchiche had opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime, with Giovani Lo Celso sealing a straightforward victory in the closing stages.

The win put PSG on 62 points from 24 games with second-placed Olympique de Marseille, who hammered Metz 6-3 away on Friday, on 51.

Lille are 17th on 25 points, one point above safety.

PSG went ahead in the 45th minute when Berchiche netted with a low shot after the Lille defence had failed to clear Edinson Cavani's cross.

Neymar, who was doubtful after taking a knock earlier this week, doubled the tally with a 17-metre free kick into the top corner.

Lo Celso then scored his first Ligue 1 goal with a fine lob over Mike Maignan in the 87th.

Inter's winless run continues with draw against Crotone

Inter Milan's two-month long winless run continued when they were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Crotone at San Siro in Serie A and were jeered off the pitch.

Eder gave Inter a 23rd-minute lead when the Brazilian-born forward headed in from a corner but Andrea Barberis levelled on the hour for Crotone who are 17th, one place above the relegation zone.

Inter, fourth in the table, have not won in any competition since Dec. 3 when they thumped Chievo 5-0.

Sampdoria and Torino drew 1-1 in Saturday's other game.

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