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Tennis: De Minaur near-perfect on serve to win Atlanta Open

July 29, 2019 10:11 IST

Australia's Alex De Minaur with the trophy after defeating American Taylor Fritz in the final of the BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday

IMAGE: Australia's Alex De Minaur with the trophy after defeating American Taylor Fritz in the final of the BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday. Photograph: Logan Riely/Getty Images

Alex de Minaur was again near-perfect on serve in claiming his second ATP title with a 6-3, 7-6(2) win over American Taylor Fritz at the Atlanta Open on Sunday.

De Minaur, 20, went the entire tournament without facing a break point, and the Australian fittingly clinched victory with a deft serve-and-volley backhand winner.

It is the second title for third seed De Minaur, who won the Sydney International in January before being set back by a groin injury.

 

"This one is really special to me. I felt like I really needed this," he said after becoming the event's youngest champion.

"To start the year with a bang and then be slowed down by injuries ... you expect your level to be right there once you come back, but you have to slowly grind your way back."

De Minaur has had a testing northern summer.

He lost in the second round at both the French Open and Wimbledon, the latter in a tough five-setter against American Steve Johnson, and arrived in Atlanta ranked 34th in the world.

He will leave town brimming with confidence as he sets his sights on the US Open that starts late next month.

"I’ve been playing great tennis and felt like if I could keep it all together, the good results will come," he said.

"I don’t think I could start the American hardcourt season any better than this."

Fritz said he was beaten by a better man on the day.

"It's so good to see him back playing good tennis after struggling with injuries," he said.

"He played really well and I just needed to up it even more if I wanted to win.

"It hurts so much to lose a final but I'm still confident and will keep moving forward."

Albert Ramos-Vinolas topples Stebe to lift Swiss Open title

Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas eased past German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-3, 6-2 to win the second ATP title of his career at the Swiss Open on Sunday after not dropping a set at the clay court tournament all week.

The 31-year-old Ramos-Vinolas wrapped up his first triumph since winning in Bastad, Sweden, three years ago after both players' patience was tested by a four-and-a-half hour delay to the start of the final because of persistent rain in Gstaad.

After the long wait, it was world number 455 Stebe who made the quicker start with a break of serve to begin the contest.

The 85th ranked Ramos-Vinolas, however, quickly found his groove and took a 4-2 lead when a Stebe forehand sailed wide to finish a lengthy game and earn him a second break.

Stebe was forced to play two matches on Saturday due to poor weather conditions earlier in the tournament and fatigue seemed to get the better of him in the final.

A backhand winner on the slide earned Ramos-Vinolas a break of serve in the opening game of the second set and he never looked back, wrapping up the win in an hour and 21 minutes.

"It was not easy because everybody said it was raining all day," Ramos-Vinolas said afterwards.

"I said to my coach and my wife I was thinking I have to be ready because if it stops, you uncover the court and in 30 minutes you are on court.

"All the time I was thinking I have to be ready and I was ready. So you have to be calm, but at the same time you have to be excited."

Basilashvili outlasts Rublev to defend Hamburg title

Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili won the Hamburg European Open for a second consecutive year, beating Andrey Rublev 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the final on Sunday.

Fourth seed Basilashvili won 81% of his first-serve points and struck 26 forehand winners to record his 12th straight win on Hamburg clay, which includes 10 main draw victories.

The 27-year-old has now lifted three tour-level titles, with his other triumph coming in Beijing last year.

World number 16 Basilashvili, who saved two match points in his semi-final win over world number five Alexander Zverev, broke Rublev twice early in the final set and maintained the advantage to seal victory in just over two hours.

With the win, Basilashvili became the first player since Roger Federer in 2005 to claim back-to-back Hamburg crowns.

Russian youngster Rublev failed to add to his maiden title triumph in 2017 in Umag but was pleased with his impressive run this week, which included a straight sets win over top seed Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals.

"It was a good week for me. For the moment, my best week," said Rublev.

"Of course, it is always disappointing to lose in a final, but Nikoloz was playing really well and he deserves it. To win two years in a row here is amazing. It is really hard. It is really tough mentally and he did it. It is unbelievable."

'Coco' makes Washington main draw, will face Diyas in first round

Cori "Coco" Gauff on Sunday made it through to the main draw of the Citi Open in Washington, needing barely an hour to win her final qualifier.

She will play 84th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in the first round in what will be Gauff's third tournament appearance in the main draw.

Gauff, 15, last month became the youngest woman in the professional era to make the Wimbledon main draw.

She beat Venus Williams before losing in the fourth round to eventual champion Simona Halep.

Gauff had to get through two rounds of qualifying this weekend and she was barely troubled in either, beating American Maegan Manasse and then Japan's Hiroko Kuwata in straight sets.

"These two matches I feel like will prep me for my first round, especially because I've never been to this tournament before," Gauff said.

"I was glad that I was able to get a feel of how it is, the site, playing those two qualifying matches.

"The weather is similar to home (in Florida), so I felt like I've been practising at home. I'll be happy playing on any court."

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