WTA

WTA breakthrough titles for Kudermetova and Osorio Serrano

By Sports Desk April 11, 2021

Veronika Kudermetova became the first winner of the Charleston Open since Serena Williams to triumph without dropping a set all week.

The 23-year-old Russian crushed the hopes of Montenegrin rival Danka Kovinic in Sunday's final, landing her maiden WTA Tour title with a 6-4 6-2 victory.

It meant Kudermetova sealed a perfect tournament, winning all six of her matches without being taken to a deciding set, just as superstar and 23-time grand slam champion Williams managed in 2012.

World number 38 Kudermetova said, quoted on the WTA website: "All the matches were really tough. It's really tough matches for nerves, and the tennis part, but I'm really proud of myself that I can take the first title. I'm really happy.

"It means a lot. It shows me that I can play really well, that I can beat good players, and if I play like this and keep working, I think I can be in the top 10 or higher."

The Copa Colsanitas title went to Colombian 19-year-old Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, a former US Open junior champion who entered the tournament on a wildcard but came through the field to also grab a first senior singles title.

She sank the trophy prospects of Slovenian fifth seed Tamara Zidansek, with the world number 180 recording a 5-7 6-3 6-4 victory, describing her success as "unreal".

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    He was in a spot of bother against his Italian opponent at the end of a gripping first set that Berrettini took in a tie-break, Zverev's efforts in coming back from 5-0 down and earning a set point ultimately for nothing.

    Berrettini eventually sealed the lead with his fourth set point but Zverev played with renewed focus at the start of the second, taking full advantage of a succession of mistakes with the score at 4-4 to force a decider.

    Zverev's greater endurance in rallies then paid dividends early in the third as he broke to go 3-2 up, and Berrettini only won one more game as the German triumphed 6-7 (10-8) 6-4 6-3 to win the tournament for a second time.

    Speaking afterwards, he said: "It is great [to win this title], especially after losing my last three finals I played at Masters 1000 events. This is definitely special and I just want to enjoy this one.

    "[Berrettini's] game style showed it all. I didn't play anybody this week that can serve 235[km/h] on clay and serve 230km/h kick serves.

    "It definitely was a different match and I am extremely happy right now."

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    This was the first time Zverev has beaten three or more top-10 players in a single competition since his ATP Finals victory in 2018.

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    Eighth seed Berrettini has enjoyed a superb debut tournament in the Spanish capital, the 25-year-old dropping just one set on his way to becoming the first Italian to make the Madrid Open final. 

    Berrettini, who won the Serbia Open last month, is just the third Italian ATP Masters 1000 finalist since the series was established in 1990, after Fabio Fognini and Jannik Sinner. 

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    "I won in Belgrade and now I'm in the final, so I'm really looking forward to playing against Sascha [Zverev]. I hope I enjoy it tomorrow the way I enjoyed tonight.

    "I saw him [Zverev], he's playing really good. He's solid. He moves well. For his height, he's really good. He serves well. I mean, he's in the final. He beat Rafa [Nadal] and Dominic [Thiem], probably the best players on clay.

    "It's going to be a challenging match, but I'm in the finals. I guess the best two guys are going to play each other."

    Berrettini returned supremely throughout Saturday's match, nullifying Ruud's usually potent serve, and believes his aggressive approach was key to victory.

    "My serve is my weapon, but today I think I returned a lot and I put pressure on him," Berrettini said. "I was just playing more aggressive. He's kind of like me, he likes to run around the forehand and play with spin. But I guess today I was playing better than him.

    "The other time he beat me, so it's always a great fight against him. He reached three semi-finals in a row so he was feeling confident. I guess that's why I'm maybe even more happy with my win today."

    In the earlier semi-final, Zverev followed up his famous win over home favourite and 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal in the previous round by defeating Dominic Thiem.

    Austrian Thiem had won the last four meetings between the two, including in last year's Australian Open semi-final and the US Open decider, where he came from two sets down to win in an incredible fifth-set tie-break.

    However, Zverev was not to be denied this time, a 6-3 6-4 result keeping him on course for a repeat of his 2018 triumph at the event in the Spanish capital.

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