Barty halts Muguruza hot streak, Mertens also captures WTA 500 title
Ashleigh Barty beat Gargine Mugurza in the final of the Yarra Valley Classic on Sunday afternoon, while Elise Mertens triumphed at the Gippsland Trophy by defeating Kaia Kanepi. There was no final, however, at the Grampians Trophy.
It was going to take a lot to stop Garbine Muguruza this week, but Ashleigh Barty was up to the challenge in front of a limited home crowd. Barty triumphed over Mugurza 7-6(3), 6-4 after one hour and 45 minutes.
What you need to know: Big turn of events for Muguruza
Muguruza had dominated her first four matches with set scores of 6-2, 6-0, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, and 6-0. Three of those opponents were seeded, including No 2 and reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.
However, none of them are the No 1 player in the world. That distinction belongs to Barty, and she played like it right from the start on Sunday. Barty sent a message early that this would not be one-way traffic for Muguruza, as was the case in all of her other outings. The 24-year-old Aussie recovered from an early break down to take the first set in a tiebreaker.
In the second, Barty jumped on Muguruza right away by breaking serve in a game that went to six deuces. Although the crowd favorite gave back the advantage at 3-2, she restored order to the proceedings with an another break of her own at 4-4. That allowed Barty to serve out the match, which she did at love to clinch the trophy.
It ended at almost the exact same time as the ATP Cup, which Russia won with a 2-0 sweep of Italy in the final.
Team Russia & the World No. 1 are victorious.🙌@DaniilMedwed defeats Berrettini 6-4, 6-2 to secure Russia the @ATPCup trophy.@ashbarty defeats Muguruza 7-6(3), 6-4 & adds another title in the bag.#ATPCup | #YarraValleyWTA pic.twitter.com/kyQufVw6om
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) February 7, 2021
“It was some of the better tennis I played throughout the whole week,” Barty assessed. “Garbine forced me to play at that level. It was a great final. Overall it was a pretty solid performance. I’m still my harshest critic at times. That’s the challenge of sport every day, is trying to get better and better.”
Gippsland Trophy: Mertens’ moment
At the Gippsland Trophy, Elise Mertens won the trophy on Sunday afternoon. The No 7 seed had no trouble ending the run of unseeded Kaia Kanepi via a 6-4, 6-1 decision.
6⃣th career title 🏆@elise_mertens takes the title at the Gippsland Trophy!
— wta (@WTA) February 7, 2021
Grampians Trophy: No final
Anett Kontaveit benefitted from a walkover given to her by two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and the Estonian parlayed that into a semi-final victory on Sunday afternoon. Kontaveit, who did not have to play her scheduled quarter-final against Azarenka, overcame Maria Sakkari 2-6, 6-3, 11-9.
The second semi-final produced an upset, as Jennifer Brady went down to fellow American Ann Li 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 10-6.
However, the tournament will conclude with Sunday’s semi-finals, as there is no time for the final to be played in advance of a Monday start to the 2021 Australian Open. Finalists will receive runners-up ranking points and runners-up prize money, the WTA said.
Due to the delayed schedule and the start of the Australian Open on Monday, the final of the Grampians Trophy will not be played.
The semifinals will go forward as scheduled on Sunday. Both finalists will receive finalist points and finalist prize money.
— wta (@WTA) February 6, 2021