Tennis

Granby | Kasatkina lands 2nd hard court title of the year

Top seed Daria Kasatkina defeated Australia’s Daria Saville, 6-4 6-4, on Saturday to win the WTA 250 title, the Championnats Banque Nationale de Granby, in Quebec, Canada, capturing the 6th title of her career and her 2nd of the season after claiming another hard court title earlier this month at San Jose.

The Russian World No 9 prevailed in two close sets to hold off Saville in the inaugural event after an hour and 53 minutes.

Saville’s quest to claim her 2nd career WTA singles title fell short, despite late fight-backs in both sets.

The World No 73 was in her first WTA final since Hong Kong in October 2017 and her 5th in all, with her only title coming at another event the week before the US Open, in 2017 at New Haven.

25-year old Kasatkina, who hails from Russia but now lives in Spain, cannot represent the country of her birth under rules imposed by the WTA following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Saville, née Gavrilova, also was born in Russia, but emigrated to Australia and switched nationality to Australian in December 2015. Last year she married Luke Saville.

The 28-year-old former Top 20 player, who is making a successful come-back season following Achilles tendon surgery, had an impressive run to the final without conceding a set, and is projected to return to the world’s Top 60 for the first time since May 2019.

The two Darias were both born in Russia but have chosen to live elsewhere – Kasatkina in Spain and Saville in Australia

Championnats Banque Nationale de Granby/Facebook

On Saturday, clever spins by the Aussie brought her back from a break down to on serve at 5-4 in the opening set, but Kasatkina broke Saville for a 3rd time in the following game, and the No 1 seed finished the first set with 2 more winners and 5 fewer unforced errors than her opponent.

The second followed a similar pattern as Saville again fought back from a break down, twice.

She swatted a forehand volley wide to surrender a break in the 8th game of the second set, slamming her racket on the court in frustration, but immediately broke back as, at 5-4, the pair tussled through numerous gruelling rallies.

The Australian chased down everything Kasatkina threw at her in order to save 4 championship points, but the lengthy points took their toll on Saville, and the World No 9 eventually prevailed on her 5th, wrapping up the engrossing 14-minute final game to take home another title when Saville sent a forehand wide.

Converting 6 of 13 break points, Kasatkina scored on 63 percent of Saville’s second serves while notching her 6th career victory and is now 3-0 against the World No 73, who was playing her first final since her career-best season in 2017.

With the win, Kasatkina becomes the 8th player to win multiple singles titles this year, joining World No 1 Iga Swiatek (6), Caroline Garcia (3), Simona Halep, Beatriz Haddad Maia, Ons Jabeur, Bernarda Pera and Saturday’s Cleveland champion Liudmila Samsonova (2 each) on that list.

She also now has won 37 matches this season, which is the 4th most at tour-level, trailing only Swiatek (48), Halep (39), and Jabeur (38).

Brimming with confidence after winning her second title in the hard court swing, and seeded 10th at the US Open, Kasatkina will face Britain’s 98th-ranked Harriet Dart in her first match in New York.

Her best performance at the US Open came in 2017 when she reached the round of 16.

Saville now also turns her attention to New York, where she faces Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse in the opening round.

Brits Alicia Barnett & Olivia Nicholls won their 1st doubles title in Granby defeating Harriet Dart & Rosalie van der Hoek in the final

Sarah-Jäde Champagne/Championnats Banque Nationale de Granby/WTAtennis.com

There were 3 British players in the doubles final, in which Alicia Barnett & Olivia Nicholls claimed the Granby title on Saturday evening with a 5-7 6-3 [10-1] win over their compatriot Harriet Dart & Rosalie van der Hoek from the Netherlands.

The occasion marks the first WTA doubles title for both Barnett & Nicholls, who previously reached their first final earlier this season in Lyon.

Barnett & Nicholls shook off the loss of the first set and dominated the decisive match tiebreak to triumph in the final after an hour and a half.

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