Jabeur stuns Bencic to win the WTA Charleston crown

Tiafoe beats Etcheverry to win ATP Houston title

LOS ANGELES: Ons Jabeur defeated defending champion Belinda Bencic in straight sets to win the WTA Charleston Open clay court tournament on Sunday. Jabeur, the world number five from Tunisia, avenged her defeat to Bencic in last year’s final with a hard-fought 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 victory in just under two hours. Switzerland’s Bencic was forced to make a quick turnaround on Sunday, completing a 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) weather-disrupted semi-final win over Jessica Pegula before returning to face Jabeur in the final around 30 minutes later.

There was no immediate sign of weariness from the Swiss player as she started strongly to take a 5-3 lead in the opening set. However, Jabeur held and then conjured a break to level at 5-5 before holding again for a 6-5 lead. Bencic was soon in trouble on her serve, but fought back brilliantly from 0-40 down to hold and force tie-break. Again momentum swung back and forth, with Bencic holding two set points after opening up a 6-4 lead in the tie-break before Jabeur reeled off four straight points to take the set.

Jabeur then raced into a 4-1 lead in the second set, and although Bencic responded well, Jabeur was soon serving for the match at 5-4 up. Bencic squandered three break points that would have levelled the set at 5-5 before Jabeur eventually converted her second match point to seal the fourth title of her career.- AFP ATP Houston title In another development, Frances Tiafoe defeated Thomas Etcheverry 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (8/6) to win the ATP clay court title in Houston on a double-duty day in Texas.

The American, playing his first ATP tournament as the top seed, had to win twice on Sunday to secure the crown thanks to the weather delays earlier in the week. After beating Gijs Brouwer 6-4, 6-1 in the semi-finals he said he was up for the challenge. “I’m running on adrenaline,” Tiafoe told the crowd after beating Brouwer. “I’m on a mission so I’m happy.” By Sunday night it was mission accomplished as Tiafoe claimed his second ATP title and his first since 2018 in Delray Beach.

Since then he’d come up empty in four finals appearances. The soggy week meant Tiafoe in fact had to win four matches in two days, playing his first two of the week on Saturday. He didn’t drop a set and was broken just once—when he served for the title against Etcheverry at 5-4 in the second set. He trailed 1-3 and 3-5 in the tiebreaker but clinched the victory on his second match point with his 12th ace of the contest. – AFP

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