Thiem downs Medvedev for Barcelona title; Kvitova claims Stuttgart crown - GulfToday

Thiem downs Medvedev for Barcelona title; Kvitova claims Stuttgart crown

Tennis

Austria’s Dominic Thiem celebrates with the trophy after winning the Barcelona Open on Sunday. Reuters

Dominic Thiem overpowered Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-0 on Sunday to win the Barcelona Open title, boosting his credentials as a potential Roland Garros champion.

A day after knocking out 11-time Barcelona winner Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, the third-seeded Austrian claimed his second title in four events after beating Roger Federer at Indian Wells last month.

He is also the first Austrian to take the Barcelona title since Thomas Muster in 1996.

“It’s such an honour to win here, only the biggest champions have done it,” said 25-year-old Thiem.

“I’m so happy and proud to join Muster here, now my name is on the trophy.”

Thiem hoisted the weighty 13-kilogram golden trophy in triumph in front of a full stadium on a cloudy, chilly day at a venue named for Nadal.

He has now reinforced his claim for a possible French Open title after losing the Paris final a year ago to Nadal.

Thiem needed just 73 minutes to earn victory over his seventh-seeded Russian opponent, who needed treatment on his shoulder late in the first set. The Austrian got off to a slow start, losing his first serve, but made up for lost time by breaking Medvedev twice in the first set before completely dominating the second.

“I had troubles at the start,” Thiem said. “My slice was not working and he does not miss.

“My slice got better but I had to turn defence into offence, that was my only chance. He’s difficult to play, dangerous from the baseline.

“There were a lot of long, tough rallies in the first set, I’m really happy I made it.”

Thiem will now have a few days off prior to the start of the next big date of the pre-Roland Garros calendar, the Madrid Masters.

The Austrian now owns 13 ATP titles and nine on clay, his favourite surface.

Meanwhile, World number three Petra Kvitova won her second WTA title of 2019 as she beat Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) in the final of the tournament in Stuttgart on Sunday.

The Czech star, a two-time Wimbledon champion and runner-up at the Australian Open in January, succeeds compatriot Karolina Pliskova as champion at the clay-court event.

Kvitova thanked the fans and her coaches, who did not join her in Stuttgart this week.

Having won the Sydney International in January, Kvitova is the first woman to win two titles in 2019, after all of the first 18 WTA competitions of the year were won by different players.

“Congratulations Petra, you are a real role model,” said Kontaveit.

Elsewhere, Croatian sixth seed Petra Martic battled back from a set down to win her first WTA title in Sunday’s Istanbul final against Marketa Vondrousova.

Martic, the world number 40, had lost both her previous top-level finals, but saw off Czech teenager Vondrousova 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 in Turkey.

The 28-year-old had come through the longest match of the year in her quarter-final against Kristina Mladenovic earlier in the week, but had enough energy to brush off a poor opening set.

Vondrousova, 19, has now lost two WTA finals this season after her defeat by Alison Van Uytvanck in Budapest in February, and is still to add to her first title in Switzerland two years ago.

Agence France-Presse

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Team Emirates’ Pogacar claims podium finish

A monumental final push in the UAE heat from Tadej Pogacar wasn’t enough to take the win in the third stage of the team’s home country as Adam Yates...


The 184km Emirates Stage finished with an exhausting 10.8km climb as Yates launched a surprisingly early attack with 6km to go. Pogacar didn’t react to Yates’ initial acceleration but then ripped clear of the chasing group with 5km remaining, finishing second in the stage, claiming the young rider’s jersey and ending the day second in the GC in a successful day for the team.

Pogacar said “It was extremely hot today, so for me on a climb like that in those temperatures it was a really good ride and I’m pleased.

“There is still three stages with another big mountain stage and the chance of crosswinds tomorrow so it’s not over yet. We have a strong team here so will try something for sure.”

Pogacar will get another chance to claim back the one minute GC deficit as the fifth stage of the Tour finishes at the same Jebel Hafeet summit.

Pogacar will wear the white young rider’s jersey in Wednesday’s stage as the race sees the riders return to the flats which will come as welcome relief for the sprinters.

The Emirates NBD Stage starts from Zabeel Park, crosses Mushrif Park and Motor City before finishing at Dubai City Walk where the popular walkway has been transformed as part of the racing route.

British climber Yates pulverised the opposition on the tough, final ascent of stage, winning by over a minute and taking the overall race lead.

His compatriot Chris Froome was dropped early in the race.

The four-time Tour de France winner again struggled on his comeback from injuries sustained last May.

The 27-year-old Yates is also making his 2020 debut and looks favourite to win in a competitive field after his stunning attack from 6km out at the end of a warm day with temperatures passing 30C.

“I attacked maybe a little too early, but in the end I felt good,” said Yates, whose win gives him a 1min 07sec lead in the overall.

“A minute is a lot, but we have to do this climb again, and maybe my legs won’t be so good then,” Yates said in reference to stage five.

“Also tomorrow I heard a rumour there are going to be crosswinds, so we’ll see.”

Yates was followed up the final 10.6km Jebell Hafeet climb at a 7 per cent gradient by a trio of challengers with Slovenian prodigy Pogacar finishing 1min 03sec adrift.

Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko was third at 1min 30sec accompanied by up-and-coming Frenchman David Gaudu.

Yates came fourth at the 2016 Tour de France and is targeting the Grand Boucle this summer where he will lead the Australian team ahead of his brother Simon.

Wednesday’s flat stage, the fourth of seven, is a 173km run to Dubai City Walk where a mass bunch sprint is expected.





Stage 3 Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 4h42’34”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:03

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:30

General Classification Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 12h30’02”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:07

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:35

22 hours ago