Gauff’s title, Ruud’s first pitch and more from the week in tennis

Getting into final week’s Citi Open in Washington, Coco Gauff had by no means gained a title on American soil. Nor, for that matter, had she gained a title at something apart from a 250-level occasion.

And as her final match had been a devastating first-round defeat at Wimbledon and she was enjoying in her first occasion with new coaches Pere Riba and Brad Gilbert, the 19-year-old wasn’t precisely the favourite as play obtained underway.

However none of these particulars appeared to matter to the world No. 7 as she cruised to the fourth — and largest — title of her profession on Sunday. Gauff was dominant all through the week as she did not drop a set and persistently confirmed off an improved serve and forehand. Within the ultimate she wanted simply 84 minutes to defeat Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3, for her second title of the yr.

After clinching the win, Gauff could not assist however twirl and dance in celebration.

After her disappointing end on the All England Membership final month, Gauff appeared relieved to get her season again on monitor.

“It is our first match as a full workforce,” Gauff mentioned on courtroom in reference to Riba and Gilbert. “I am glad that we had been capable of make this outcome. Thanks for sticking with me. I do know those that had been with me at Wimbledon, it was actually robust. … I am glad I used to be capable of bounce again.”

Gauff, who went on to credit score her parents for being the explanation she performs the game and for her “good persona,” grew to become the primary teenager to win 4 or extra WTA titles since Caroline Wozniacki. She is also now firmly again within the dialog as a official contender for the upcoming US Open.

Following Gauff’s victory, Dan Evans and Tallon Griekspoor squared off within the males’s ultimate with each additionally on the lookout for an important title of their careers. The 33-year-old Evans in the end gained, 7-5, 6-3, turning into the oldest champion on the occasion since 1988 and enhancing his rating from No. 30 to No. 21. For his efforts, Evans acquired a $353,445 paycheck. Regardless of the match giving equal billing to the women and men and being the primary joint 500-level occasion, Gauff earned $120,150.

In a information convention, match chair Mark Ein mentioned the occasion would supply equal pay beginning in 2027.

Gauff and Evans’ victories, and their disproportionate prize cash, weren’t the one storylines price realizing about final week. This is what else you may need missed:

On paper, Gauff’s spherical of 16 match towards world No. 204 Hailey Baptiste on Wednesday won’t have appeared notably particular, however it was simply that for each gamers.

Baptiste, a Washington native who had acquired a last-minute wild card into the qualifying draw, was coming off three straight wins, together with a formidable 6-1, 0-6, 6-3 victory within the spherical of 32 over former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova. The 22-year-old was decided to profit from her alternative on the house occasion — regardless of shedding her bag and needing to purchase all-new gear — and relished the prospect to play her longtime pal Gauff for the primary time on the WTA degree.

Gauff was equally excited. Whereas she in the end gained the match with relative ease, 6-1, 6-4, afterwards she instructed the gang simply how monumental it had been to share the courtroom with Baptiste.

“It makes me a bit of bit emotional enjoying Hailey as a result of rising up, there wasn’t actually too many black girls in juniors enjoying, and for us to be each right here on tour enjoying actually means loads,” Gauff mentioned. “Actually there was solely three or 4 of us on the market and we’d all be associates with one another and we needed to take care of lots of crap that you simply guys do not find out about. For us to be out to be on tour at the moment, it actually means loads.

“It does make me emotional, really, as a result of it simply jogs my memory of these huge goals we had as children. I hope that Hailey and I play one another many extra occasions to be that illustration. I see lots of little ladies within the stands and I hope that this turns into increasingly of a typical factor within the sport.”

DMV pleasure

Evans may need in the end gained the lads’s title on Sunday however nobody had the gang going greater than Frances Tiafoe. Along with drawing large crowds on web site, the hometown hero (and basketball superfan) introduced out some huge names to cheer him on, together with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Daniel Gafford and former MVP Kevin Durant.

Durant, who like Tiafoe is from Maryland, even joined the tennis star throughout his on-court interview with Rennae Stubbs following his opening-round victory over Aslan Karatsev.

“He is simply bringing, initially, that vitality from this space,” Durant mentioned. “He is representing proper, so we’re all happy with him.”

Tiafoe in the end misplaced to Evans 6-4, 7-5, within the quarterfinals.

Milestone title

Like Gauff and Evans, Stefanos Tsitsipas additionally had a robust begin to his North American hardcourt summer season swing. The 24-year-old gained his first title in over a yr with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Alex de Minaur within the Los Cabos ultimate on Saturday.

And whereas it was his tenth profession ATP title, it was his first on a hardcourt since 2020 and, maybe much more surprisingly, his first ever on an outside hardcourt. His earlier 4 titles on the floor had all come at indoor occasions.

As he misplaced only one set en path to securing his new {hardware} and he improved to the No. 4 rating following the win, Tsitsipas appeared inspired by his play on the match.

“I’ll take the positives out of this week,” Tsitsipas mentioned after the ultimate. “I had a number of good matches right here and I believe it is a good begin to the [hardcourt] swing. We have skilled lots of good tennis this week from lots of good gamers. The competitors was excessive, and I am pleased to stroll away with the trophy.”

Enjoyable reality for everybody not named Alex de Minaur: it was Tsitsipas’ tenth win over his Australian opponent in — look ahead to it — 10 tries. It is his greatest report over any participant on tour.

Pitch excellent

Forward of this week’s Canadian Open, Casper Ruud was given the ceremonial first pitch honors on the Toronto Blue Jays sport on Thursday. The world No. 5 has confirmed off his golf sport a lot over time, however his baseball prowess remained to be seen. In reality, the Norwegian Ruud had by no means even been to a baseball sport earlier than.

Nevertheless, the 2022 US Open finalist did much better than most with the duty and efficiently threw the ball to the catcher. And earlier than you make some form of snarky “In fact he might do it from the clay pitcher’s mound,” please word he truly pitched from in entrance of the mound on grass. So take that for what you’ll.

Iga’s stadium?

Now in her 71st week at world No. 1 and having already gained 4 main titles, it would not appear farfetched to assume Iga Swiatek will in the future have a tennis stadium — or a number of — named after her. Seeing as she’s simply 22, there is not one but. However that did not cease her from pretending IGA Stadium, the Centre Court docket in Montreal for the Canadian Open, was named in her likeness when speaking to the media forward of the occasion over the weekend.

“Having a stadium named after me, [it’s a] big privilege,” Swiatek mentioned whereas laughing. “Let’s fake that is the story. It is only a good coincidence. It is enjoyable. I really feel extra pleased once I see that it is IGA Stadium. It is good, they need to do that extra usually.”

Hurricane warning

One other day, one other tennis participant dominating on the pickleball courtroom. Over the weekend, Hurricane Tyra Black — a five-time ITF singles champion and former top-20 junior participant — gained her first profession gold medal on the PPA Tour. The 22-year-old had a formidable run on the occasion in Fountain Valley, California, together with an upset win over No. 1 ranked Anna Leigh Waters within the quarterfinals that went viral as a consequence of Water’s weird response on the match’s conclusion.

Black was clearly thrilled after successful the title Sunday and even indicated she had left tennis completely to pursue her pickleball profession.

“That is probably the most wonderful factor ever for me,” Black mentioned after the match. “I skilled for tennis my complete life, however I by no means actually loved it, and I discovered pickleball and I completely fell in love, so successful this match means a lot to me. Leaving the profession that I skilled so lengthy for to do one thing that I like makes me so pleased.”

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