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Marta Kostyuk snubs Varvara Gracheva after winning ATX Open final


Marta Kostyuk won her first career WTA title at the age of 20, defeating Varvara Gracheva 6-3, 7-5 in the ATX Open final on Sunday, then dedicated the win to her home country of Ukraine.

Eighth-ranked Kostyuk and 22-year-old Russian Gracheva did not meet at the net for the traditional post-match handshake. Kostyuk said he would not do so after facing adversaries from Russia, which launched its invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago, or Belarus, which helped launch the attack.

“Being in the position I’m in right now, it’s very special to win this title,” Kostyuk said at the opening round awards ceremony in the Texas capital, “and I want to give this title away. To Ukraine and all the people who are fighting and dying right now.”

When Gracheva sailed long to end the match after 1 1/2 hours on Sunday, Kostyuk, who trailed 5-3 in the second set and saved a set point at 5-4, dropped to her knees on the baseline. she put her hands over her face and sobbed.

“Obviously,” said Kostyuk, who was the junior champion at the 2017 Australian Open, “it’s a very special moment.”

Both players were making their first appearance in the title match of the tournament, and they combined for 13 breaks, eight by Kostyuk, and 14 double faults. Both scored less than 50 percent on serves.

There were just two aces, both by Gracheva, including one that gave her set point at 5-4, 40-30. But he squandered that chance to force a third set by pushing a forehand wide. The 88th-ranked Grańćova, who beat No. 1 seed Magda Linette and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens earlier in the tournament, sent another forehand into the net to face a break point. Kostyuk changed it, ending the 16-shot exchange with a forehand volley winner.

Kostyuk, who was ranked 52nd on the day, then held for 6-5 with a forehand serve before ending the four-game run with another break.

She is the third women’s tour champion in 2023.

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