Does fairytale win devalue the Tour?


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Kiki Bertens

Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens went into the WTA Fes tournament without having won a single match on the Tour - but now incredibly has a first title to her name.

In what must go down as surely the worst WTA field ever assembled, Bertens beat Laura Pous Tio, who was also a surprise finalist with just one WTA victory before this week.

What ensued in the final was an encounter so nervy it was frankly agonising to watch.

Five breaks of serve were traded in an opening set devoid of quality, before Pous Tio appeared to run out of steam dramatically in the second as she was emphatically bagelled.

To put into some context how remarkable it is that Bertens has a WTA Tour title to her name, let's just establish a few facts:

- She is the Netherlands number three

- She becomes the third woman in 2012 to win a title as a qualifier

- She had never previously won a match on the WTA Tour

- She was well outside the top 100 in the world rankings

She went into the final as a clear underdog having [un]comfortably lost her previous encounter with Pous Tio.

The 20-year-old earned $37,000 as a result of the victory, and leaps into the world's top 100 as a result.

But leaving aside the fairytale element to this story, there is a more serious point: does a tournament of such lowly standing really deserve WTA Tour status?

Do tournaments such as WTA Fes ultimately devalue what it means to win a title on the main tour - the pinnacle of the professional game?

Bertens could only thinly veil her disbelief at having progressed from an unlikely qualifier to title-winner, and it left mixed emotions all-round after a final of poor quality.

A cursory glance at Bertens's profile reveals her previous notable results: "Fell in Acapulco qualifying; fell in Australian Open qualifying; fell in Copenhagen qualifying; won WTA Fes."

Something is not right there. Equally, if Pous Tio had prevailed on Saturday, the reaction would have been the same.

This is a 27-year-old who has only ever reached the second round of a Grand Slam once - at the US Open last season.

Tramlines is delighted for Pous Tio and Bertens - but what does this say about Fes and other such tournaments?

What do you make of calendar-filling lowly events such as WTA Fes - does it devalue what it means to win a title on the Tour? Do you think low-ranked players should be given the chance to claim such trophies on the international stage?

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Rafa Nadal lifts the ATP Barcelona trophy


Rafael Nadal was at his imperious best as he became the first player in the open era to win two tournaments seven times at the Barcelona Open.

The Spaniard wowed a capacity crowd in the Catalan capital as he beat David Ferrer in a closely-fought encounter, and he proceeded to provide the most magnanimous post-match interview ever heard.

"I think that David more than deserved to win this title and I really wish him the best for the rest of his career," he said sheepishly.

"I really had some good fortune. It was something of a lottery but it came down on my side and I am sorry for him. I was very fortunate."

If that was the most gracious and humble assessment ever heard, Ferrer's analysis was certainly the most thorough and insightful.

"Rafa is Rafa and he is very good," Ferrer said. What more needs to be added?

Nadal won at Roland Garros last year despite not being anywhere near his best - a quite terrifying thought given his stunning form at the start of this clay-court season.


CLASH OF THE WEEK: World number one Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova barge into each other at the changeover. Appalling etiquette from the pair.

TWEET OF THE WEEK: "To win 8 times in Monte Carlo and now 7 in Barcelona is more impressive than 6 at the French. How does Rafa want it that much all the time?" (Eurosport expert and tennis legend Mats Wilander puts it all in perspective).

PRIZE OF THE WEEK: It's one thing to receive a fancy trophy and, as Tramlines demonstrated a few weeks ago, some can be pretty spectacular. But Sharapova received a trophy and a brand new sports car for her victory in Stuttgart. She may have even given Azarenka a lift back to near Monaco. The ball boys and girls don't look too happy about it all, though...

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Sharapova only likes red cars, but hey

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