Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk dedicates title to war victims
Competing in her maiden final, 20-year-old Kostyuk, ranked 40, clinched a 6-3 7-5 victory over Russia's Varvara Gracheva in Austin, Texas. During the presentation ceremony, Kostyuk said: "Being in the position that I'm in right now, it's extremely special to win this title. I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and to all the people who are fighting and dying right now." She has been the most outspoken player about the decision to allow Russian and Belarusian players to continue playing on tour following the invasion of Ukraine. On the tournament itself, Kostyuk revealed she was just taking it one step at a time. "I was just playing match by match, and I think this is how you win tournaments, I guess!" she said on court. "It's not so easy to talk right now, but obviously I'm extremely happy. I'm just happy to be healthy and happy to play tennis and see the crowd enjoy my game." There was no handshake between Kostyuk and Gracheva afterwards, with the Ukrainian frequently criticising players from the two aggressor countries for not condemning the war. At the WTA tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, Donna Vekic captured her fourth title with a 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over top seed Caroline Garcia. Croatian Vekic was ranked outside the top 100 a year ago following knee surgery but has enjoyed an excellent last six months, including reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, and is back up to 23 in the standings.
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