Russia’s Alexandrova wins maiden WTA title in Shenzhen


Shenzhen, China

Ekaterina Alexandrova won her first WTA singles title after the in-form Russian defeated Elena Rybakina in straight sets in the final of the Shenzhen Open on Saturday.
The fifth seed won 6-2, 6-4 in 73 minutes to begin her season and her Australian Open preparations with a bang.
The 25-year-old Alexandrova, ranked a career-high 34th in the world, collapsed to her knees after dismissing Rybakina, the seventh seed from Kazakhstan.
Alexandrova, who triumphed in a WTA 125K event in Limoges, France last month, defeated former world number one Garbine Muguruza in the semi-finals in southern China.
Moreover, Stan Wawrinka’s bid for a first ATP title since May 2017 was ended by a three-set loss to unseeded Frenchman Corentin Moutet in the Qatar Open semi-finals on Friday.
World number 81 Moutet will face Andrey Rublev in the final after downing top seed Wawrinka 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
The 34-year-old Wawrinka is still waiting for his 17th ATP tournament victory and first since winning in Geneva more than two-and-a-half years ago.
The three-time Grand Slam champion had cruised past Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4 in the last eight earlier on Friday and will next play in Melbourne at the Australian Open.
“In general it was a good tournament, I would say, for many reasons,” Wawrinka told “I think in general I’m playing well and moving well. Now I’m going to leave to Australia, one week there to get ready, and hopefully do some big things there.”
Moutet, 20, reached his maiden top-level final despite falling a set behind, breaking in game 12 to take the second set before easing through the decider.
Second seed Rublev beat Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-1 in the first semi-final, having earlier cruised past Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-3 in the quarters. Rublev, a former US Open quarter-finalist, is looking for a third ATP singles title.
US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to a knee injury she sustained at the end of last season.
“It was a very tough decision to make as I love to play in Melbourne but I have to respect the recuperation plan for my knee and body,” the 19-year-old Canadian tweeted.
“My rehab is going well, I feel better and stronger every day but after discussing it with my team and following the recommendation of the doctors, the Australian Open is unfortunately too soon in my rehab process.”
Andreescu, the world number six, injure her knee at the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen, China, ending an amazing year for her.
During a breakout season, which she started ranked 178, Andreescu compiled a remarkable 48-7 record and won her first Grand Slam after defeating Serena Williams in the final at Flushing Meadows. She also won at Indian Wells and Toronto in 2019.—AFP