Wildcard Ostapenko claims Eastbourne tennis crown - De Minaur takes men's trophy

Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko and Australia’s Alex De Minaur were crowned LTA Viking International Eastbourne champions with wins over Anett Kontaveit and Lorenzo Sonego respectively.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 8:26 pm
Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia with the trophy after beating Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the Viking International final at Devonshire Park / Picture by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Ostapenko raced to victory defeating Estonia’s Kontaveit 6-3, 6-3 in a high quality final lasting one hour and seven minutes to win her first WTA Tour title since 2019.

Ostapenko became only the third woman to win the Viking International Eastbourne title having received a wildcard into the main draw – joining Monica Seles (1996) and Julie Halard-Decugis (2000).

It was a dream start for the Latvian, who picked up where she left off from a resounding victory yesterday against Elena Rybakina. Her return game this week has been outstanding and she wasted no time in wielding it to her advantage again in the final.

Alex De Minaur with the trophy after winning the men's singles final against Lorenzo Sonego of Italy in the Viking International, Eastbourne / Picture: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for LTA

A former semi-finalist at Wimbledon and quarter-finalist in Eastbourne, Ostapenko knows her way around a grass court and today showed that she will be a force to be reckoned with at The Championships this year.

Not only had she found great success on the return, but Ostapenko’s serve proved a real weapon in the match as well. She won 80% points off her first serve in the second set and didn’t face a break point as she went on to cruise to her fourth WTA singles trophy.

“I just enjoyed this week so much and I think it’s great to win a title just before Wimbledon – it gives me confidence,” she said.

“I was just trying to come in without expectations and to just enjoy the tennis because I know Anett is such a great player and that it was going to be a difficult match. I was really mentally ready for it and I just tried to play my tennis.

“It’s great to have my name next to such great players. Next week I just want to go again without any expectation to not be hard on myself, recover as much as I can and just to enjoy it because I think I’ve got some confidence and now it’s time to show some good tennis at Wimbledon.”

Alex de Minaur won his maiden grass court title after coming back from a set down to beat third seed Lorenzo Sonego 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in two hours and 42 minutes.

The Australian completes an impressive run in the build up to Wimbledon – which has also seen him reach the semi-finals at the cinch Championships – by lifting his fifth career ATP Tour trophy. The win will see him rise to a new career high ranking of No.15 in the world.

A hot contest in every sense of the term was always going to boil down to the finest of margins. Equally poised at a set all, in the deciding set, neither player gave an inch with zero break points for either side leading to a tie-break to decide the title.

De Minaur struck the first blow in the tie-break, edging ahead with a mini break, but not for long as the Italian came back and hit one of the shots of the day with a passing forehand hit on the tightest of angles.

At 5-5 the Australian constructed a perfect point which he followed in with a winning volley. On championship point and sensing his moment on the second serve, once again he came into the net and tucked away a smash to complete his victory.

“There’s a lot of relief and a lot of excitement,” he said following the match.

“It’s been a great week and I’ve played some great tennis and I managed to pull through a very tough win today. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the amazing crowd support, which has been so missed for many months and the last year. Hopefully I can keep it going through Wimbledon and I can’t wait to get there next week.”

Sonego dedicated his runner-up trophy to his grandmother who sadly passed away two weeks ago. “She was my best fan.” the Italian told the crowd in an emotional speech.

In the final match of the week the Japanese pairing of Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara took the women’s doubles title with a win over top seeds Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs 61 64.

WTA 500

Singles Results

F - [WC] J. Ostapenko (LAT) d. A. Kontaveit (EST) 63 63

ATP 250

Singles Results

SF - [2] A. De Minaur (AUS) d. [3] L.Sonego (ITA) 46 64 76(5)