AUSTIN, Texas USA (AP) — Marta Kostyuk won her first WTA title at age 20 by defeating Varvara Gracheva 6-3, 7-5 in Sunday’s ATX Open final, dedicating the victory to her country, the Ukraine.
Eighth-seeded Kostyuk and 22-year-old Russian Gracheva failed to greet each other at the net at the end of the game; Kostyuk had said he wouldn’t after facing opponents from Russia, which began an 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 really special to win this title,” admitted Kostyuk during the trophy presentation ceremony, during the first edition of the hard-court tournament in the capital of Texas. “And I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and everyone who is fighting and dying right now.”
As Gracheva sent a forehand wide to end an hour-and-a-half game on Sunday, Kostyuk, who trailed 5-3 in the second set and saved a set point at 5-4, was fell to his knees and began to sob. .
“Obviously,” said Kostyuk, who was the 2017 Australian Open junior champion, “it’s a very special moment.”