Katie Volynets hangs on, reaches 1st WTA semifinal at Austin Women’s tennis tour, WTA, in commercial partnership with CVC Kostyuk beats Gracheva for 1st WTA title

AUSTIN, Texas. Kathy Wolynets advanced to her first WTA semi-final by leading in every set and holding onto defending NCAA singles champion Peyton Stearns to win 7-5, 6-3 in a matchup between a pair of 21-year-old Americans at the ATX Open.

Volynets from California, who took 92nd place, took the lead in the first set with a score of 4:0, and then ended up with a score of 5-all. But she managed to play seven games in a row, take this set and take the lead in the second with a score of 5:0.

Once again, things got a little more complicated against Sterns, who starred at nearby University of Texas helping the school to a tag team title in 2021 before she clinched the singles trophy last year. Sterns won two lower-level ITF events before coming to the first WTA hardcourt event in Austin and took her first two WTA match wins this week.

Sterns, who played with a wildcard, saved one match point while Wolynets filed for a 5-0 win in the second, then broke down in love when Wolynets filed for him 5-2 again. In the last game Wolynets needed three more match points to finally secure it, using a strong forehand on the 12th baseline exchange to draw a backhand that landed far.

Volynets made her debut in the WTA quarter-finals and made it there, saving her match point and closing the gap 5-0 in the third set against Anastasia Potapova in third place.

She didn’t want to be on the opposite end of such a return.

“I just told myself to keep going and just keep playing my game. And sometimes it didn’t happen,” said Volynets, who reached the third round of the Australian Open in January. “But when someone loses by a large margin, sometimes there is nothing left to lose. This happened to me a couple of days ago, actually. So I just tried to stay tough.”

Next, she meets Varvara Gracheva, who took 88th place. Gracheva defeated 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stevens 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the last quarter-final of the tournament.

No. 8 seed Marta Kostyuk reached the final four of the tournament for the first time in 2023, defeating Anna-Lena Fridsam 7-6 (6), 6-2. Kostyuk overcame nine double faults and broke down four times.

Kostyuk came out on day 0-2 in the quarter-finals of this season. She will now attempt to reach the first WTA final of her career when she faces runner-up Danielle Collins at the 2022 Australian Open.

No. 4 Collins won 11 of their last 12 games, came back and eliminated Anna Kalinska 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

The Women’s Professional Tennis Tour launched a business venture with CVC Capital Partners to increase the sport’s revenue, with an investment manager contributing $150 million for a 20% stake in what would be known as WTA Ventures LLC.

“Obviously the goal is to significantly grow women’s professional tennis. Grow our profile, its value, prize money,” said WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon. “This arrangement will certainly allow us to create more investment opportunities for our players and our tournaments.”

He said the new organization is completely separate from WTA Inc. from St. Petersburg, Florida, who will oversee the tour itself and will manage all commercial activities including broadcast rights, data, games, sponsorships, licensing and NFTs. .

“Hopefully we can get started with a larger audience and more engaged fans,” Simon said. “Then it will boost the asset value of each of those properties through audience growth.”

At the end of 2021, Simon announced that the WTA would suspend all of its tournaments, including the season-ending WTA Finals, which were held in China due to safety concerns for former player Peng Shuai, costing the tour millions of dollars. This ban on competition in China remains in place; Simon said a decision on where to host the WTA Finals this season would be made by the end of March.

He called the CVC investment “completely unrelated to any of these issues.”

Simon also said that the agreement, which was announced on Tuesday, “in no way prevents us from continuing negotiations with the ATP (men’s tennis tour) and possibly making a bigger deal with the ATP involved.”

CVC says on its website that it is a “global alternative investment manager” with over €137 billion ($145 billion) in assets under management.

He has worked with Formula One, European football leagues, rugby, volleyball and other sports.

The WTA-CVC partnership has been in the works for some time now, from initial concept to work to close the deal over the last 12 months.

“It’s been a long journey,” Simon said. – AP tennis: And

Austin, Texas. Marta Kostyuk won her first career WTA title at the age of 20 when she defeated Varvara Gracheva 6-3, 7-5 in the ATX Open final and then dedicated the win to her home country Ukraine.

No. 8 seeded Kostyuk and unseeded Gracheva, a 22-year-old Russian, did not meet at the net for the traditional post-match handshake; Kostyuk said she would not do so after facing opponents from Russia, which launched its invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago, or Belarus, which helped launch the attack.

“Being in the position that I am in now, it is very important to win this title,” Kostyuk said during the awards ceremony at the first hard surface tournament in the capital of Texas, “and I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and all the people who are now fighting and they die.”

When Gracheva landed a long right hand to end the match 1.5 hours later, Kostyuk, who was 5-3 down in the second set and kept a 5-4 set point, fell to her knees at the baseline with her hands on her face and sobbed.

“Obviously,” said Kostyuk, who was the 2017 Australian Open junior champion, “this is a special moment.”

Both players participated for the first time in a title match at the tour level and in total made 13 breaks on the pitch (8 for Kostyuk) and 14 double faults. Both scored less than 50% on serve.

There were only two aces, both from Gracheva, including one that gave her a 5-4, 40-30 set point. But she squandered that chance to force a third set with a right hand. Gracheva, who finished 88th, had eliminated No. 1 seeded Magda Lynette and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stevens earlier in the tournament, shot again from the right into the net and faced a break point. Kostyuk converted it, completing the exchange of 16 shots with a winning right hand.

Kostyuk, who finished 52nd that day, then kept the score 6-5 with a backroom serve before ending the four-game streak with another break.

She is the third 2023 Women’s Tour Champion to win the title for the first time.


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