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Ostapenko triumphs in Linz to win her second title of the year

Ostapenko triumphs in Linz to win her second title of the year

No.1 seed Jelena Ostapenko became the first player to win two Hologic WTA Tour singles titles this year, storming past No.2 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday to capture the Upper Austria Ladies Linz championship.

In a clash between two former Linz runners-up, 2019 finalist Ostapenko needed just 70 minutes to subdue 2018 finalist Alexandrova and collect her eighth career WTA singles title.

Records improving: With the victory, Latvia’s Ostapenko leveled her robust head-to-head with Alexandrova at five wins apiece. Ostapenko is 2-0 against Alexandrova this year, having previously picked up a win over her opponent in last month’s Adelaide semifinals.

Both of those 2024 wins over Alexandrova came en route to Ostapenko’s two WTA 500 titles this season, as the Latvian went on to defeat Daria Kasatkina in the Adelaide final. Ostapenko currently holds a sparkling 13-2 win-loss record this year.

This has already become the first year in which Ostapenko has won multiple titles since her breakthrough 2017 season, when she claimed the first two titles of her career at Roland Garros and Seoul.

The champion speaks: “It was a really good week, and I felt like every match I was playing better and better,” World No.12 Ostapenko said, after her win.

“It’s really amazing to win two singles trophies this year already, and winning a doubles trophy as well, [and] playing Australian Open [doubles] final — it’s like four tournaments and four finals, which is really great.

“I’m just happy with the way I’m playing this year. I think I feel like I’m more mature and more confident with my game, so it even motivates me more to work hard and get back to the Top 10.”

Linz history: This week was Ostapenko’s first appearance at Linz since her 2019 run to the final. That year, she fell in the championship match to a teenage lucky loser who won her first WTA title: Coco Gauff.

Ostapenko’s 2024 return as the top seed nearly came to an early end. Following her first-round bye this week, Ostapenko had to save a match point in the second round before squeaking past qualifier Clara Tauson. After surviving that peril, Ostapenko lost no more than three games in any of her remaining sets.

Match numbers: In another of this week’s clashes between power hitters, Ostapenko was more successful, with her 28 winners nearly doubling Alexandrova’s 15. And despite that overwhelming aggression, Ostapenko had only one more unforced error than Alexandrova.

Ostapenko saved the lone break point she faced all day, which came at 1-1 in the second set. The victor did need three championship points, one on Alexandrova’s serve and two more on her own, before closing out the win.

Errani, Paolini win doubles title: Later on Sunday, unseeded Italians Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini surprised No.1 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez 7-5, 4-6, [10-7] to win the Linz doubles title.

Errani and Paolini took 1 hour and 33 minutes to eke past the top seeds and claim their second WTA doubles title as a partnership. They also teamed up to win WTA 250 Monastir last year.

Errani, a former WTA Doubles World No.1, has won 29 WTA doubles titles in her career, including five Grand Slam championships. Paolini, the current top-ranked Italian in singles, has now accrued three WTA doubles titles.