World No.1 Ash Barty has once again proven why she is the world number one, claiming both the singles and doubles titles at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart overnight.
The Australian came from a set behind in her third consecutive match, to claim the title, defeating fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.
After dropping the opening set, Barty was at her brilliant best. Slicing and dicing her way to victory, the Queenslander dropped just three games after the first set in an incredibly impressive performance.
Following her singles victory, Barty took to the doubles court to compete in the final with her partner Jennifer Brady. The Aussie-American duo came up against the number one seeds - American pairing Desirae Krawczyk and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Barty and Brady got off to the perfect start, claiming the opening set 6-4, but were forced into a deciding super tiebreaker when the second set was stolen from them 5-7.
The unseeded pairing of Barty and Brady lifted their level to upstage the top seeds and claim victory 10-5 in the deciding super tiebreaker, capping off a perfect week for Ash Barty.
Barty has now won a tour leading three titles in 2021, and improved her win streak against top ten ranked opponents to a compelling ten wins on the trot, a run only bettered this century by greats Kim Clijsters (11), Venus and Serena Williams (15) and Justine Henin (17).
The Aussie is is now nearly 2000 ranking points clear of Naomi Osaka in the WTA rankings and is also now the season race leader, overtaking Osaka.
"This week's been phenomenal for me," Barty said.
"We've played a lot of tennis, a lot of matches. And I've certainly felt like I'm taking my tennis to kind of a new level, in a sense of being able to be calm and play with freedom and play without consequence in a way, just going out there and try to bring my best every single point.
"Tennis is a strange sport at times. Even though you can be a set down, I didn't feel I was very far off. I had a couple of break points and opportunities myself, you take one or two of those and it's a completely different ball game.
"I think it's important to just continue to work in the right direction, try to do right things and know that over time you hopefully get the result; and if you don't, you just keep going for the next time and I think that's a massively important attitude to have," Barty said.
Staying on the WTA Tour, at the TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Championships in Istanbul, Romanian Sorana Cirstea ended a 13 year drought to claim her second singles title on the tour.
Cirstea, who was unseeded in the draw claimed a major scalp to win the title, upstaging No.1 seed Elise Mertens 6-1, 7-6(3) to cap off a brilliant week.
However, Mertens didn't leave Istanbul empty-handed, as she won the doubles title with partner Veronika Kudermetova, thrashing second seeds Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-1, 6-1.
Over to the ATP Tour!
The king of clay and No.1 seed in the tournament Rafael Nadal claimed a record 12th Barcelona Open title overnight, defeating second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-5 in a see-sawing, nail-biting encounter.
After claiming the opening set 6-4, Nadal went down a break early in the second set and trailed 1-3. Nadal then stormed back into the set for a 5-4 lead. The Spaniard had two championship points, but Tsitsipas was able to fend him off on the court named after him - the Pista Rafael Nadal, holding for 5-5.
Tsitsipas had three break points for a 6-5 lead, but Nadal saved them all and held, and after Tsitsipas then held, we were in a tiebreaker.
Nadal raced away to a 4-2 lead, and the match looked like it was nearing it's end, before Tsitsipas reeled off four points on the trot to boast a 6-4 lead and two valuable set points. However, Nadal, being the champion he is, found a way to head to another change of end, tying the breaker at 6-6. The Spaniard's comeback was short lived though, with Tsitsipas putting his foot down to claim the set 8-6, sending the match into a decider.
Both players held serve with ease in the first nine service games of the deciding set. No break point opportunities arose, until Nadal was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. Tsitsipas, playing at an incredibly high level gave himself a chance to win the match, with a championship point on Nadal's serve at 4-5(30-40). However, an incredible net cord winner off Nadal's racquet kept him in the match, and the Spaniard didn't put a foot wrong from that point on, racing away to claim the title 7-5 in the third.
"I think I never played a final like this in Barcelona; it means a lot to me, especially against a player like Stefanos, who won the Monte Carlo crown and reached the final here without losing a set.
It is a significant victory for me. I think I have been increasing my level during the whole week, and this triumph confirms it. That's important for today. It means a lot to me to lift the trophy, not only for my current form but for the future as well," Nadal said.
The doubles title in Barcelona was taken out by number one seeds Robert Farah and Jean Sebastian Cabal 6-4, 6-2 over Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau.
At the Serbia Open in Belgrade, Italian Matteo Berrettini lifted his fourth tour level title, overcoming Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(0).
Berrettini was impressive all week in Belgrade, dropping just two sets en route to his fourth tour level final, and his third on clay.
In doubles action, Croatian brothers Ivan and Matej Sabanov claimed their maiden tour level title. The brothers received a wildcard into the main draw and completed a dream week with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar.
Listen to The First Serve, Mondays 8pm AEDT 1116AM SEN Melbourne, 1170AM SEN Sydney & 1629AM SEN SA or listen live and catch up on the SEN App.
Brought to you by 1st Serve Tennis Sunscreen, available at www.sunblessedsunscreens.com.au Order now using the discount code SEN.