Slovakian world No. 45 Martin Klizan captured his first ATP title on Sunday when he defeated Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the St Petersburg Open. He is the first Slovakian to win a tour title since Dominik Hrbaty triumphed at Marseille in February 2004.
Third-seeded Klizan, who put out top seed Mikhail Youzhny in a marathon semi-final on Saturday, is set to rise to around a career-high world No. 33 in the world rankings as a result of his victory.
Until two months ago, 23-year-old Klizan had never won back-to-back tour-level matches.
However, since the end of July he has reached the semi-finals in Kitzbuhel and knocked out world No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to a fourth-round showing at the US Open.
“I said last year that I would like to be Top 100 by the end of this year and I’ve already done it,” Klizan said. “Now I’ve been Top 50, Top 40, maybe I can be Top 30 at the end of the year. I hope I can be healthy and still with enough power to play until the end of the season.”
The 25-year-old Fognini was contesting his second final having also finished runner-up to Gilles Simon in Bucharest.
“It’s horrible to play a final like this,” Fognini said. “I’ve played two finals this year. Simon in Bucharest was a really great final. On the court today he played his best tennis ever and I did not play my best tennis for sure.”
AP, METZ, FRANCE
Top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France thrashed fifth-seeded Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 on Sunday to retain his Moselle Open title.
The seventh-ranked Tsonga needed just 50 minutes to see off Seppi’s challenge, breaking the Italian’s serve four times.
Tsonga’s own serve never looked like being broken as he won 85-percent of his service points.
He won nine games in a row to take a 4-0 lead in the second set.
“I had a complete match, but I remained focused because a match is never closed against a player like that,” Tsonga said.
It is Tsonga’s second title of the year, after the Qatar Open in January, and boosts his chances of reaching the year-ending ATP finals in London.
News of the MLB’s decision to pull this summer’s All-Star Game from Georgia over its sweeping new voting law reverberated among fans on Saturday, while Georgia Governor Brian Kemp vowed to defend the measure, saying that “free and fair elections” are worth any threats, boycotts or lawsuits. The Republican governor told a news conference that the MLB “caved to fear and lies from liberal activists” when it yanked the July 13 game from Atlanta’s Truist Park. He added that the decision would hurt working people in the state and have long-term consequences on the economy. “I want to be clear: I will not
TAKE TWO: Tainan TSG are the favorites going into this season, which starts on Sunday. They have fearsome forwards and national ’keeper Pan Wen-chieh between the posts Defending champions Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) face a tough challenge from their southern neighbors Taipower and CPC FC when the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) season starts this weekend with four matches on Sunday. Promoting grassroots soccer, and organizing relegation and promotion between the top and second divisions last year was important for the progression of Taiwanese soccer, CTFA chairman Chiou I-jen told a news conference in Taipei yesterday. “We are going in the right direction ... and becoming more competitive” for international competitions, Chiou said. Still the favorites, Tainan TSG have the league’s most fearsome forwards, with three international star players.
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Nine-year-old Thai kickboxer Pornpattara “Tata” Peachaurai is eager to get back in the ring after COVID-19 curbs brought his fight season to a halt more than five months ago. The money he earns is vital income for his family. “All the money from boxing, the regular payment and the tips, it all goes to mum,” the lean young fighter said. “I’m proud to be a boxer and to earn money for my mum.” Tata’s last fight was in October last year, before a second COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand shut down sports events as bans on large gatherings were reimposed. “I cannot box. I