Fruhvirtova clinches Chennai Open crown

Teenager Fruhvirtova defeats Linette in an epic final to win Chennai Open singles title
(from left) Tamil Nadu Tennis Association president Vijay Amritraj, singles champion Linda Fruhvirtova, Chief Minister MK Stalin and runner-up Magda Linette at the presentation ceremony
(from left) Tamil Nadu Tennis Association president Vijay Amritraj, singles champion Linda Fruhvirtova, Chief Minister MK Stalin and runner-up Magda Linette at the presentation ceremony

CHENNAI: Sunday was a memorable day for the Fruhvirtova family. Hours after her younger sister Brenda secured the ITF Italy 25A title, Linda Fruhvirtova clinched her maiden WTA Tour level crown at the Chennai Open 250 here.

In the summit clash at a raucous SDAT Tennis Stadium, the 17-year-old Linda came from behind – once again in the tournament – to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 against Magda Linette in two hours and 40 minutes. Behind 1-4 in the third and final set, the Czech Republic teenager stepped on the gas to bag five games in succession, including back-to-back breaks in the seventh and ninth games.

Linda etched her name in the Chennai Open history books as the inaugural champion of the women’s singles competition, when Poland’s Linette went long. An emotional Linda dropped to her knees and lay on the Centre Court covering her face with her hands, before celebrating with her coaches on the sidelines.

“This week (last week), I knew I was feeling good with my game. I am pretty much in shock. It feels amazing. This is a great start; I need to build on it,” World No.130 Linda said in the press conference. “Her (Linette) going 5-1 up in the third set would have been pretty bad for me. I had a chance after I made it 2-4. I started the next game well. I kept believing and fighting for every point,” added Linda, after what is likely to be the ‘first of many’ titles.

Earlier in the night, World No.67 Linette managed a 1-0 cushion in the match by breaking Linda in the decisive ninth game of the first set. But, the Czech player hit back in the second set, breaking her Polish opponent in the eighth game. Linda, who had her own army of supporters at the venue, pushed the final into the decider after Linette went wide.

“As I said [on Saturday], this was the best atmosphere I have ever played in. It was definitely something to remember – see how loud the fans can be. It feels amazing,” said Linda, the instant fan favourite for whom hundreds waited outside the court’s main entrance.

Dabrowski-Stefani pair clinches doubles crown

The top-seeded combine of Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani lived up to its billing as the Canadian-Brazilian pairing cruised to the doubles title with a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 win over the Anna Blinkova-Natela Dzalamidze duo.

Dabrowski and Stefani got the job done in less than an hour – 57 minutes – with the lop-sided title decider, which began at around 5 pm local time, getting over even before sunset. “Finals are usually won by winning the big points. We did that. Overall, we had a really good week in Chennai. We hope to come back next year,” said Stefani.

RESULTS: Final: Singles: M Linette lost to L Fruhvirtova 6-4, 3-6, 4-6. Doubles:

G Dabrowski/L Stefani bt A Blinkova/ N Dzalamidze 6-1, 6-2

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