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  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

ACAPULCO, Mexico – 27-year-old Lesia Tsurenko captured her third WTA title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel after a commanding victory over Kristina Mladenovic, 6-1, 7-5.

“I’m really happy to start the season like this: I had the semifinal in Hobart International and now this title here in Acapulco,” Tsurenko said after the match.

“It’s three of three now, it’s a 100% result for me and this makes me very happy,” she added, referencing her perfect success rate in WTA finals. “I’m very happy with this result, and to win the title here it’s just amazing.”

The No.2 seeded Mladenovic, who was seeking her second title in five weeks, found herself outhit from the start on Saturday night. The Ukrainian’s strong play from the baseline didn’t allow Mladenovic to find her rhythm; she was broken twice by Tsurenko and found herself down 4-0 after just 15 minutes, and was only able to hit 3 winners in the opening set.

But it was far from smooth sailing after that, with eight consecutive breaks of serve starting out the second set.

It was Mladenovic who gritted out the crucial hold first and established a late foothold at 4-5, but Tsurenko stayed mentally strong to earn her own first hold of the set straight after. She broke once more and took the match with a strong service game for her first Acapulco title.

“It was a very difficult match, I felt very comfortable in the first set but in the second I felt quite nervous,” Tsurenko explained, decked out in the traditional Acapulco winner’s blue sombrero.

“She played better, and I think I was realizing that I could get the title and that was making me nervous. She really pushed me to play my best tennis because she was attacking a lot. I was just focusing on myself and doing everything that I can. I’m really happy to win.”

“I just want to congratulate Lesia,” Mladenovic said, delighting the Acapulco crowd by giving her runner-up speech in Spanish. “You’ve played great today and all week, and especially with these tough conditions. Congrats on the title and on the rest of the season.

“Acapulco is a very special place for me because three years ago was the first time I played the tournament, and I won the title in doubles.

“This year is just the second time I’ve played here and I’ve reached the singles final!”

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Insider Podcast: Equal Prize Money

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MIAMI, FLORIDA, USA – On this special Dropshot episode of the WTA Insider Podcast, hear from WTA founder Billie Jean King and 18-time major champion Chris Evert. King and Evert held an impromptu press conference last week at the Miami Open to discuss the issue of equal prize money and equality, which were brought to the fore once again after former BNP Paribas Open CEO and tournament director Raymond Moore’s comments in which he told reporters the WTA Players “ride the coattails” of the ATP when it comes to prize money. Moore has since stepped down from his post.

King and Evert, along with current WTA player Nicole Gibbs, discussed their reaction to the comments, which triggered an unfortunate avalanche of discussion regarding the merits of equal prize money at tennis’ biggest tournaments. The 45-minute conversation was educational, enlightening, and inspiring, and given the fan interest in the press conference, we’re posting the discussion in full.

Evert on the progress in women’s tennis: “If there is a silver lining to all this that’s gone on in the last week, it’s the fact that there has been such outrage from the players and from the media and from the public defending the women’s game. I think from time to time we all need a reminder of the evolution of women’s tennis and the great (indiscernible) and sacrifices every generation has had to make, from Billie Jean to myself and Martina, Steffi to Monica, to Williams sisters. What we’ve done to get the credibility, the respect, and equality that we have now.”

King on the need for inclusion: “To have equal prize money in the majors sends a message. It’s not about the money, it’s about the message. Any time you discount another human being by gender, race, disability, however, we’re not helping ourselves. You want everyone to make a lot. At least I do. We want to make the pie bigger, the marketplace bigger for all, for all of you so you have jobs.

“To argue over the prize money issue, what about when Chris and Martina were playing and their ratings were better than the men? We didn’t go, Oh, we deserve more than the men. No. Let’s just keep it equal and help each other. It’s not a “he” thing or a “she” thing; it’s a “we” thing. I’m telling you, this is the only way the world is going to make it.”

Gibbs on carrying forth King’s message: “I think our generation is very privileged sometimes because we just kind of take it for granted. We think, Okay, it’s all better. We just have to focus on our tennis. That’s what we are told from a very young age, and very few of us feel a responsibility to continue on a path of equality. You have to use the platform to continue down that path of equality. Quality and fairness — many right now think we’re so far down the road and in reality we are not necessarily. There are still so many people, men and women both, making comments that are very counterproductive to our mission of growing the game of tennis, using it as a platform.”


You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on any podcast app of your choice and reviews are always helpful, so if you like what you’ve heard so far, leave us one. You can also get new episode alerts by following us on Twitter @WTA_Insider.

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On-Form Azarenka Claims Miami Crown

On-Form Azarenka Claims Miami Crown

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MIAMI, FL, USA – Former No.1 Victoria Azarenka continues her climb back to the top, overpowering Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 in the final to claim the Miami Open title and secure her return to the WTA Top 5.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Miami right here on!

Azarenka, a two-time champion here in Miami, won her third title of 2016 in dominating fashion without dropping a set. Even more impressive, her back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Miami complete the Sunshine Double, a feat last achieved 11 years ago.

The on-form Belarusian, who has only lost one match all year, broke in Kuznetsova’s opening service game and quickly held for a 2-0 lead. That lone hold of serve would turn out to be vital, as Azarenka was able to weather the seven consecutive breaks that followed and still hang on to the lead.

In the second set Azarenka’s powerful game came together as she wore down Kuznetsova from the baseline, running the Russian all over the court. Azarenka kept up the intensity throughout the match, hitting 23 winners to Kuznetsova’s 8 while Kuznetsova struck 22 unforced errors to her opponent’s 18.

After Azarenka claimed the match and the Miami title in an hour and 17 minutes, Kuznetsova had nothing but praise for her in-form opponent in her runner-up speech.

“I’d like to congratulate Victoria for doing such a good job this year and in these four weeks,” Kuznetsova said, delighting the Miami crowd by delivering the speech in both English and Spanish.

Azarenka was similarly effusive in her praise for Kuznetsova, who she’s played nine times since 2007.

“I want congratulate Sveta for the great result,” Azarenka said. “I know you’ve had a lot of ups and downs in your career and I’m so happy to see you again in top form producing some great tennis.”

The Belarusian also had an emotional dedication for the win, her twentieth career title:

“I want to dedicate this win to my family, for my parents, who I don’t see very often but my parents taught me some really great things.

“They gave me roots so I always know where I come from and they gave me wings so I can fly, so I can be here. Thank you so much.”

With the win, Azarenka also cements her position as No.1 on the Road To Singapore Leaderboard, leapfrogging Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber for the top spot.

Sunshine Double

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