By Eleanor Crooks, PA Tennis Correspondent
Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk dedicated her first WTA Tour title to “all the people who are fighting and dying” after beating Russia’s Varvara Gracheva at the ATX Open.
Competing in her maiden final, 20-year-old Kostyuk, ranked 40, clinched a 6-3 7-5 victory in Austin, Texas.
During the presentation ceremony, Kostyuk said: “Being in the position that I’m in right now, it’s extremely special to win this title. I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and to all the people who are fighting and dying right now.”
“I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine. It’s a very special moment 💙💛”@marta_kostyuk | #ATXOpen pic.twitter.com/RKtWoGPKdP
— wta (@WTA) March 5, 2023
She has been the most outspoken player about the decision to allow Russian and Belarusian players to continue playing on tour following the invasion of Ukraine.
There was no handshake between Kostyuk and Gracheva afterwards, with the Ukrainian frequently criticising players from the two aggressor countries for not condemning the war.
At the WTA tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, Donna Vekic captured her fourth title with a 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over top seed Caroline Garcia.
Croatian Vekic was ranked outside the top 100 a year ago following knee surgery but has enjoyed an excellent last six months, including reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, and is back up to 23 in the standings.