Jelena Ostapenko, Alex de Minaur win singles titles at Eastbourne ahead of Wimbledon

Jelena Ostapenko and Alex de Minaur tuned up for Wimbledonby winning the first grass-court titles of their careers at Eastbourne.

Jelena Ostapenko with the trophy. (Image: Twitter/@WTA_insider)

Jelena Ostapenko and Alex de Minaur tuned up for Wimbledon in the best way possible. They won the first grass-court titles of their careers at the Eastbourne tournament on Saturday.

Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion and a wild-card entry in Eastbourne, collected her first WTA trophy since 2019 and fourth overall by beating Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-3 in the women’s final.

Then the No. 2-seeded de Minaur came back to edge No. 3 seed Lorenzo Sonego 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) over more than 2 1/2 hours in a men’s final in which each player collected the same number of total points, 107-107.

That gave the 22-year-old Australian his fifth ATP title and second of 2021. All eight previous finals he had appeared in were on hard courts, including his championship at Antalya, Turkey, in January.

“I had to pull through all my mental strength I had. I had to tell myself to try and be a bit more aggressive and go to win that match. Not just wait for my opponent to lose it, because he was not going to do that,” De Minaur said.

“I am very happy to have played more aggressively in the important points and stay in there. It was not an easy match. I am happy to have my fifth title.

“My first emotion is relief, for finally getting these results. Ecstatic I have been able to pull through and play some good tennis. Every match has helped me confidence wise and strategy wise.

“Every mach I play, I take little things, what I could have done better, what I want to do next time I am in that position.”

Jelena Ostapenko eyes good Wimbledon showing

The best Grand Slam showing for de Minaur also came on a hard court with a quarterfinal run at last year’s U.S. Open.

He’s been as far as the third round at Wimbledon.

Ostapenko reached the semifinals there in 2018 and the quarterfinals the year before, and won the girls’ title there in 2014.

But she lost in the first round of Wimbledon the last time it was played, two years ago, and also had first-round exits at each of this year’s first two major tournaments, the Australian Open and French Open.

Play begins at the All England Club on Monday.

“I think I got some confidence and now it’s time, probably, to show some good tennis at Wimbledon,” said Jelana Ostapenko, a 24-year-old from Latvia who is ranked 43rd.

This was the first women’s final at Eastbourne between two unseeded players since 2013. Kontaveit, a 25-year-old from Estonia, is ranked 27th. Her record in WTA finals dropped to 1-7.

De Minaur is assured of moving up from No. 18 to a career-high No. 15 in the ATP rankings next week. He goes into Wimbledon on an 8-2 roll on grass this month, including a semifinal appearance at Queen’s Club last week.

Sonego, an Italian who is ranked 27th, is now 0-2 against de Minaur and 2-2 in ATP finals.

Sportslumo Desk

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