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Players on the rise headline Austin’s inaugural title match

Players on the rise headline Austin’s inaugural title match


Youth is being served at the ATX Open. The championship match of Austin’s inaugural WTA tournament will pit 20-year-old Marta Kostyuk against 22-year-old Varvara Gracheva in what will be the first WTA final for both players. 

Kostyuk needed just one hour and 24 minutes to register a 6-4, 6-3 win over Danielle Collins in Saturday’s first semifinal while Gracheva outlasted Katie Volynets 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 under the lights at Westwood Country Club. 

Under a bright blue sky, both Kostyuk and Collins enjoyed relatively comfortable holds through the first five games before Kostyuk faced the first pressure of the match, battling off four break points in a four deuce game to get to 3-all. In the next game, she got four break points of her own and finally converted to open up a 4-3 lead before holding to close out the set in 43 minutes. 

The players exchanged breaks to open the second set, then Kostyuk pulled away with two more breaks of serve to advance to the championship match. Kostyuk has now broken her opponents 21 times in 41 return games during the ATX Open. 

The 2017 Australian Open junior champion, Kostyuk has won three career ITF circuit titles, the last coming in 2020. She is projected to rise to a career high of No. 44 by reaching the final and could crack the Top 40 with a title. 

In the nightcap, Gracheva was playing just her second WTA semifinal while it was the first for the 21-year-old Katie Volynets

There were seven breaks of serve in each of the first two sets as neither player was able to really assert control over the match. Volynets opened up the first lead in the deciding set with a break in the fifth game but was unable to hold in her final two service games to give the victory to Gracheva. 

Volynets, who shot into the Top 100 following her Australian Open third round result, entered this week at a career best No. 92, and is projected to be ranked No. 75 following her semifinal here.

Gracheva has jumped over 20 spots in the rankings with her run this week and could reach a career high of No. 56 with the title. She has won seven career ITF titles, including five during the 2019 season. 

Sunday’s 2 p.m. final will be the third meeting between Kostyuk and Gracheva, who have split their previous encounters. Their last meeting came in the quarterfinals at Chicago in 2021, which Gracheva won in three sets. Kostyuk posted her victory in the third round of the 2021 French Open.

This will be the first WTA tournament in which both finalists are contesting their first career final since Martina Trevisan defeated Claire Liu in Rabat, Morrocco, last May.