Pironkova claims first WTA crown

Pironkova claims first WTA crown

Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova's fairytale run at the Sydney International ended with her first WTA title when she  stunned world number nine Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4 in the final on Friday.

Meanwhile, former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro underlined his status as a dark horse for next week's Australian Open by hammering Dmitry Tursunov to reach the final.

Spain's world number three David Ferrer, however, had his bid for a fifth Auckland Open title ended in the semifinals by a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) defeat to unheralded Taiwanese Lu Yen-hsun. 

At the Kooyong Classic, France's Gilles Simon turned his ankle badly and was forced to retire while trailing compatriot Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-3), 1-0.

Lanky Argentine Del Potro, who will be seeded fifth in Melbourne, brushed aside the Russian fourth seed 6-4, 6-2.

Two of those finals were at Masters events in Shanghai and Indian Wells, an indication for some that Del Potro might be returning to the level of form that he reached to win the 2009 US Open title before a wrist injury nearly ended his career.

The 25-year-old will meet Australian defending champion Bernard Tomic, who came from behind to beat Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-7 (4-7) 7-5, 6-3 in Saturday's final at Sydney's Olympic Park. 

Another former US Open champion, 2011 women's singles winner Sam Stosur, had a less encouraging day, going down 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals of the Hobart International to Klara Zakopalova. 

Zakopalova will face Garbine Muguruza Blanco in the final after the Spaniard thrashed compatriot Estrella Cabeza Candela 6-0, 6-1 in the second semifinal.

Bops-Qureshi in final

India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi maintained their winning run in the men’s doubles competition to reach the final with a comprehensive win over Lukas Rosol and Joao Sousa.

The third-seeded Indo-Pak pair, seeded third, won 6-1, 6-2 against Rosol and Sousa.

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