Tomic ends 3-year drought

BACK ON TRACK Bernard Tomic of Australia celebrates his triumph at the ATP Chengdu Open with ball boys and girls in Chengdu on Sunday. AFP

Australian Bernard Tomic won his first ATP World Tour title in more than three years on Sunday, beating Italian Fabio Fognini 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7) in the final of the Chengdu Open.

Tomic had to battle hard against the top seed, saving four match points in a tense final set before wrapping up the match in two hours and 15 minutes. The Australian sent down 12 aces and won 70 percent of his first serves to claim his first title since his victory in Bogota in 2015.

The last few years have been hard on Tomic, who slipped out the world’s top 20 after a significant slump in form.

The Australian has faced criticism from back home for a perceived lack of effort out on court and questions abound over his temperament.

This year, Tomic has managed to mostly stay away from the sort of unwanted headlines that have dogged him in the past, and has climbed to 123 from 243 in the world rankings since May.

Nishioka triumphs

Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka broke through for his maiden ATP singles title on Sunday, outlasting seasoned Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in a gruelling final at the Shenzhen Open. The 23-year-old Nishioka played seven matches across eight days at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre but still had plenty of energy in a marathon final as he threw himself at everything Herbert could offer.

Halep retires hurt

World number one Simona Halep said that she was “worried now” after a persistent back problem forced her out of the China Open in Beijing after just 31 miserable minutes on Sunday.

The Romanian never looked comfortable against Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur, losing the opening set of their first-round match 6-1 before calling it quits.

Holder Caroline Garcia survived a major scare before defeating wildcard Wang Yafan 7-6, (12/10), 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 to open the defence of her crown.

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