WTA Tour

Vinci claims Saint Petersburg title

Roberta Vinci (File)
Roberta Vinci (File)

Saint Petersburg - Second seed Roberta Vinci won the inaugural WTA St Petersburg tournament on Sunday by beating top-seeded Belinda Bencic in straight sets in the final.

The Italian toppled the 18-year-old Swiss, ranked 11th in the world, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 19 minutes to claim her 10th WTA singles title and first since 2013.

"It was much tougher than the scoreline suggests," Vinci said.

"I had to stay focused on every single point, but I think I served really well today and that was probably the key.

"Belinda is a great player and today she just missed a few important balls."

Vinci had previously decided to hang up her racket after the 2016 season. However, she has not ruled out delaying her retirement a little longer.

Asked if she planned to play on for a few years, Vinci said: "No, two, three years, no. One more, but maybe. Why not?"

World number 16 Vinci looked in good form from the start, keeping her teenage opponent under pressure.

The 32-year-old doubles specialist broke twice in the opening set but Bencic, who will break into the world's top 10 for the first time on Monday, hit back on both occasions to level at 4-4.

But last season's US Open runner-up Vinci grabbed the deciding break in the 10th game to claim the first set in 44 minutes.

In the second set just one break in game four was enough to seal victory in the first ever meeting between the two.

"Roberta played amazing today and throughout this tournament," Bencic said at the award ceremony.

"I gave everything I could but today she was much better!"

Earlier on Sunday, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza extended their winning streak to 40 consecutive matches as they beat Vera Dushevina and Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-1 in the event's doubles final.

The world's number one pair of Swiss Hingis and India's Mirza dropped just one set in four matches at Saint Petersburg.

They are currently on course to matching the record victory series of Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova, who managed 44 consecutive matches.

"We're obviously very happy to win another title but now that we're coming closer and closer to the next target of 44, we can't help but think about it," Mirza said after the final.

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