10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Marta Kostyuk Wins Maiden WTA Title in Austin

Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine won her first WTA title in Austin today. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

Marta Kostyuk is competing for a cause.

Today, the 20-year-old Ukrainian brought the power of her people to her first final and realized a collective dream in the Lone Star state.

An emotional Kostyuk conquered Varvara Gracheva 6-3, 7-5 in the inaugural Austin final to claim her maiden WTA title, which she dedicated to fellow Ukrainians.

When Gracheva’s final drive missed the mark, Kostyuk dropped to her knees near the baseline, buried her head in her hands and soaked up the moment.

“Everyone who is in the stands and everyone who is watching especially in Ukraine being in the position that I’m in it’s extremely special to win this title and I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and to all the people who are fighting and dying right now,” Kostyuk said. “Obviously, it’s a very special moment. I want to thank you guys everyone who put this tournament together.

“This is one of the nicest tournaemnts I’ve been to. I said in the draw ceremony it feels like a home tournament a lot of people came to support me thank you guys thank you.”

Last year, Kostyuk spoken openly about how hard it was for her just to walk out on the court as her country was under siege suffering death and destruction at the hands of Russian invaders.

The world No. 52 said she struggled with guilt traveling the world playing tennis, while knowing her compatriots were struggling and suffering.

Ultimately, Kostyuk concluded the best way she can honor Ukrainians is to bring their fighting spirit to court with her.

“I was guilty that I am playing tennis, that I have the sky above me that is blue, and bright, and very calm,” Kostyuk said. “Mixed feelings, but you can’t be in this position because everyone is fighting how they can fight.

“My job is to play tennis—this is the biggest way I can help. In the current situation, I’m sure I would be much less use if I came back and tried to volunteer. Obviously I would love to do it, but I think I’m a better use out here playing.”

The eighth-seeded Kostyuk converted eight of 15 break points in a 91 minute victory.

Gracheva built a 5-3 second-set lead and held a set point serving at 5-4, 40-30, but Kostyuk came up big to save it. Attacking net, Kostyuk knocked off a volley to break back and level.

Deadlocked at 5-all, Kostyuk hit an underarm on a second serve and got away with it knocking off a passing shot to hold for 6-5. Kostyuk broke to close her maiden title.