Barty, Zverev storm to Cincinnati titles

  • Matt Trollope

Ash Barty strengthened her grip on the world No.1 ranking, while Alexander Zverev backed up Olympic gold with another big title as the pair triumphed in Cincinnati on Sunday.

Wimbledon champion Barty dismantled unlikely finalist Jil Teichmann 6-3 6-1 to complete a brilliant week at the WTA 1000 event, where she did not drop a set in five matches. The Australian has now won five titles in 2021.

In the men's final, Alexander Zverev extended his winning streak to 11 matches with a 6-2 6-3 defeat of Andrey Rublev.

Cincinnati champion Alexander Zverev improves his 2021 record in finals to a perfect 4-0. (Getty Images)

The recent Olympic gold medallist notched his fifth career ATP Masters 1000 title, and second of the year.

Both Barty and Zverev will be among the leading favourites for the US Open when the year’s final Grand Slam tournament begins on 30 August in New York.  

Barty has now won 12 of her past 13 matches, beating fellow major champions Victoria Azarenka, Barbora Krejcikova and Angelique Kerber before stopping Swiss wildcard Teichmann in the final.

Those victories helped improve her season win-loss record to a tour-best 40-7 – including 14-1 against top-20 players – and earned her a 13th career singles title.

“Even though that’s not necessarily my repertoire all the time, I felt like I wanted to push myself this week to try and be more assertive on my serve,” said the 25-year-old, who finished the match with 28 winners (including eight aces) to Teichmann’s 12.

"This week it was completely non result-focused. It was about preparing in the best way possible, knowing that we wanted to be ready for New York in a couple weeks' time.”

Despite the loss, Teichmann enjoyed a stunning week in Cincinnati, upsetting Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic and Karolina Pliskova en route to the biggest final of her career.

The world No.76 is expected to vault inside the top 50 after her breakthrough week.

Zverev, meanwhile, has now won four titles in 2021, with Cincinnati sitting alongside his other big 2021 wins in Madrid and at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 24-year-old German had fought through a thrilling three-set semifinal over Stefanos Tsitsipas less than 24 hours earlier, but was far more dominant against Rublev, racing to a 6-2 5-1 lead.

He briefly wobbled with a double fault to lose the game when serving for the title, but broke the Russian in the very next game to complete victory in under an hour – the shortest men’s final in Cincinnati’s recorded history.

"It's incredible, the first ever win I had on these courts was Wednesday, four days ago, and now my first title here,” said Zverev, who before this year had, staggeringly, never won a main-draw match in Cincinnati.

"It's been an incredible week, I think a lot of great matches. To be honest, it's an incredible feeling going into the US Open now."

Despite the loss, it was an encouraging week for Rublev, who scored his first win in six attempts over top seed Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals to advance to his first Masters final on hard court.