ATP / WTA: Sinner, Paul and Pegula claim titles on the turf

Wimbledon is just a week away as the world's very best attempt to find their groove on grass courts

Jannik Sinner / Demi-finale Roland-Garros 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Four first-time champions on the grass, it's a quartet who have assembled the perfect preparation for a trip to south-west London. 

It's nearly time for the third Grand Slam of 2024, which commences at Wimbledon on July 1st, and plenty of stars have been in action across the ATP and WTA.

Here are the key headlines from the week…

Sinner keeps ticking off the milestones

Jannik Sinner held the trophy aloft in his first tournament as the world No.1 in Halle.

All week in Germany the 22-year-old produced clutch tennis at the pressure moments, which he repeated in a 7-6(8), 7-6(2) triumph over Hubert Hurkacz on Sunday.

In doing so, Sinner became just the eighth man in ATP rankings history (since 1973) to claim a title in their first event as the world No.1. That feat was most recently achieved by Andy Murray at the ATP Finals in November 2016.

"It means a lot. It was a tough match against Hubi,” said Sinner. “I tried to produce in the best possible way in the important moments. I’m very happy about this tournament because winning for the first time on grass court, it's a good feeling.”

The Italian talisman required three sets to overcome his opening three opponents, prior to a 6-4, 7-6(3) victory over China's Zhang Zhizhen in the semi-finals, en route to his 14th tour-level title.

The Australian Open champion now heads to London targeting a second major.

"I’m just looking forward to it. Last year I made semis, I played some good tennis," stated Sinner. “I’m more confident for sure. And on this surface, obviously the grass it might be a bit different from here and Wimbledon. But I have one week now to prepare it so hopefully it's going to be a good tournament.”

Paul the King of Queen's

Roland-Garros champion Carlos Alcaraz surrendered his Queen's Club crown in the second round, due to an inspired showing from British No.1 Jack Draper.

Instead, No.5 seed Tommy Paul rose to the challenge in west London to clinch the biggest title of his career so far.

The American navigated past the flamboyant Lorenzo Musetti 6-1, 7-6(8) in Sunday's final to join plenty of his compatriots on the Roll of Honour at the prestigious Queen's Club, such as Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Pete Sampras.

"This means everything. Going through the hallways in here, in the locker room, the names that are on the wall, it’s unbelievable," said Paul, having collected his third career trophy. "It was my goal always to put my name next to them.”

As a result, the 27-year-old rises to be hailed American No.1 for the first time on Monday.

Paul, who dispatched the likes of Draper and Sebastian Korda on the Queen's lawns, launches back to his career-high ranking of No.12, which is just one spot above his fellow-American Taylor Fritz.

Pegula rallies to crown comeback

A rib injury denied Jessica Pegula a go at the European clay court season. The world No.5 is certainly making up for lost time now.

Saving five championship points in the process, Pegula reeled in Anna Kalinskaya 6-7(0), 6-4, 7-6(3) in the Berlin final on Sunday to earn a fifth career singles silverware.

"I knew I could play well on this surface and giving myself a couple of extra weeks on grass clearly paid off," said Pegula after lifting a maiden grass court title. "I played some really good tennis this week and I feel like I beat some really good girls, especially on grass. To be able to gut out a win like that is cool."

Earlier on Sunday, Pegula had to finish off a semi-final battle against close friend Coco Gauff. The 30-year-old won four of the five points to prevail 7-5, 7-6(2) to post a first Top 10 victory of the season to propel her into a first final of 2024. Perfect timing for SW19.

"This is the most grass-court confidence that I've had probably going into Wimbledon," claimed Pegula.

"Being able to tough out a couple of matches and have a couple of long matches, especially for the body to get ready, and dealing with a lot of the rain delays too. That's always possible at Wimbledon as well, so that was good prep mentally as well.

"I feel like I've been through a lot this week, so if I could handle this week I think at Wimbledon I should feel pretty good."

Over to Birmingham, UK, and Yulia Putintseva captured the third WTA title of her career, another first on grass, with a 6-1, 7-6(8) scoreboard over Ajla Tomljanovic.