WTA / ATP: Rybakina and Humbert hailed champions

Former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova and American Tommy Paul also enjoyed a trophy lift at the weekend.

Ugo Humbert / Titre Open 13 Marseille©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Elena Rybakina became the headline act from another stellar week across the men's and women's tours.

There was a French hero, a four year wait eradicated and an all-American duel. Here are the key storylines to catch up on…

Rybakina makes it seven

World No.4 Elena Rybakina rebounded from an early Australian Open exit to return to the winner's circle on Sunday. 

The 24-year-old captured her second title of 2024 with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion was serving for the title at 5-4 in the second set, before a rain delay halted her progress at 30-all. Like so often, the Kazakh was cool, calm and collected to complete the title triumph upon resumption.

Rybakina, seeded No.1 for just the second time in her fledging career, was tested in three-set tussles with Danielle Collins and No.8 seed Liudmila Samsonova en route to a seventh career title.

"Really happy with this week and the way I played throughout the week," said Rybakina, who lost a rollercoaster Australian Open second round versus Anna Blinkova.

"I was coming to this week without expectations because I had some issues in Melbourne, so we needed some time to get back on court.

"I was just trying to get as many matches as I can. Really proud about this week. With every match I felt more confident."

Both Rybakina and Kasatkina will hope to immediately transfer their form to the first WTA 1000 of the season over in Doha, Qatar.

Humbert's five star showing

Ugo Humbert thrived as the home hero at the Open 13 Provence.

The Frenchman capped a stellar week to dictate play 6-4, 6-3 over the resurgent Grigor Dimitrov, becoming the eighth player in the Open Era to win his first five tour-level finals.

After dropping the first set to countryman Hugo Gaston, the 25-year-old roared back to surrender just five games to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and then edged top seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals.

Ugo Humbert / Finale Open 13 Marseille©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

As a result of his Marseille magic, the silky Frenchman moves up to a career-high No.18 in the rankings on Monday.

“I’m very strong mentally in finals,” said Humbert. “It was a great match against Grigor, he’s one of the best players at the moment, so it was not easy.

“It’s here where everything began, because I reached my first semi-final on Tour here. It’s really nice to win Marseille, it’s a good feeling. It’s so nice to win at home again."

Four years in the making

Arriving at the Transylvania Open, Czech Karolina Pliskova had last lifted a trophy in January 2020.

That all changed in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, as the former world No.1 denied home hope Ana Bogdan 6-4, 6-3 to clinch a 17th WTA title.

"I feel amazing because I didn’t win a title since a couple years, so of course it feels great, especially here with the support which I have all week," said the world No.59. "At the moment I’m just really happy, so I want to enjoy it."

Paul takes All-American honours

820 days after his first ATP title triumph, Tommy Paul had that winning feeling once again.

The American defeated his compatriot Marcos Giron 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3 to lift the Dallas Open trophy on home soil.

Paul dazzled with some spectacular forehand winners lasered down the line on the run, launching the 26-year-old to his second ATP title and first since Stockholm 2021.

“That was a pretty unbelievable match,” said Paul, who climbs up to world No.14. “Best final I’ve ever played.”

Over to Cordoba,Argentina, and Luciano Darderi completed the rare qualifying to champion quest.

In the third all-qualifier final since the ATP Tour was established back in 1990, the Italian ran out a 6-1, 6-4 victor facing Argentine Facundo Bagnis.

"I feel really good, I can't believe I have won my first ATP title," said world No.76 Darderi, having risen 60 ranking spots. "Last week I lost in the second round of an ATP Challenger.

“To come through from qualifying to win the title with my family here, my dad and my girlfriend, it's so special. And to make a big move in the rankings."