Home sweet home for Swiatek

Another action-packed week delivered a series of trophy lifts ahead of the US Open series.

Iga Swiatek, Wimbledon 2023, Simple Dames, 1/8 de Finale©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

The fourth Grand Slam of the season is fast approaching.

In just four weeks time the tennis world will roll into New York for the US Open. However, both the women's and men's tours have busy schedules in the build-up.

Here are the key headlines from the weekend.

Home is where the heart is

A productive season for world No.1 Iga Swiatek continued to bloom on home hard courts in Warsaw.

The 22-year-old lifted a fourth title of 2023, having completed her semi-final earlier on Sunday too. Swiatek resumed 6-1, 5-5 versus Yanina Wickmayer before edging the second set tie-break and then soared past Laura Siegemund 6-0, 6-1 for the trophy.

"It's not easy to play in Warsaw, but I'm so happy that we could manage and do everything we could today, after a pretty tiring day yesterday," said the Roland-Garros champion, who didn't drop a set all tournament.

"I wanted to put it all in and go for it. I'm pretty happy that I did."

Top seed rules stateside

American No.1 Taylor Fritz set the tone for the US Open series with a dogged display in Atlanta.

The 25-year-old capped his return to his homeland by claiming his second title of the campaign.

Fritz surrendered two championship points over the net from Australian Aleksandar Vukic at 6-5 in the second set, then managed to re-group for a hard-fought 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-4 scoreboard.

"I've played this tournament five times before and made semis (2021) and the final (2019). I feel like I've always been close so it's nice," said world No.9 Fritz.

"I don't think I could've handled another loss in the final. It feels really good to get the job done." 

Where it all started

The combined Hamburg tournament witnessed hometown glory for Alexander Zverev.

The German crafted his powerful game on those very courts and secured an emotional 7-5, 6-3 final triumph over Laslo Djere for his first title since the 2021 ATP Finals.

“At the end of the day, this is my home, this is where I grew up, and this where I started playing tennis,” said 20-time titlist Zverev, who had to learn to walk again after a horror ankle injury at Roland-Garros 2022. 

“It was incredible for me, incredibly emotional. I can’t describe it in words, I’m just super happy right now. It’s almost like a first title again."

Over on the WTA side and Arantxa Rus denied a fairytale ending for German prodigy Noma Noha Akugue.

Rus, competing in her 126th WTA main draw, earned a 6-0, 7-6(3) victory against the breakout wild card for her own landmark moment.

"The day was very long because I was very nervous all day long, but I'm happy that I could play good tennis and it was a great final from both of us, a lot of spectators and a very good atmosphere," said Rus, cracking the Top 50 for the first time on Monday.

"I'm very proud of myself that after so many years, I made my first title." 

Popyrin "honoured" to wrestle Wawrinka

Australian Alexei Popyrin defied a late bout of cramp to edge three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 in Umag.

"All tournament I’ve been fighting battles that I don’t know how I won. This one tops it all,” declared Popyrin. “My quad was done at 2-1 (third set). I felt it cramp, I felt it strain. I think it’s pulled, but I managed to dig deep. I don’t know how I won it, honestly."

Popyrin, rising 33 places up to world No. 57, paid tribute to his opponent following their high-octane two-and-a-half-hour battle.

“It’s an unbelievable honour to play somebody like Stan in a final," said Popyrin, denying Wawrinka a first ATP title since Geneva 2017.

"I grew up watching him, Roger, Rafa, Novak play. To play him in a final and beat him in a final, words can’t describe how happy I am. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

First time feeling

It was also a magical milestone weekend for Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

The 22-year-old captured a first WTA singles title by outmanoeuvring France's Clara Burel 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the Lausanne final.

The Italian was a deserved champion, venturing into the silverware showdown by escaping two of her contests from match point down, against Celine Naef in the first round, and facing Anna Bondar in Saturday’s semi-final.

"It's unexpected to me because I came here without expectations, but I’m super happy to win this title," said the world No.30, surging up 12 spots in the rankings.

"It was an incredible week, a tough week, because I stayed on the court a lot, I fight a lot.

"Also, it gives me the motivation to improve. Every day I’m improving myself outside and inside the court."