Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Top seed aces women's pro tennis final

Winner Konta ranked 140th in world

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Top-seeded Johanna Konta defeated third-seed Samantha Murray on Sunday to win the CIBC Wood Gundy Challenger tennis tournament.

Konta defeated Murray 6-3, 6-1 at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club in the first professional tennis tournament in Winnipeg since 2000.

"Every victory and every tournament win is a great feeling, so I'm very happy to have come through this week," Konta said. "I didn't think Sam and I played our best tennis today. I thought I took my chances better than she did, and so that's why I came out on top."

Murray picked up the first game of the set before Konta evened the score to one game each. Konta hit two back-to-back balls out of bounds in the third game to give Murray a 2-1 edge. However, Konta won five of the next six games to pick up the first set 6-3.

"I do think I was quite erratic in the first set," Konta said. "I wasn't making enough balls. Towards the second set, I tightened up my game and I got my balls in."

She kept up her momentum heading into the second set and was up 5-0 before Murray won her first game. Konta needed just one more game to take the set 6-1 and the match.

"I settled into the match and I really just became much more focused and concentrated on making more balls. It was just attention to detail and I managed to get the job done," Konta said. "In terms of playing-wise, I think I might have played better in some of the other matches. But I do think I was mentally very tough today and I took care of business, so I'm happy to do that."

The victory will help her world ranking of 140. She didn't lose a single set during the tournament.

Murray competed in both women's singles and doubles matches. She and her partner Jade Windley were in Saturday's doubles final but lost to unseeded Canadian Heidi El Tabakh and American partner Allie Kiick in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 10-8. Murray said she felt some fatigue after playing nine matches in six days.

"It all catches up to you, but I'm happy to get this far and I've had some tough matches and it was good to come through there," Murray said.

Murray and Konta, both from Great Britain, were thrilled with how the tournament went.

"The tournament is great. I can't believe it's the first time they've run it, because it's so well done. Canada has got to be my new favourite place to play," Murray said.

Tennis Manitoba executive director Mark Arndt was pleased the players and fans enjoyed the event. The finals brought in about 350 people and Arndt said more than 3,000 attended throughout the week.

He's optimistic Winnipeg will hold the CIBC Wood Gundy Challenger again next year, saying he looks forward to putting the city back on the professional tennis circuit.

"CIBC Wood Gundy is very happy with the outcome of this tournament and they look to renew again for next year, so that's fantastic," Arndt said.

As the event continues and word of mouth spreads, he believes the tournament will attract new players with even higher world rankings.

"Word travels and spreads on the tour. If it's a good event, then players hear about it and then they come. So hopefully for next year we'll get even more in the hundreds (ranking)," Arndt said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 29, 2013 C4

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