Melnikova and Lu overcome nerves and the weather to take singles titles at Aegon Surbiton Trophy

Marina Melnikova beat Stephanie Foretz to claim the women’s singles title on a heavily interrupted final day at the Aegon Surbiton Trophy on Sunday.

Battling the rain and a more experienced opponent in 35-year-old Frenchwoman Foretz, 27-year-old Russian Melnikova triumphed 6-3 7-6 (8-6) on Centre Court.

Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu eventually beat Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 7-5 7-6 (13-11) to win the men’s final after the game was moved indoors because of the conditions.

Melnikova said: “I was very nervous today compared to other games because it was the final. But I’m so happy to win.”

Marina MelnikovaBEATING THE CONDITIONS: Marina Melnikova triumphed despite the rain in Surbiton

Melnikova dominance

Despite a weather delay of more than two hours, Melnikova showed no signs of distraction as she controlled the first set with some powerful groundstrokes.

The right-hander broke her opponent’s serve three times on the way to winning 6-3.

Melnikova, ranked four places lower than Foretz at 238, continued to dominate as the sun came out in the second set to rush into a 2-0 lead.

A resurgent Foretz battled back to take the set to a tiebreak and kept pace throughout, levelling at 5-5 with a break of her own.

However – just as she did against Argentinian Catalina Pella in the semi-final – Melnikova showed steely determination to prevail, forcing a loose stroke from her opponent to seal the victory.

Asked about the day’s interruptions, Melnikova, who rose to 192 in the world rankings following the victory, said: “When you’re waiting and waiting and waiting it’s not so good. And we couldn’t warm up on the practice court so that’s why we had 10 minutes before the match.

“You just have to think about the next point and then it helps not think about something else because all other thoughts can disturb you.”

Roehampton and back (and back again)

The day’s action began away from Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club, with the unseeded 25-year-old Copil defeating American fourth seed Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3 6-4 in the second men’s semi-final under the cover of the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

World number 174 Copil – famed for hitting the fastest grand Slam serve ever at 242 km/h against Stanislas Wawrinka in Australia in 2015 – then returned to KT5 to face fourth seed Lu.

The pair were evenly matched before they were forced off the grass and back on to the hard courts at Roehampton with world number 97 Lu leading 5-4.

When play recommenced 32-year-old former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Lu took the first set 7-5.

There was little to choose between the pair in the second set before it reached a tiebreak.

Lu, who was defeated by Dustin Brown in the final of the Aegon Manchester trophy the previous week, was able to triumph this time around – saving five set points before prevailing 13-11 to take his 23rd ATP challenger title.

Yen-Hsun LuAT HOME ON GRASS: Yen-Hsun Lu is enjoying a good start to the grass court season

Lu said: “I’m very happy, especially last week after making a final. I’ve come here and it’s different conditions but I’m very happy.

“I didn’t have high expectations, but I got used to it fast and played really good games in these two weeks.

“There’s still a long way to go until the main tournament at Wimbledon, but I hope I can keep in this condition and refresh a little bit before the main tournament.”

No home comforts

Any British hopes of success were dashed when Samantha Murray lost 7-5, 6-2 to American Melanie Oudin in the quarter-finals on Friday.

In the men’s tournament, Briton and top seed Dan Evans failed to make it past round two, defeated by Copil 6-4, 6-2.

Images courtesy of Aegon Surbiton Trophy, with thanks

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