Lexus Ilkley Trophy 2023: Jason Kubler & Mirjam Bjorklund crowned singles champions
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Jason Kubler and Mirjam Bjorklund are the new Lexus Ilkley Trophy singles champions having both come through straight sets victories in Saturday’s finals.
Fourth seed Kubler defeated world No.81 Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 6-4 in the final to win his 21st career title and a first on grass.
Kubler didn’t face a single break point through the match, losing just 10 points on serve in both sets combined. He needed just on break in both sets to seal his maiden grass court title in an hour and 20 minutes.
The 30-year-old had to fight his way through a punishing draw that included 18-year-old wonderkid Juncheng Shang and Rothesay Open Nottingham runner-up Arthur Cazaux in the quarters and semi-finals.
The title is yet another milestone in Kubler’s career, after winning the Australian Open doubles title earlier this year.
"I always knew today was going to be a tough match,” he said. “Seb is a great player and he’s shown that all week – the form he’s been in has been incredible. Today was just one of those days where I hit a lot of my spots on serve and got my returns when I needed it. It’s great to play these matches against top quality opponents like this."
In the women’s singles, unseeded Bjorklund completed her dream week in Ilkley by defeating top seed Emma Navarro 6-4, 7-5 in the final.
This is the first time the Swedish star has won a title at W100 level and like Kubler, is her first trophy on grass.
“I enjoyed my time here last year, but I’ve definitely loved it even more this year,” she said in her post match interview. “It feels incredible, it’s my first $100k title and I couldn’t be happier getting the title here, and on grass. It’s very special to me.
“I felt good from the get go this week and when we got out there on the grass, everything just felt great out there.”
In a match of twists and turns, which saw 12 breaks between them, Bjorklund made Navarro pay for her poor form on serve. Despite losing two match points serving for the title at 5-4 in the second, she immediately bounced back and broke for seventh time and eventually served out the victory.
Bjorklund has had a brilliant week in Ilkley, not only beating the top seed but knocking out the reigning champion, Dalma Galfi in the semi-finals.
Top seeds Gonzalo Escobar and Aleksandr Nedovyesov are the new men's doubles champions in Ilkley with a nail-biting 2-6, 7-5, 11-9 victory over Robert Galloway and John Patrick Smith in the final.
Meanwhile, Nao Hibino and Natalija Stevanovic had to come through two matches on Friday to win the women's doubles trophy. The Japenese, Serbian duo finished with another close win over Maja Chwalinska and Jesika Maleckova 7-6(10), 7-6(5) in the final.