Lopez, Vesnina win Eastbourne finals

Updated 26 June 2013
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Lopez, Vesnina win Eastbourne finals

EASTBOURNE: Feliciano Lopez of Spain won his third career title when he beat second-seeded Gilles Simon 7-6 (2), 6-7 (5), 6-0 in the Eastbourne final yesterday, days before they meet again in the first round at Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, Elena Vesnina of Russia won her second WTA title when she defeated American qualifier Jamie Hampton 6-2, 6-1 in their final.
Lopez won just four of 21 break points and Simon one of six. After an exchange of breaks midway through the first set, the Spaniard failed to win a set point at 5-4 before taking the tiebreaker. In the second set it was Simon who held a set point at 5-4 ahead of winning the tiebreaker, before Lopez responded by dominating the final set.
“It’s definitely a good feeling to win the week before Wimbledon,” Lopez said. “Conditions were so tough but we did our best. Hopefully at Wimbledon we can play a better match.”
Vesnina, who lost the first six finals of her career, has now won her last two after also winning in Hobart in January. Hampton was playing in her first career final after upsetting No. 4-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 9-ranked Caroline Wozniacki.
The windy conditions made it difficult for players to produce their best tennis, and Vesnina received a time violation warning early in the second set as she waited to serve.
“It was really difficult to play today, honestly. I think we both were struggling with this wind,” Vesnina said. “I was just trying to play aggressive and deep so Jamie didn’t have the time to attack. So that was my game plan.”
Hampton was the first qualifier to reach a WTA final this year, and was attempting to become the first qualifier to win a title since Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova at Eastbourne in 2010.
She will be ranked on Monday as the third American behind Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens. Hampton and Stephens will clash in the first round at Wimbledon.


Wenger to leave Arsenal after two decades in charge

Updated 57 min 45 sec ago
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Wenger to leave Arsenal after two decades in charge

LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is to leave at the end of the season after a reign of almost 22 years that made him the most successful boss in the Premier League club’s history.
“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” the Frenchman said in a statement issued by the Gunners on Friday.
Wenger, 68, has been with the North Londoners since October 1996 and is by far the longest-serving current manager in English football.
He will be out of contract at the end of the season.
Arsenal are currently a distant sixth in the league but are in the semifinals of the Europa League, which represents their only realistic route to the Champions League next season.
“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity,” said Wenger, who urged the fans to stand behind the team to end the season on a high.
Arsenal’s majority owner Stan Kroenke said it was “one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport.
“One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch,” he said.
“His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.”
Wenger won three Premier League titles, including going unbeaten for an entire season, seven FA Cups and took Arsenal into the Champions League for 20 years in a row. They won the league and FA cup double in 1998 and 2002.
The club said a successor would be appointed as soon as possible with German Thomas Tuchel, out of work since leaving Borussia Dortmund almost a year ago, installed as the early bookmakers’ favorite.