Watch: Teary-eyed Marta Kostyuk remembers Ukraine after catastrophic drone attack

Kostyuk took a moment to remember Ukraine following her San Diego runner-up finish.

by Dzevad Mesic
Watch: Teary-eyed Marta Kostyuk remembers Ukraine after catastrophic drone attack
© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey

Marta Kostyuk teared up remembering Ukraine following her San Diego Open runner-up finish as the Ukrainian tennis player acknowledged the last couple of days were pretty tough for Ukraine.

Last week, 21-year-old Kostyuk came close to winning her second WTA title after making the final at a WTA 500 tournament in San Diego. After making a good start to the San Diego final and going up by a set, Kostyuk's level dropped as Katie Boulter came back to beat the Ukrainian 5-7 6-2 6-2.

Last week, Russia intensified attacks on Ukraine. On Friday a Russian drone hit an apartment block in Odesa, which left 12 killed, of which five were children, and many more injured.

Following her big San Diego run, one of the first things Kostyuk was to remember Ukraine. During her speech, Kostyuk got very emotional several times and fought back tears. Boulter and the crowd were very understanding of the situation, applauding in the support of Kostyuk during her speech. 

Marta Kostyuk
Marta Kostyuk© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey

"First of all everyone in the stands, everyone watching on TV... Slava Ukraini (Glory to Ukraine)," Kostyuk started during her on-court speech.

"I don't want to make it too sad, I want to say thank you to my family back home. It's been a difficult last couple of nights for Ukraine. 

"My family is in Ukraine right now. I don't know what's gonna happen tomorrow. There's no one who sacrificed more for my career than them. I want to dedicate this small trophy to them."

Kostyuk dedicated her San Diego run to Ukraine

In San Diego, Kostyuk clinched four wins and one was pretty impressive as the Ukrainian stunned world No. 5 Jessica Pegula 7-6 (4) 6-1 in the semifinal. 

Against Boulter, Kostyuk lost her serve in the third game but bounced back by claiming back-to-back breaks and winning four games in a row to open a 5-2 lead. But then, Kostyuk started struggling to close out the first set as she didn't convert a set point in the eighth game - failed to serve out for the opener in the ninth game - and also missed out on four more break points in the 10th game as Boulter tied the opener to five games apiece.

Just when it seemed that Kostyuk was about to lose the first set in a crushing way, the Ukrainian managed to break Boulter in the 11th game and realize her sixth set point in the following game and win the opener.

Marta Kostyuk
Marta Kostyuk© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey

Down by a set, Boulter bounced back with back-to-back breaks early in the second set for a 4-1 lead. Kostyuk managed to get one break back in the sixth game but Boulter broke the Ukrainian again in the following game for a 5-2 lead before serving out for the second set in the eighth game. 

After forcing a decider, Boulter continued with strong play as she broke Kostyuk in the third and seventh game for a comfortable 5-2 lead before serving out for the title in the eighth game. 

Boulter beats Kostyuk for the biggest title of her career

By beating Kostyuk and winning the WTA 500 title in San Diego, 27-year-old Boulter captured her second WTA title. Previously, Boulter became a WTA champion after winning a WTA 250 tournament in front of her home crowd in Nottingham. 

Following her San Diego win, Boulter also achieved a new career-high ranking as the Briton is now sitting at No. 27 in the world. For Boulter, the week in San Diego could not have gone any better and the 27-year-old Briton was absolutely thrilled following her win. 

"I don’t know what just happened," Boulter said after sealing the San Diego title.

"This week has been very, very special for so many different reasons. This one is pretty amazing, I’ve worked very hard for it, I played some incredible tennis all week.

"Today was a complete battle, with myself as well, because I was a little bit nervous. But I managed to get over the line, and that I’m very proud of.

"A lot of it was about me staying as tough as I possibly could mentally, and I managed to keep my cool and actually kind of went within myself and calmed myself down a lot. I think that really helped me, and then I started to relax and play through shots a little bit more."

Katie Boulter
Katie Boulter© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey

In the stands following the final was Alex de Minaur, who has been dating Boulter for some time now. Just a day before, de Minaur won an ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco after beating Casper Ruud 6-4 6-4 in the final. 

After the San Diego final, Boulter gave credit to her boyfriend de Minaur for instantly hopping on a plane and arriving to San Diego so he could watch her final.

Marta Kostyuk