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Petra Kvitova cruises into Prague Open quarterfinals

PRAGUE (AP) — Second-seeded Petra Kvitova cruised into the quarterfinals of the Prague Open with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over unseeded Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva on Wednesday. Kvitova will face fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova, who prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 over another Russian, Ekaterina Alexandrova. Sixth-seeded Shuai Zhang of China eliminated Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-4, 6-4, wile seventh-seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu dispatched another qualifier, Antonia Lottner of Germany, 6-0, 7-6 (7). Former finalist Samantha Stosur advanced to her first WTA quarterfinal this year with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Czech Denisa Allertova. The Australian will face Italian Camila Giorgi, who dismissed Tamara Korpatsch of Germany 6-4, 6-2. Kristyna Pliskova also made the quarters by defeating Qiang Wang of China 6-2, 7-6 (3) and Jasmine Paolini of Italy beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-1......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMay 3rd, 2018

Former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova fires coach David Kotyza

PRAGUE (AP) — Former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova says she's parted with coach David Kotyza. Pliskova hired Kotyza, the former coach of her fellow Czech Petra Kvitova, in December. With Kotyza, Pliskova won three WTA tournaments. She reached the semifinals at the French Open and lost in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open to lose her No. 1 ranking. In a message to local media on Friday, the fourth-ranked Pliskova says she and the coach failed to agree on 'the strategy of my further development.' It is not immediately clear who will replace Kotyza.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2017

Kvitova loses to Vekic in St Petersburg quarters

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova struggled with her serve and was eliminated from the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy after losing to eighth-seeded Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals on Friday. The second-ranked Kvitova landed only 48 percent of her first serves, double-faulted six times, and was broken five times. Kvitova, the defending St. Petersburg champion who lost to Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open final, was playing in her 14th match in 24 days. It was Vekic's fifth match in that time. Vekic will next face veteran Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals after she beat fellow Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-6 (3). The 12th-ranked Kasatkina has yet to win a match this year after four losses and a single walkover over the injured Maria Sharapova. Fourth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka reached the semifinals by beating Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-4. She will next play Kiki Bertens, who beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 3-6, 6-0. That was a rematch after Pavlyuchenkova knocked Bertens out of the Australian Open second round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2019

Novak, Naomi, other things we learned at Australian Open

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The way things went at the Australian Open didn't exactly teach the world that Novak Djokovic is the best there is in men's tennis right now. Certainly confirmed it, though. And while those within the game knew all about Naomi Osaka, she made sure her talent is more obvious to more people. Djokovic, a 31-year-old already ranked No. 1, now has won the past three men's Grand Slam titles. Osaka, who earned her debut at No. 1 at age 21, has won the last two women's trophies at majors. When it's time for the next Grand Slam tournament — the French Open, four months from now — all eyes should be on them. "Obviously, it's just the beginning of the season. I know there's a lot of tournaments to play before Roland Garros, so I have plenty of time to build my form slowly," Djokovic said. "I have to work on my game, my clay-court game, a bit more." After his impressive 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal in the final at Melbourne Park on Sunday, Djokovic can pursue a fourth consecutive major championship, something he already accomplished from 2015-16. But the possibility also exists for him to aim for a calendar-year Grand Slam, something last done 50 years ago by Rod Laver. It's the kind of thing that could get everyone talking about tennis. As for Osaka — a 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 winner over Petra Kvitova in Saturday's final — what makes her sudden surge to the top particularly noteworthy is that it comes right after a period of apparent depth but no dominance. Until this Australian Open, eight women had divided the previous eight major titles. Not since Serena Williams took four in a row from 2014-15 had one woman won consecutive Slam tournaments. And you have to go all the way back to Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to find a woman who won her first major championship and followed it up at the very next Slam with a second title. "I always hear stories that the best players win matches even when they're not playing their best. And I've always wondered how they did that," Osaka said. "So I feel like this tournament, for me, was that." Djokovic is at the height of his powers. Osaka is only getting better. Who will challenge them? Here is what else we learned at the 2019 Australian Open: SERENA AND ROGER Serena Williams and Roger Federer are both 37. No one has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than Williams' 23. No man in history has won more than Federer's 20. Williams owns seven Australian Open trophies, Federer six. But she lost in the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park this time, and he exited in the fourth round. Maybe age is catching up to them. Maybe not. The idea that either is done contending for big titles seems far-fetched, though. One key thing moving forward: Federer is planning to play the European clay-court circuit and at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015. HEALTHY NADAL Nadal was not up to slowing down Djokovic, but he otherwise sure looked terrific — and, most importantly, healthy. There's little doubt who the favorite will be on the clay courts in France. "The positive things that happened these couple of weeks make us very optimistic regarding his future and his level," said Nadal's coach, Carlos Moya. "We know there is room to keep improving and we are going to be working on that a lot." UP-AND-COMING If there are those who fret about what will happen when the players who ruled tennis for the past 15 years or so move on, there were several new faces who made statements in Australia. Stefanos Tsitstipas, a 20-year-old from Greece, upset Federer on the way to the semifinals. Lucas Pouille, a 24-year-old from France, arrived with a 0-5 record at Melbourne but was guided to his first major semifinal by coach Amelie Mauresmo. American Frances Tiafoe, a son of immigrants from Sierra Leone who turned 21 during the tournament, pulled off a couple of upsets on the way to the quarterfinals. Danielle Collins, a 25-year-old from Florida, beat three-time major champion Angelique Kerber and made her semifinal debut. Amanda Anisimova, a 17-year-old from New Jersey, showed she has a bright future......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2019

Kvitova-Osaka: Australian final from different perspectives

By John Pye, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Petra Kvitova has shed her tears. The tears, for a long time private, were in a very public arena this week. A violent home invasion that caused serious knife wounds to her left hand was a punctuation point in her career, as she sees it. There's the before — two Wimbledon titles — and her "second career" — which so far is highlighted by her run to Saturday's Australian Open final. What she is focused on now is winning her first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2014. To get there, she'll have to beat 21-year-old Naomi Osaka, the U.S. Open champion who is on a 13-match winning streak in the majors. "To be honest, I'm still not really believing that I'm in the final," Kvitova said. "It's kind of weird, to be honest, as well, that I didn't know even if I was going to play tennis again." Kvitova was 21 when she made her Grand Slam breakthrough at Wimbledon in 2011 and was a star on the rise, much like Osaka is now. Unlike Osaka, she lost in the first round in her next Grand Slam. There were ups — including a second Wimbledon title — and downs in tennis until that until the horrible ordeal in December 2016 that could have derailed her career, or worse. For a while she was confident being alone, she remembered, until one day she left the locker room at a tennis club in Prague and told her support crew "yeah, it was a good one today that I really felt OK." Her doctor didn't tell her at the time of concerns about the scarring on her surgically repaired left hand that could hinder her return to top-level tennis. In retrospect, Kvitova said it's good she didn't know. "It wasn't only physically but mentally was very tough. It took me really a while to believe," she said. "It was lot of, lot of work ... a lot of recovery, treatment. You know, it was — I think that's kind of the sport life help me a lot with that. I just set up the mind that I really wanted to come back, and I just did everything." She missed the 2017 Australian Open during three months off the tour. She returned at the French Open and had a second-round exit there and at Wimbledon before a bright spot in her comeback, a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open. But that was the peak for two seasons. She was out in the first round at Melbourne Park last year and at Wimbledon, and third rounds the French and U.S. Opens. Minor setbacks, all things considered. "The mental side was there, and I really needed to be strong and not really thinking too negatively about it," said Kvitova, who is now on an 11-match winning streak. "Yeah, it's been long journey." Kvitova and Osaka have never played each other. Osaka has been watching Kvitova for a long time, though. "I've watched her play the Wimbledon finals. I know what a great player she is," Osaka said. "To have the opportunity to play her for the first time in a final of a Grand Slam is something very amazing." Osaka, whose mother is Japanese and father is from Haiti, has been a star in Japan since she beat Serena Williams in the final of the last U.S. Open. And her fan base has grown, as has her physical condition and mental strength. That was crucial when she had to come back from a set and 4-1 down against Hsieh Su-wei in the third round, when she spiked her racket in frustration. Wins over No. 13 Anastasija Sevastova, No. 6 Elina Svitolina and 2016 U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova followed. Now, she's aiming to be the first woman to win back-to-back majors since Serena Williams in 2015. "It definitely helped knowing that I won the U.S. Open," she said, "because I knew that I had the ability to win that many matches, play for that long." Both players are aiming for top-ranking with a win, and both will have plenty of support in Rod Laver Arena. Kvitova will be a sentimental favorite, particularly after her tearful on-court acknowledgment of success in her "second career" after her quarterfinal win over Australia's Ash Barty. She was asked Friday if she could sense that the crowd knew her story and was behind her. "I don't know. They are not screaming it," she said, smiling. "Hopefully I can find some of them to be on my side.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 25th, 2019

Osaka vs. Kvitova for Australian Open title, No. 1 ranking

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka never made it past the fourth round at any of the first 10 Grand Slam tournaments of her career. Now, still just 21, she's suddenly on the verge of a second consecutive major championship. And the No. 1 ranking, too. Osaka moved one victory away from adding the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected 4½ months ago at the U.S. Open, using her smooth power to produce 15 aces and groundstroke winners at will while beating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals Thursday. "I just told myself to regroup in the third set and just try as hard as I can," said Osaka, who saved four break points in the last set and finished the match with an ace at 115 mph (185 kph). "I was so scared serving second serves. I was like, 'Oh, my God. Please!" Osaka said. "Somehow, I made it. I guess that's experience." A day after erasing four match points and a 5-1 deficit in the third set to stun Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, Pliskova could not produce the same kind of comeback. Instead it is Osaka, the only Japanese woman to win a major singles title, who will face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Saturday. The winner will rise to the top of the WTA rankings for the first time; Osaka is currently No. 4, Kvitova is No. 6. In the men's semifinals, Rafael Nadal continued his relentless roll through the draw by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 at night. Nadal has not dropped a set as he bids for a second Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall. Osaka's fourth-round finish at Melbourne Park a year ago was her best showing at a major until last year's U.S. Open, where she outplayed Williams in the final. A victory over Kvitova would make Osaka the first woman to win two Slams in a row since Williams claimed four straight across the 2014-15 seasons. Two years ago, Kvitova missed the Australian Open, just weeks after her left hand was stabbed by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic. Back at her best during what she calls her "second career," Kvitova surged to a 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory against 35th-ranked American Danielle Collins after Rod Laver Arena's retractable roof was closed as the temperature soared toward 105 degrees (40 Celsius). Kvitova reached her first major final since the December 2016 knife attack that led to hours of surgery on the hand she holds her racket with — and first since winning Wimbledon for the second time in 2014. "I didn't know even if I (was) going to play tennis again," Kvitova said. "It's been a long journey." Against Collins, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia who was 0-5 at Slams until this one, Kvitova was more aggressive throughout, mixing big lefty forehands and well-timed pushes forward to the tune of a 30-9 edge in total winners. But the key to the outcome might very well have been what happened at 4-all after 35 minutes of action: That's when the decision finally was made to close the 15,000-seat stadium's cover, drawing cheers of approval from broiling spectators. Kvitova probably wanted to applaud, too. "I was happier than the fans that the roof closed," she said afterward. "I like to play indoors. It helped me a little bit." She's made clear over the years she is not a huge fan of playing in stifling heat. Not too many people truly are, of course, but Collins is OK with it and thought the roof should have stayed open. "I grew up in Florida and am used to it being really hot all the time. So I kind of embrace that very well," Collins said. "Indoor tennis is a different game. Certainly had its effect." When play resumed after a five-minute delay, it went from being completely even to tilted in Kvitova's favor. She dominated the tiebreaker and the second set to stretch her winning streak to 11 matches. Osaka, meanwhile, extended her Slam run to 13 matches while putting a stop to Pliskova's 10-0 start to the season. Osaka accumulated a 56-20 advantage in winners — and held on when it all could have slipped away. She began the day having won 58 matches in a row after taking the first set, but that seemed in danger when Pliskova broke to end the second and had three break points to go up 2-0 in the third. But Osaka steeled herself there, erasing the first break chance with a huge forehand, the second with a down-the-line backhand winner. On the third, another terrific backhand forced a forehand error into the net by Pliskova, who cracked her racket against the blue court. When Pliskova netted a return of an 83 mph (133 kph) second serve to make it 1-all, Osaka tugged at the brim of her pink visor and let out a big exhale. The match would continue for another 28 minutes, but it basically was done, then and there. That stretch began a nine-point, three-game run for Osaka, and she was on her way. She would face one last break point at 4-3, but saved it with a 108 mph (174 kph) ace......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2019

2 years after stabbing, Kvitova into Australian Open final

By Howard Fendrich, Asosciated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Two years ago, Petra Kvitova missed the Australian Open, just weeks after her racket-holding left hand was stabbed by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic. Two days from now, back at her best during what she calls her "second career," Kvitova will play for the championship at Melbourne Park. Taking control after the court's retractable roof was closed as the temperature soared toward 100 degrees (38 Celsius) Thursday, the No. 7-seeded Kvitova surged to a 7-6 (2), 6-0 semifinal victory over 35th-ranked American Danielle Collins. "It means everything," Kvitova said of reaching her first major final since the December 2016 knife attack that led to hours of surgery on her hand. Kvitova stretched her winning streak to 11 matches and has a chance to rise to No. 1 in the WTA rankings if she can collect her first Australian Open title to go alongside the two she earned at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014. In Saturday's final, Kvitova will face reigning U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka or 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova. It was Pliskova who saved four match points and came back from 5-1 down in the third set to stun Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. Against Collins, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia who was 0-5 at major tournaments until last week, Kvitova was more aggressive throughout, mixing big lefty forehands and well-timed pushes forward to the tune of a 30-9 edge in total winners. But the key to the outcome might very well have been what happened at 4-all after 35 minutes of action: That's when the decision finally was made to close the 15,000-seat stadium's cover, drawing cheers of approval from broiling spectators. Kvitova probably wanted to applaud, too. "I was happier than the fans that the roof closed," she said afterward. "I like to play indoors. It helped me a little bit." She's made clear over the years she is not a huge fan of playing in stifling heat. Not too many people truly are, of course, but someone like Collins, a 25-year-old from Florida, might be more used to that sort of thing. The match was suspended for about five minutes and when play resumed, it went from being completely even to tilted in Kvitova's favor. She dominated the tiebreaker and the second set. The chair umpire was Carlos Ramos, the official who penalized Williams a game in last year's chaotic U.S. Open final, and Collins got into a couple of testy exchanges with him. First in the tiebreaker, then in the opening game of the second set, Collins protested that Ramos was applying rules differently than umpires had in her earlier matches. Whether or not there was merit to what she was saying, it seemed clear that the back-and-forths with Ramos didn't help Collins......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2019

Keys, Pliskova advance at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Former U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys beat Australian wild-card entry Destanee Aiava 6-2, 6-2 to open play at Rod Laver Arena on Day 2 of the Australian Open. Keys broke Aiava's serve in the third game of the second set to go up 2-1, then again in the seventh game thanks in part to an Aiava double-fault and two forehand errors. Keys' best result at Melbourne Park was in 2015 when she beat Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova en route to the semifinals, where she lost to Serena Williams. She also made the quarterfinals last year, losing to 2016 champion Angelique Kerber. The now 18-year-old Aiava had the distinction of being the first male or female player born in this century to play in a main draw Grand Slam singles match when she received a wild card in 2017. She lost in the first round. Another early winner Tuesday was seventh-seeded Karolina Pliskova, who beat Czech qualifier Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-2......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2019

Ashleigh Barty into Sydney International singles final

SYDNEY (AP) — Ashleigh Barty continued her strong run at the Sydney International with a semifinal win over Kiki Bertens, beating the Dutch player 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 Friday. Barty withstood 15 aces from Bertens in the 2-hour, 18-minute match to advance to her second consecutive final in Sydney. She will play two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who beat Serbian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1, 6-2. After beating 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round, Barty has defeated No. 1 Simona Halep, the 12th-ranked Elise Mertens and Bertens. "It's amazing — it truly has been a phenomenal week of tennis," Barty said. "I feel like I've played great the whole week. I've had tough opponents every single round and I'm really excited to have another shot at the title." Italian Andreas Seppi advanced to Saturday's men's final by beating Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (3), 6-4. Seppi beat top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals and will play in his first final since June 2015 in Germany. Seppi will play the winner of the semifinal between Australian Alex de Minaur and Gilles Simon. That match was postponed by rain until Saturday morning......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2019

Nadal withdraws, Murray loses to Medvedev in Brisbane

By John Pye, Associated Press BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray lost his second-round match less than an hour after Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Brisbane International on Wednesday. Both players arrived in Australia after long injury breaks, and neither had played a competitive match since September. At least Murray completed two matches, playing on a protected ranking after an injury-interrupted 18 months, beating James Duckworth before losing to fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2. There were signs in both matches that he is still bothered by the hip problem which has derailed his last two seasons. The second-ranked Nadal had a first-round bye but withdrew on the eve of his scheduled second-round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after having an MRI on a muscle strain in his left thigh. Nadal said he would keep practicing in Brisbane until the weekend, then head to Melbourne after a brief stopover in Sydney to prepare for the Australian Open. The 32-year-old Spaniard is confident he will be fit enough to compete at the season's first major, which starts on Jan. 14 at Melbourne Park. "After analyzing everything, (doctors) say that it's a very small thing, but can become a big thing, because a strain in the muscle is dangerous," Nadal said during a news conference staged while Murray was playing Medvedev on Pat Rafter Arena. "When you increase the intensity on the muscle competing, then there is a big risk to make something bigger." Also exiting the men's draw on Wednesday where defending champion Nick Kyrgios, who lost to Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3, and third-seeded Kyle Edmund, who lost to Japanese qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-6 (6), 6-4. Second-seeded Kei Nishikori and 2017 champion Grigor Dimitrov had straight-set wins earlier to set up a quarterfinal showdown — a rematch of their final in 2017 — and fifth-seeded Milos Raonic advanced with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over Miomir Kecmanovic. Anett Kontaveit beat fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova 7-5, 7-6 (1) to advance to the women's quarterfinals, and Anastasija Sevastova set up a match against U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka when she beat Harriet Dart 6-2, 6-0. Fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova had a 7-5, 6-2 win over Marie Bouzkova, Ajla Tomljanovic beat Johanna Konta 6-2, 7-6 (2), and Donna Vekic ousted No. 6 Kiki Bertens 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5. Nadal withdrew after one match at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi before arriving this week in Australia, where he forecast another withdrawal when he said he wanted to focus on quality of his play over quantity of matches in his schedule this year. He played nine tournaments in 2018, winning five titles, including the French Open, in a season curtailed by knee and ankle injuries. "Probably I'm 100 percent in five days. And then I have plenty of time to prepare Melbourne," he said. "It's a waste to damage my body for one month if I keep playing here. After all the things that happened to me, probably I am not ready to assume that waste." Taro Daniel, a lucky loser from qualifying, will take Nadal's place in the Brisbane draw and will play Tsonga on Thursday. The absence of Nadal and Murray casts more focus on the Nishikori-Dimitrov quarterfinal match. Nishikori broke at love in the 11th game to seize momentum in a 7-5, 6-2 win over Denis Kudla in the second round. The sixth-seeded Dimitrov, who beat Nishikori in the 2017 final, had to withstand a late comeback from local favorite John Millman before winning 6-3, 6-4. He's using the quarterfinal match against Nishikori as a barometer for where his preparations stand for the Australian Open. "It's great. I mean it's right off the blocks," Dimitrov said. "It's perfect to play a match like that to kind of see where your game is at.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2019

Federer wins, Serena loses in Cincy tourney

MASON, Ohio (AP) — Roger Federer made a successful return to the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday. The day wasn't so great for Serena Williams. Federer advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Peter Gojowczyk, and Williams was eliminated by eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss. Federer and Williams were making their first appearance at the tournament since they each won the title in 2015. Williams opened with a straight-set victory against Daria Gavrilova. After a first-round bye, Federer extended his Cincinnati winning streak to 11 matches since losing to Rafael Nadal in the 2013 quarterfinals. "It doesn't feel like I have been away for so long here from Cincinnati," Federer said. "I guess the wheel keeps turning. It's not like I missed two years of tennis. It was a great pleasure to be back." The second-seeded Federer, refreshed from a month off after losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, became the tournament favorite when Nadal withdrew on Sunday night. Williams also was knocked out in her last tournament at San Jose two weeks ago after reaching the Wimbledon final. Cincinnati was her fifth tournament since she had a baby last September. She has dealt with blood clots and recently said she has been struggling with postpartum emotions. "You know, this is a long comeback," she said. "I just began. I just started — definitely at the very, very beginning. I'm getting there, and I'm going to just continue to work hard, and hopefully, I'll start winning more matches." Karolina Pliskova and Nick Kyrgios also advanced Tuesday in early tournament action. Pliskova moved into the second round by snapping a seven-match losing streak against Agnieszka Radwanska with a 6-3, 6-3 win. "It means a lot because it was against her, and, like, you know, I never beat her," Pliskova said. "We played so many times. I think I always played her at her best level the matches before, so it was always tough." Kyrgios, a finalist last year in Cincinnati, overcame physical problems to fight off qualifier Denis Kudla for a 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-6 (9) victory. "This year has been tough," Kyrgios said. "I started the year very well. Then, obviously, I hurt my elbow. Then I had an ongoing hip injury. We have been definitely thinking about the options with my hip. You know, there is only so much you can do before you have to, you know, I guess, get surgery or something like that. You know, right now I'm just managing it." No. 11 seed David Goffin advanced with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Leonardo Mayer became the first player to reach the third round on the men's side with a 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory over 16th-seeded Lucas Pouille. Denis Shapovalov also reached the third round with an upset, knocking off 14th-seeded Kyle Edmund, 6-4, 7-5. Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung won the last five games to beat Jack Sock 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Sock has lost eight straight matches since winning in Rome on May 13. Two-time Cincinnati semifinalist Milos Raonic advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over qualifier Dusan Lajovic. Robin Haase also made it to the second round, defeating Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina was tested by wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova before reaching the third round with a gritty 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4 win. Sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia also reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-5 win over wild card Victoria Azarenka, but 12th-seeded Daria Kasatkina suffered a first-round upset at the hands of qualifier Petra Martic, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Elise Mertens scored a 6-4, 6-2 first-round win over Magdalena Rybarikova. Ashleigh Barty stopped wild card Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 7-5. Maria Sakkari upset Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka 6-3, 7-6 (8). Ekaterina Makarova cruised past qualifier Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-2......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 15th, 2018

Wawrinka has his fitness back - now he needs confidence

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — The good news for Stan Wawrinka is that he finally feels physically fit again following surgery on his left knee. The challenge now for the three-time Grand Slam champion is regaining his confidence and fluidity of movement on the court. Playing his first match in three months, Wawrinka was more pleased than upset despite losing to 55th-ranked Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4 Sunday in the first round of the Italian Open. "My level is really high, better than what I expected," Wawrinka said, adding that he returned to proper on-court training only 12 days ago. "I'm happy with physically where I am right now." Wawrinka committed 30 unforced errors to his American opponent's 17, was broken once in each set and failed to take advantage of his only two break opportunities. "I was nervous during the match. A lot of hesitation with my game, with my movement and everything. Quite tight with my body. And that's going to make a big difference, especially for me, the way I move and the way I play," said Wawrinka, who draws enormous power from his robust frame. "Even with that, it was a tough match. One, two points could have changed the match." Wawrinka was operated on in August — twice — and returned in January at the Australian Open, where he was eliminated in the second round by Tennys Sandgren. "When I came back in Australia, it was quite clear that I wasn't ready at all," the Swiss player said. "I wasn't at my top physically." Wawrinka then retired from a match against 193rd-ranked Ilya Ivashka in Marseille, France, in February, citing a left knee injury — and hadn't played since. "I wanted just to play a few tournaments to test the knee," he added. "I was positive to see that the knee was doing OK. But I knew I needed a lot of time to work on my fitness. "And that's what I did when I stopped after Marseille. I went back to doing fitness almost every day for like three months. ... It was some tough weeks." Magnus Norman has returned as Wawrinka's coach after leaving the Swiss player's staff in October — to Wawrinka's dismay at the time. "He's going to keep working with me, hopefully the full year," Wawrinka said. "I still have a lot of work to do. I still need a lot of time, play matches, keep trying to play week after week to find the confidence back." Three other Americans were also in action on the Foro Italico's red clay. Twelfth-seeded Sam Querrey was eliminated by Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 6-2, 7-6 (7); 13th-seeded Jack Sock beat Spanish veteran David Ferrer 6-3, 6-4; and Ryan Harrison eliminated Yuichi Sugita of Japan 7-6 (5), 6-3. Also, Italian wild card Lorenzo Sonego had strong fan support as he came back from a set down to defeat Adrian Mannarino 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Meanwhile, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova withdrew from the tournament citing a muscular injury that occurred during a grueling three-set win over Kiki Bertens in Saturday's Madrid Open final — her second title in two weeks after also taking the Prague Open. "After these incredible two weeks of tennis my body needs to rest and recuperate," Kvitova said. The women's tournament at the Foro Italico starts Monday. It's the last Masters 100 event before the May 27-June 10 French Open — a tournament that Wawrinka won in 2015......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2018

Zverev beats Thiem to win Madrid Open

MADRID (AP) — Second-seeded Alexander Zverev eased past fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4 to win the Madrid Open on Sunday, claiming his second title in a week. The German broke Thiem's opening service games in each set and didn't give his Austrian rival a single break chance to win in 1 hour, 19 minutes. Zverev won his eighth career title and second of the season after also winning the Munich Open last weekend. "It is unbelievable," Zverev said. "This is my third Masters 1000 and I am only 21 years old. It has been an amazing journey." Zverev dominated the entire week in the Spanish capital, not losing a single set en route to victory. Thiem lost his second consecutive final at the Caja Magica. He avenged last year's final loss to Rafael Nadal by beating him in Friday's quarterfinals for the Spaniard's first clay-court loss in a year. Zverev started strongly when Thiem conceded his first service game with a costly double fault. Serving to close out the first set, Zverev trailed 0-30 but used his big serve to force deuce and finally closed out the point when Thiem's return sailed long. Zverev started the second set in similar fashion, hitting a deep forehand that Thiem could only send into the net on the final point of his service game to fall behind a break. It was Zverev's second win in six meetings with Thiem. On Saturday, Petra Kvitova beat Kiki Bertens in three sets to win the women's title......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2018

Venus, Halep win, Wozniacki upset at Indian Wells

By Beth Harris, Associated Press INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Venus Williams defeated Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 7-6 (8), 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday as the oldest woman in the draw. The 37-year-old American was coming off a straight-set victory over younger sister Serena a night earlier, ending a three-match skid against her sibling. "It was a quick turnaround from last night when it feels like, 'Hey, this is a final to you're only in the fourth round,'" Williams said on court. Playing under cloudy skies in 80-degree heat, Williams had her hands full with Sevastova, who used drop shots, top spin, lobs and jerked her 10-years-older opponent side to side. "There were some points where she just played and it was too good," Williams said. "I thought I was in control of the point and winning the point, and she turned it around. It's just real talent." After early losses in her first two tournaments of the year, Williams hasn't dropped a set at Indian Wells, where she has yet to reach the final in six previous appearances. Awaiting Williams in the quarterfinals is 27th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who beat American wild card Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-4. Simona Halep is on track to retain her No. 1 world ranking after defeating Wang Qiang of China 7-5, 6-1 in the fourth round. Halep is the only former Indian Wells winner left in the women's draw after No. 20 Daria Kasatkina upset No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 7-5. Wozniacki blew a 3-0 lead in the first set and was on the run most of the match before losing for the second time this year to the 20-year-old Russian. "She outsmarted me," Wozniacki said. By reaching the quarterfinals, Kasatkina is projected to surpass her career-best ranking of 17th. She has beaten all four current Grand Slam titleholders in the past year, including U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens in straight sets this week. "I'm playing best matches against the best players," Kasatkina said. "But as I say, if you want to be on the top, you have to beat the top players. So quite simple rule." Halep improved to 17-1 this year and needs only to reach the final to stay at the top. Next up for Halep is Petra Martic of Croatia, who beat Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6 (4). American teenager Amanda Anisimova's run of success ended in a 6-1, 7-6 (2) loss to No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. Anisimova, a 16-year-old wild card, won her first three WTA Tour matches at Indian Wells, beating Pauline Parmentier, No. 23 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova without dropping a set. "She's 16, so she's not scared," Pliskova said of Anisimova. "You can see she's hitting the ball without thinking. But everybody is playing like this when they are 16. I think this will change a little bit in the future, but for sure the game is good and not really any weakness. I think everything is pretty solid." Pliskova faces a quarterfinal against Naomi Osaka, who beat Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 5-7, 6-1. Halep attended Venus Williams' straight-set victory over 36-year-old sister and new mother Serena on Monday night. "I love the way that they are motivated and they are still playing at this age, Serena with the kid," Halep said. "It's a great thing what they do for sport, and it's great that tennis has them. I have many things to learn from them. That's why I'm trying just to go in to watch every time I can." On the men's side, Gael Monfils retired in the second set with a back injury trailing fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hughes Herbert 6-2, 3-1. Monfils used an eight-minute injury timeout in the second set to get his back worked on before returning to the court and getting broken in fourth game. He then walked to the net and ended the match. Herbert moved on to a fourth-round matchup with Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, who upset No. 2 seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4. Cilic won 19 of 23 points on his first serve, but failed to convert four break points against 31st-seeded Kohlschreiber, who snapped a 12-match skid against top-10 opponents. Herbert remains in contention for the $1 million bonus offered to a player who sweeps the singles and doubles titles. No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina defeated No. 29 David Ferrer of Spain 6-4, 7-6 (3) for the fifth straight time. With Cilic, Ferrer, Novak Djokovic, Monfils and John Isner all eliminated from his quarter of the draw, things are looking wide open for del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion. Top-ranked Roger Federer and del Potro are the highest seeds remaining. "I'm not thinking about that. I just want to keep winning," del Potro said. "Still far away from the final, but of course, any chance to play with Roger would be great." Del Potro's countryman, Leonardo Mayer, beat Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-1. Mayer next plays del Potro. No. 18 Sam Querrey rallied past Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-4 and will play No. 28 Feliciano Lopez of Spain. He spoiled a potential all-American quarterfinal by beating No. 8 Jack Sock 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-4. No. 32 Milos Raonic of Canada defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 and will meet Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, who beat lucky loser Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (7), 6-4......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 14th, 2018

Wozniacki falls to Kasatkina in St. Petersburg quarters

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki's lost to Daria Kasatkina 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Friday. Kasatkina came back from a break down to win the first set in a tiebreaker before speeding to a 3-0 lead over the top-ranked Wozniacki in the second set. The eighth-seeded Kasatkina, the last Russian left in the draw, will face France's Kristina Mladenovic in Saturday's semifinals. Mladenovic defeated Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 6-3. Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic continued her strong wild-card run with a 6-0, 6-2 win over French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. Kvitova's will face Julia Goerges of Germany, who defeated Russian qualifier Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6-3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 3rd, 2018

Kvitova loses to Petkovic in Australian Open 1st round

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has been beaten in the first round of the Australian Open, losing 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic. Kvitova double-faulted on match point, two points after hitting a half-court volley into the net. She had earlier saved three match points in the 10th game of the final set. Last year during the Australian Open, Kvitova was recovering from surgery to her left hand as a result of a knife attack from an assailant who broke into her home in the Czech Republic in late December, 2016. Kvitova, the 27th-seed player this year, was a semifinalist in Australia in 2012 and also made the quarterfinals in 2011......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2018

Federer joins Djokovic, Sharapova in 2nd round in Australia

By John Pye, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer picked up where he left off at the last Australian Open on a day when Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic ensured there were all kinds of successful comebacks. Defending champion Federer beating Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a night match, his first on Rod Laver Arena since clinching a career-reviving title here last year. He's been met on court after wins here previously by tennis greats Laver, John McEnroe and Jim Courier. On Tuesday night, he got something different. Comedian Will Ferrell stepped out of the crowd and, slipping into character as Ron Burgundy from the movie Anchorman, conducted the post-match interview. Six-time champion Djokovic and 2014 Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka stuck to business, returning from long injury layoffs with victories in their first matches since Wimbledon. Sharapova barely missed a beat in her first match in Melbourne since a failed doping test in 2016 resulted in a 15-month ban from tennis. One of just two former champions in the women's draw, Sharapova recovered from an early break in the second set and closed out her 6-1, 6-4 victory over Tatjana Maria with an ace at Margaret Court Arena. She celebrated by twirling, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd. "It's been a couple of years since I've been back here — obviously I wanted to enjoy the moment," the 2008 Australian Open champion and three-time runner-up said in an on-court TV interview. Former No. 1-ranked Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open winner, continued her resurgent run with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Anna-Lena Friedsam to extend her streak to 10 consecutive wins. Her ranking slid into the 20s in 2017, but she's coming back into the kind of form that won her a title in Sydney last week and makes her a strong contender at Melbourne Park. "Something is going on with Australia and me," Kerber said. "I enjoy my stay, play my best tennis." Djokovic tweaked his service motion while recovering from an injured right elbow, and used it to good effect in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Donald Young. Djokovic lost in the second round here last year, but won five of the previous six Australian Open titles. "Obviously I wanted to start with the right intensity, which I have," Djokovic said. "I played perfect tennis, like I never stopped." Wawrinka, who had six months out after surgery on his left knee, beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2). No. 4-ranked 4-Alexander Zverev and No. 7 David Goffin advanced, but No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut lost to Fernando Verdasco, a semifinalist here in 2009, and former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic lost 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Lukas Lacko. No. 13 Sam Querrey restored some order for the U.S. men with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Feliciano Lopez. Two other U.S. contenders, No. 8 Jack Sock and No. 16 John Isner, were out on opening day. Madison Keys also reversed a trend, becoming the only one of the four American women who contested the U.S. Open semifinals last September to reach the second round in Australia. Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe were all eliminated on Monday. No. 17-seeded Keys, the runner-up at the U.S. Open, had a 6-1, 7-5 win over Wang Qiang. No. 9 Johanna Konta beat Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1 and will meet another American, Bernarda Pera in the second round. The U.S. women had four wins and 14 losses in round one. No. 1-ranked Simona Halep was in serious trouble twice — having to save set points at 5-2 down in the first set, and badly twisting her left ankle early in the second — before beating 17-year-old Australian wild-card entry Destanee Aiava 7-6 (5), 6-1. Halep, who lost back-to-back first-round matches here in the previous two years, will next play Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist who beat Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-6 (5). "It's always really cool to go up against the best in the world," Bouchard said. "You use it as a measuring stick. I want to try to play my game and go out there and do some damage." Other seeded players advancing included Wimbledon champion Garbine Mugurza, No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, No. 8 Caroline Garcia, No. 16 Elena Vesnina, and No. 29 Lucie Safarova. Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova lost 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic. Sharapova was banned for after testing positive for the drug meldonium here in 2016, when she reached the quarterfinals, and finished last year ranked No. 60. The five-time major winner will next play No. 14-seeded Anastasija Sevastova, who beat her at the U.S. Open last year in her return to a Grand Slam to tournament. After returning in New York, Sharapova is confident she's prepared again for a major. "I felt like I have got a lot of things out of the way physically and emotionally and mentally last year with — there was a lot of firsts again for me, playing the first tournament, first Grand Slam, and just different feelings and what it would be routinely," she said. "But it felt pretty routine today.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2018

Halep secures top ranking, Nadal vs Kyrgios in Beijing final

em>By Sandra Harwitt, Associated Press /em> Simona Halep will take over the top ranking after reaching the China Open final on Saturday, and Rafael Nadal will play Nick Kyrgios for the men's title. Halep beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4, ensuring that when the WTA rankings are updated on Monday she will be the first women's No. 1 from Romania. Halep could have reached No. 1 earlier but was upset in the French Open final by Ostapenko in their first career meeting. 'Of course it's the best moment in my life, and I want just to keep it,' Halep said in Beijing. 'And I have a few more dreams in my career. I tell you one, only one. To win a Grand Slam.' Halep only had to reach the final this week — and not lose to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the final — to knock Garbine Muguruza from the top spot. Muguruza retired during her opening match on Monday because of a cold. Top-seeded Nadal defeated third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in the semifinals, his tour-leading 60th match win. Dimitrov's only victory against the Spaniard in 10 matches came last year in the China Open quarterfinals. On Saturday, his backhand cross-court winner secured the second set, on a second set point, on Nadal's serve in the 10th game. But Nadal took immediate control of the third set, racing to 4-0. Kyrgios didn't drop his serve in ousting second-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-3, 7-5 in the other semi. The Australian had an impressive 70 percent first-serve percentage and posted 11 aces to none for Zverev, who is normally known for his serving prowess. Nadal and Kyrgios are tied at two matches apiece in their head-to-head, but the Australian won their latest outing in August in straight sets in the Cincinnati quarterfinals. Nadal is one of three players, along with Roger Federer and Zverev, to win five titles this year. He won the China Open 12 years ago. 'It's very important for me to continue with the positive feelings after winning the U.S. Open,' Nadal said. 'To be back here and be in the final with that very tough draw I had since the beginning is a great effort.' Looking for her second title of the year after winning in Madrid, Halep will play Caroline Garcia of France in the Beijing final. Garcia beat Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5 in the second semifinal. Ostapenko entered the semis without dropping a set. But Halep dominated the first set, breaking Ostapenko's serve in the first game at love. She cemented her lead with another break in the seventh game for 5-2 to serve out the set. In the second, Halep surrendered a 3-2 lead with a service break in the sixth game, but went on to break serve again in the ninth. At 40-0 in the final game, Halep won with a clean forehand winner down the line. Garcia, who saved a match point against Svitolina, is on a 10-match winning streak. Garcia lost in straight sets to Halep in the Montreal quarterfinals in their last meeting. 'That's the kind of match I want to play, against the top players,' Garcia said of Sunday's final against Halep. 'She's a very tricky player.'   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2017

Rafael Nadal advances to quarterfinals of China Open

em>By Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press /em> BEIJING (AP) — Rafael Nadal earned his season-leading 58th victory on Thursday by beating Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the China Open. The top-ranked Spaniard, who won the French Open and U.S. Open this year, saved all six break points he faced and increased his lead over Roger Federer at the top of the rankings. Nadal will next face John Isner. The big-serving American defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-3. 'Tomorrow will be a tough one against Isner,' Nadal said. 'John is a very good player from the baseline, too. I saw him today. He played so aggressive, having a lot of success, hitting a lot of winners, returning very well.' Second-seeded Alexander Zverev also advanced to the quarterfinals, beating Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-2. The German will next play Andrey Rublev, who defeated seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych 1-6, 6-4, 6-1. In the women's tournament, Jelena Ostapenko advanced after Peng Shuai, the last Chinese player in the competition, retired from the match while trailing 3-0. Also, third-seeded Sorana Cirstea defeated fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-5, Caroline Garcia beat Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-1, and Petra Kvitova beat former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 6-4. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2017

Australian Open winner Osaka leaps to No. 1

PARIS, France – Naomi Osaka, winner of the Australian Open, has jumped to the top of women's tennis with her beaten opponent Petra Kvitova rising to 2nd in WTA rankings on Monday, January 28.  Osaka climbed 3 places after beating the Czech in Melbourne on Saturday. Kvitova moved up 4 places.  The ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 29th, 2019

Osaka edges Kvitova for Australian Open title, No. 1 ranking

By HOWARD FENDRICH,  AP Tennis Writer MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka recovered after wasting three championship points and reasserted herself down the stretch to win the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title, edging Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday night. The victory allows the 21-year-old Osaka to become the first tennis player from Japan to reach No. 1 in the rankings. Osaka held three match points in the second set at 5-3, love-40 as Kvitova served. But Osaka couldn't close it out. Instead, she completely lost her way, dropping 23 of the next 27 points. That allowed Kvitova to come back and make a match of it, reeling off five games in a row to take the second set and go up 1-0 in the third. Osaka was yelling at herself. She slammed a ball off the court. She tugged at her pink visor's brim. She headed to the locker room after the second set with a towel draped over her head. Hard as it must have been, Osaka regrouped. She also got her powerful shots going again. After Kvitova double-faulted to offer up a break point at 1-all, Osaka converted it with a cross-court backhand winner. There was still more work to be done, of course, and some additional drama when it began raining at the changeover right before Osaka tried to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third set. This time, Osaka would not falter. She would not let this lead disappear. Osaka added the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected in a U.S. Open final last September that forever will be remembered for the way runner-up Serena Williams was docked a game after arguing with the chair umpire. Unlike that day, there was no jeering from the confused crowd. No controversy. No chaos. No sharing the spotlight. Osaka is the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15 and has clearly marked herself as tennis' new star......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 26th, 2019