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Lucie Safarova wins Prague Open for 7th career WTA title

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PRAGUE (AP) Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic came from a set down to win the Prague Open, overcoming Sam Stosur of Australia 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the final on Saturday.

Safarova broke Stosur for 4-3 in the final set and served out with her 14th ace to claim her seventh WTA title, and first in 14 months. She improved her record against Stosur to 11-3.

“It was a big fight,” Safarova said. “It’s always tough against her. I was waiting for my chance and it came in the second set.”

Coming back from a bacterial infection last year, Safarova, the French Open runner-up last year, didn’t win a singles this season until this week in Prague, where she won five in a row.

In the opening set, Stosur got a break for 2-0 and held on, saving one break point at 4-2 before serving it out.

But she struggled with her serve in the remaining two sets, serving seven double faults. She didn’t look disappointed after the final.

“I still had a pretty good week,” the 2011 U.S. Open champion said.

Safarova broke Stosur to go 2-0 up in the second set after the Australian double-faulted on a break point, and got another break for 4-0 with a forehand winner.

Nadal, Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards

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LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.

The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”

Kuznetsova out of Australian Open after left wrist surgery

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.

Tennis Australia on Friday said No. 12-ranked Kuznetsova and China’s Sasai Zheng, with a right knee injury, were the only players ranked in the top 100 who are confirmed as not playing the Jan. 15-28 tournament at Melbourne Park.

Serena Williams, who was pregnant while winning the 2017 Australian Open title and gave birth to her first child in September, “is anticipated to return,” Tennis Australia said.

Williams could equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles with another win at Melbourne Park. Serena Williams’ ranking has dropped to No. 22 during her break from the tour.