Getty Images

Former champ Wozniacki advances to Pan Pacific quarterfinals

Leave a comment

TOKYO — Former champion Caroline Wozniacki outlasted fourth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4 to advance to the Pan Pacific Open quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Wozniacki won four of five break points in the nearly three-hour match at Ariake Colloseum.

“We played for such a long time and … the standard was very high,” Wozniacki said. “Luckily, I’m the one here, and I’m happy to get through.”

Wozniacki, who won the title in 2010 and reached the final in 2014, looked set for a comfortable win, but Suarez Navarro reeled off four straight games to take the second set.

A sudden rain delay at the start of the third set took the momentum away from Suarez Navarro as the Spaniard double-faulted to slip a break behind.

Wozniacki served out, and will meet either Yulia Putintseva or Magda Linette in the quarterfinals.

Second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska also faced a major challenge, but prevailed over Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Radwanska will next face Monica Puig, who rallied to upset 2013 champion Petra Kvitova 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.

The Puerto Rican, who also beat Kvitova on her way to becoming the Rio de Janeiro Olympic champion, recovered from 4-2 down in the final set. She saved 10 of 13 break points.

Japanese wild card Naomi Osaka beat sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal with either Karolina Pliskova or Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Raonic withdraws from Miami Open with hamstring injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Milos Raonic has pulled out of the Miami Open after aggravating a right hamstring injury that sidelined him for nearly a month.

The No. 3-seeded Raonic withdrew before Sunday’s match against American qualifier Jared Donaldson, who advanced to the fourth round.

Raonic said his injury became progressively worse after his opening match, his first since Feb. 25. He expects to be sidelined at least two weeks and perhaps longer.

The Canadian said he hasn’t made it through an entire tournament healthy since Wimbledon last July.

Nadal advances to start bid for first Key Biscayne

Getty Images
Leave a comment

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Rafael Nadal’s first fist pump Friday followed his second point in the Miami Open, when he kissed a forehand off the sideline to win a long rally.

He accompanied the celebratory gesture with a skip in his step and then hit the accelerator, holding every service game to beat Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-4.

Thus began Nadal’s latest bid to win Key Biscayne.

“A lot of big motivation,” he said.

He’s playing the tournament for the 13th time and has never won it, although he was the runner-up in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2014. At 0 for 12, it’s Nadal’s longest drought at any event, and perhaps the most glaring gap in the 14-time Grand Slam champion’s resume.

Does it bug him? He won’t admit to any frustration, but lets slip that he still remembers the exact score when he was two points from the title in the third set versus Novak Djokovic.

That was six years ago.

“Against Novak – 6-5, 15-30,” Nadal said. “It didn’t happen.”

The Spaniard has always enjoyed the atmosphere in Miami, where Latin fans give him enthusiastic support, and he likes the tournament’s hard courts. He’s simply overdue.

“I’m trying my best every year,” Nadal told the stadium crowd after dispatching Sela. “I’ve been very close four times. I will try to give myself another chance.”

Nadal is 15-4 this year and pleased with his play. He lost to Roger Federer in the Australian Open final, and again in the fourth round at Indian Wells last week.

Against Sela, Nadal served well, erased the only two break points he faced and overcame the occasional errant groundstroke on a windy afternoon.

“It was very difficult to find the right feelings,” Nadal said. “These kind of days, what you have to do is try to win. That’s what I did, and I’m happy with that.”

Making Nadal’s title bid easier will be the absence of six-time champion Djokovic and two-time champion Andy Murray, both out with elbow injuries.

But No. 3-seeded Milos Raonic is back. He won in his first match since Feb. 25, beating Viktor Troicki 6-3, 7-5. Raonic had been sidelined by a right leg injury.

“I’ve prepared the best I can for this tournament,” Raonic said. “I’m not necessarily in the best position right now, but fortunately it’s a long tournament. Doesn’t mean things can’t change and I can’t get better throughout this event.”

No. 2 Kei Nishikori beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3. No. 7 Marin Cilic lost to Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

In women’s play, Elena Vesnina made a quick exit only five days after winning the biggest title of her career. Seeded 13th, Vesnina lost her opening match to wild card Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Vesnina beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Indian Wells final.

In a match that took two days because of rain, No. 6 Garbine Muguruza rallied past Christina McHale 0-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4. No. 3 Simona Halep beat Naomi Osaka 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. American qualifier Taylor Townsend eliminated No. 25 Robert Vinci 6-3, 6-2.