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Sasnovich upsets 3rd seed Pliskova at Pan Pacific Open

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TOKYO (AP) Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus produced the biggest upset of the Pan Pacific Open on Thursday, ousting third-seeded Karolina Pliskova in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinals.

Sasnovich beat the U.S. Open finalist 6-4, 6-2 for her first win over a top-10 player. She will face local favorite Naomi Osaka in the last eight.

“I was expecting now to be going to Wuhan for the next tournament because I know Karolina is a really good player and I didn’t expect to win today,” Sasnovich said. “But, you know, it’s life and it’s tennis. The ball is round.”

Top-seeded Garbine Muguruza also advanced with a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win over Anastasija Sevastova.

Also, Magda Linette saved two match points to defeat Yulia Putintseva 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.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