Getty Images

Wozniacki beats Japanese teen Osaka to win Pan Pacific Open

Leave a comment

TOKYO (AP) — Caroline Wozniacki overcame injury to beat Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka 7-5, 6-3 and win the Pan Pacific Open on Sunday.

Wozniacki, who also won here in 2010, took control in the second set when she broke in the second game.

The former No. 1 led 5-0 before Osaka fought back to give home fans some hope, but Wozniacki sealed victory in the ninth game when Osaka’s return went wide.

“I just fought for every point and tried to stay aggressive and make her move,” Wozniacki said. “She fought back in the second set so I was just happy to close it out.”

Osaka – playing in her first WTA final – had led 3-1 in the first set but couldn’t sustain the momentum.

Wozniacki, who has faced ankle and wrist injuries this season, took a medical timeout midway through the first set because of a sore groin and came back with a bandaged left leg. She broke Osaka after returning and won three of the last four games of the set.

“I’m enjoying it at the moment,” said U.S. Open semifinalist Wozniacki. “Injuries happen and you never know when you can be taken out of the game, so I’m just enjoying every minute.”

The veteran’s consistency won the day, with just 16 unforced errors to Osaka’s 32. Ruthless on the crucial points, Wozniacki converted five of six break point opportunities and won an impressive 11 of 12 forays to the net.

“I’ve won a tournament every year since 2008 so I’m happy to keep that streak going,” Wozniacki said. “I’m heading to China today where I’m just going to try to continue playing well.”

Nadal doesn’t see himself skipping tournaments like Federer

AP Images
Leave a comment

MONACO (AP) For now, Rafael Nadal doesn’t see himself skipping any major tournaments the way Roger Federer has been sitting out the French Open.

The veterans are back at the top of world tennis, with Nadal needing to win the Monte Carlo Masters this week to avoid losing his top ranking once again to Federer in their seemingly eternal battle for tennis supremacy.

For the second consecutive season, the 36-year-old Federer is skipping the entire clay-court season in order to be at his best on grass.

After coming back from injury to win the Australian Open last year, Federer skipped the clay-court season, won Wimbledon, and retained his Melbourne crown to extend his record tally to 20 majors.

The Swiss star is keeping his aging body fresher by playing a bit less – avoiding Nadal on clay at Roland Garros or elsewhere – and it is working for him.

But Nadal still thinks he can play a full schedule.

“There (are) tournaments that I can’t imagine missing on purpose, because (they are) tournaments that I love to play,” Nadal said on Wednesday. “I don’t see myself missing Monte Carlo on purpose. I don’t see myself missing Wimbledon on purpose, or the U.S. Open, or Australian, or Rome. These kind of events, I don’t see missing (them).”

The 31-year-old Spaniard recently returned from a right hip injury which forced him to retire during the fifth set of his Australian Open quarterfinal against Marin Cilic.

With his 32nd birthday coming up on June 3 – during the French Open – the 16-time Grand Slam champion accepts he may think differently when he gets closer to Federer’s age.

“Of course, when you get older, you need to adjust a little bit more the efforts and the calendar. But for me (it) is difficult to say I don’t play, for example, grass, or I don’t play hard (courts),” Nadal said. “(It) is not in my plan, but I can’t say `never’ because I cannot predict what’s going to be in the future.”

Nadal is chasing an 11th title at both Monte Carlo and Roland Garros, which begins on May 27.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Jerome Pugmire on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jeromepugmire

Thiem reaches third round at Monte Carlo

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MONACO — Dominic Thiem saved a match point and beat Andrey Rublev of Russia 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.

Rublev was serving for the match at 5-4, 40-30 but hit a forehand narrowly wide. Fifth-seeded Thiem broke him with backhand pass down the line and held for 6-5.

The Austrian was 15-40 up on Rublev’s serve and clinched victory on his first match point, when Rublev double-faulted with a weak serve into the net.

“I was 10 centimeters from being out of the tournament,” a relieved Thiem said. “But I’m happy that I played two hours and 40 (minutes).”

Thiem has reached the French Open semifinals for the past two years. He next meets 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric of Croatia, who play their second-round match on Wednesday.

“I’m looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV, and then playing the winner on Thursday,” Thiem said.

In the second round later Tuesday, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria faced Pierre-Hugues Herbert and seventh-seeded Lucas Pouille played Mischa Zverev.

In remaining first-round play, there were wins for Gilles Simon of France, Marco Cecchinato of Italy and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.