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Top-ranked Kerber falls to Kvitova at Wuhan Open

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WUHAN, China (AP) Angelique Kerber lost her first match as the No. 1-ranked player, losing to Petra Kvitova in the third round of the Wuhan Open on Wednesday.

Kvitova saved 17 of 22 break points on her way to the 6-7 (10), 7-5, 6-4 win over Kerber, who committed eight double faults.

Kerber replaced Serena Williams atop the rankings with her run to the U.S. Open title, and took time off before coming to China to start her Asian swing in Wuhan, where she had a bye in the first round.

Kvitova last beat Kerber in the 2014 Fed Cup final, and had since lost to the German three times, including in the U.S. Open fourth round.

In the quarterfinals, Kvitova will face Johanna Konta of Britain, who beat seventh-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 7-5, 7-6 (6). Konta saved three set points in a marathon ninth game, and recovered from 6-3 down in the tiebreak.

Svetlana Kuznetsova ousted defending champion Venus Williams 6-2, 6-2.

Kuznetsova dominated Williams from the outset, breaking the American five times. She improved to 5-4 against Williams.

Williams struggled with her serve in the gusty conditions and had seven double faults.

Simona Halep of Romania also advanced past Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-3.

Halep, showing no sign of the hamstring injury that ruled her out of Tokyo last week, will face Madison Keys of the United States in the quarters. Keys beat Russian qualifier Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

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.