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American teen Bellis upsets Radwanska in Dubai

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DUBAI – American teen Catherine “CiCi” Bellis captured her first career Top 10 win on Wednesday when she upset sixth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the third round at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

“It’s definitely, obviously, the biggest win of my career, and probably one of the best days of my life,” Bellis said.

The 17-year-old Bellis, ranked 70th, had lost her previous four matches against top 10 opponents.

Bellis is one of two teenagers in the quarterfinals with 19-year-old Ana Konjuh of Croatia beating eighth-seeded Elena Vesnina of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Bellis led 2-0 in the third set before fourth-seeded Radwanska rebounded to 2-2. The Pole faded afterward with Bellis clinching 16 of the last 22 points.

“I think in the second set she started playing a little bit better,” Bellis said. “I went off a little bit. I think I was going for a little bit too much.”

Bellis plays 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the quarterfinals.

Wozniacki lost the opening set but went on to beat Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

“She’s a great young player and has a lot of confidence,” Wozniacki said of Bellis. “Right now I’m just going to enjoy this victory and then get ready for tomorrow.”

Earlier, Angelique Kerber reached the tournament’s quarterfinals for the first time by beating Olympic champion Monica Puig 6-2, 6-3.

The top-seeded German is 3-1 against Puig, but the last time they played the Puerto Rican beat Kerber for the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“It’s always tough to play against Monica, especially after our last match,” Kerber said. “I was really not thinking too much about our final in Rio, because it was a completely totally different match than today.”

Kerber, who started the season as the No. 1-ranked player before Serena Williams won the Australian Open to reclaim the top spot, will return to the highest ranking if she wins the Dubai title this week.

Kerber saved all five break points she faced against Puig, including in the final game of the first set when she trailed 0-40. In her final service game of the second set, she recovered from 15-40 to go ahead 5-3.

“I was feeling good from the first point,” Kerber said. “I’m really happy about how I played today.”

Kerber next plays Konjuh.

Also, seventh-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine defeated Christina McHale of the United States 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

“Didn’t do my best,” Svitolina said, “but then I’m really happy that I won today.”

Svitolina will next face unseeded Lauren Davis of the United States, who beat Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Venus ready for return WTA Finals

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SINGAPORE (AP) Venus Williams returns to the year-end WTA Finals for the first time since reaching the 2009 final, and the fifth time overall, starting on Sunday in Singapore.

Williams joins top-ranked Simona Halep of Romania, second-ranked Garbine Muguruza of Spain, third-ranked Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic, fourth-ranked Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, sixth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, seventh-ranked Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and ninth-ranked Caroline Garcia of France.

They’re all pretty special,” said Williams, of her career appearances in the year-end competition. “It’s the end of the year. Only Top 8 get here. It’s definitely something well earned.”

At 37-years-old, Williams is the third oldest player to qualify for the year-end championships behind a 39-year-old Billie Jean King in 1983, and a 38-year-old Martina Navratilova in 1994.

Williams is the oldest player in this draw with 27-year-old Wozniacki the next oldest.

Having played since 1995, Williams has seen the women’s game advance, saying: “The competition is so much greater. It’s a beautiful change, in fact.”

In 2008, Williams won the WTA Finals title, going 3-0 in the round-robin, and defeating Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the final.

She was also was a semifinalist in her first two appearances in the finals, in 1999 and 2000.

Williams reached two Grand Slam finals this season at the Australian Open, where she lost to what turned out to be an already pregnant younger sister, Serena, and at Wimbledon, where she fell to Muguruza.

Every player but Garcia has a possibility of playing themselves into the year-end No. 1 ranking depending on their result this week. Williams has ranked No. 1 for 11 weeks of her career.

In the round-robin, Williams is situated in the White Group with fellow big-hitters Muguruza and Pliskova, who both ranked No. 1 at some time during this season, and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Williams opens the competition against Pliskova on Sunday. The two are tied at one match apiece in their head-to-head.

She holds a 3-2 winning record over Muguruza and is 1-0 over Ostapenko.

“I think my group is more aggressive style players in the group and the other one is more defending,” Pliskova said. “I just like to play better these players.

“I start with Venus tomorrow, so I beat her once from match point and once I lost very close match. This one is open.”

Goerges ends 6-year title wait with victory at Kremlin Cup

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MOSCOW (AP) Julia Goerges ended her six-year wait for another WTA singles title Saturday with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Daria Kasatkina in the Kremlin Cup final.

Goerges cruised to victory against her Russian opponent, who was ranked one place below her at 28th.

The German swept the first five games of the first set before Kasatkina could even get on the board.

Kasatkina put up more resistance at the start of the second, forcing three break points in Goerges’ first service game, but couldn’t convert them and was broken next game.

Goerges is now 3-7 in career singles finals, with her last title in Stuttgart in 2011. Before Saturday’s match, she had lost six straight finals, including three in the space of two months this summer.