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Siegemund outlasts Venus Williams at Volvo Open

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — Laura Siegemund of Germany beat Venus Williams 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-5 on Wednesday to win her second three-set match in three days and move on to the third round at the Volvo Car Open.

Down match point in the second set, Williams broke Siegemund as she served for the match and rallied to easily win the ensuing tie-breaker to set up the decisive third set. Williams was poised to complete the comeback, but Siegemund twice pulled back from a break and saved two match points as Williams served for the victory at 5-4, winning the final three games to reach the round of 16.

“I tried to keep up the pressure and tried to dominate the game as well as I could,” Siegemund said. “I think I worked my way well through the match. It was a close match, you know, it can go either way. I just tried to believe in my game, and if I was down, I told myself I was going to get more chances.”

Williams could only ponder what might have been.

“I tried my best to think this could be the best match she’ll ever play in her life, honestly,” Williams said. “I basically won the match but still lost.”

Elsewhere, Russian Daria Kasatkina outlasted Puerto Rican Olympic champion Monica Puig 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-2, and Shelby Rogers upset Madison Keys 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.

“I mean, she was all over my serve today,” Keys said. “I felt like that let me down, and I think she served well. And I feel like I just stopped doing what I should have. I feel like I did a pretty good job to get back in the first set, and I feel like I just stopped doing it. Then it kind of all slipped away from me pretty quick.”

Kasatkina, who came close to making the semifinals here last year, hit 19 winners with 18 unforced errors to finally escape after just over 2 hours on court. Puig hit more winners (25) but also had 41 errors, including on match point.

In other matches, Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko defeated Greece’s Maria Sakkari in three sets and Hungarian Fanny Stollar stunned No.4 seed Elena Vesnina, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3). Vesnina, of Russia, twice led a by a break in the opening set but struggled to convert break points. Stollar hit 13 aces to keep in front for most of the match.

Also: Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, defeated Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-4; Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, defeated Magda Linette of Poland 6-4, 6-4; Daria Gavrilova of Australia defeated American Alison Riske 6-3, 6-1; Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands defeated Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-2, 7-5; Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia defeated Mona Barthel of Germany, 6-3, 6-2; Japan’s Naomi Osaka defeated Zhang Shuai of China 6-4, 6-4; Anastasia Rodionova of Australia defeated Sara Errani of Italy 6-2, 6-2; Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, defeated Kristina Kucova of Slovakia 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6); Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States 6-3, 6-3.

Sharapova loses to Rybarikova at Kremlin Cup

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MOSCOW (AP) Maria Sharapova was beaten by Magdalena Rybarikova 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday, ending her bid for a second title in two weeks.

Sharapova, who won the Tianjin Open two days ago, brought her usual power but lacked accuracy with some wild swings on key points.

“I felt fine physically, to be honest, especially after having played five matches in five days (in Tianjin). That was a big surprise,” Sharapova said. “Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been … Maybe if this tournament hadn’t been in Moscow, I wouldn’t have played it.”

Sharapova was under pressure on serve from the start and saved six break points before finally being broken to 6-5. She responded by breaking Rybarikova, but Sharapova’s double fault at 4-3 in the tiebreaker handed the Slovakian the momentum to close out the set.

Rybarikova, seeded eighth, sealed the match after saving two break points to lead 5-4, then breaking Sharapova in the next game. Rybarikova will play Alize Cornet in the second round.

Six months after she returned from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova is still trying to move back up the rankings from her current position of 57th. Her first tour appearance in Moscow in a decade drew a large and enthusiastic crowd despite taking place on a Tuesday afternoon.

Also Tuesday, seventh-seeded Julia Goerges beat Russian qualifier Polina Monova 6-0, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.

In the men’s Kremlin Cup tournament, sixth-seeded Damir Dzumhur defeated Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

Maria Sharapova wins her 1st title since doping ban

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TIANJIN, China (AP) Maria Sharapova won her first WTA title since returning from a doping ban after defeating Aryna Sabalenka to win the Tianjin Open on Sunday.

The Russian, a tournament wild card, overcame Belarusian teenager Sabalenka 7-5, 7-6 (8) despite trailing heavily in both sets.

Sharapova last won a title at the Italian Open in May 2015.

The former top-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open, tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open in January 2016. That led to a 15-month doping ban, which expired in April.

“Such a special, special tournament, and victory for me, one that I’ll remember forever,” Sharapova said. “Sometimes you never know when it will all come together but it happened to me this week in Tianjin.”

Sharapova displayed resilience as she came from behind in both sets to overcome her 19-year-old opponent.

Sabalenka led 4-1 in the opener and 5-1 in the second before relenting to Sharapova’s greater big-match experience. It was Sharapova’s 36th WTA singles title.

The 30-year-old Sharapova played in her first Grand Slam tournament following the ban at the U.S. Open in August, where she reached the fourth round. Sunday’s result will lift Sharapova up to No. 57 in the world rankings.