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Bondarenko wins Tashkent for 1st singles title in 9 years

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TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AP) Kateryna Bondarenko won her first WTA singles title in nine years Saturday after beating Timea Babos of Hungary 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Tashkent Open.

The 31-year-old Ukrainian broke once in the first set and quickly went two breaks up early in the second against Babos, who at 52nd in the world was ranked 81 places above Bondarenko.

Bondarenko’s first singles title came in 2008, when she beat Yanina Wickmayer in Birmingham, England. On her way to the final in Tashkent, Bondarenko defeated the former second-ranked Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals.

Babos was in her third final of 2017, and her second in the space of two weeks after losing to Alison Van Uytvanck in Quebec City.

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.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