TOKYO — Top-seeded Marin Cilic advanced to the second round of the Japan Open on Monday by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2.
Cilic, who is aiming for his first Japan Open title after reaching the 2016 semifinals and the 2015 quarterfinals, had eight aces and won 24 of his 29 first-service points.
“He (Tsitsipas) is a great player and we had a very high level of tennis,” said Cilic, who turned 29 on Thursday. “I’m glad to be in the second (round).”
The Croat’s next opponent will be either Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan or Croatian qualifier Franko Skugor.
Also, fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson beat Gilles Simon 6-2, 7-6 (6) and Adrian Mannarino beat Japanese wild-card entry Go Soeda 7-5, 7-6 (3).
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.”
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.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.