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Nadal wins 6th title of year in Beijing; Garcia beats Halep

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Rafael Nadal beat Nick Kyrgios of Australia 6-2, 6-1 Sunday in the China Open final to win his sixth ATP title of the year, and Caroline Garcia defeated soon-to-be-No. 1 Simona Halep 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the women’s event.

Top-ranked Nadal, who was tied with Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev at five titles this season, picked up his 75th career singles trophy with the win in Beijing.

The 15th-ranked Garcia, who lost to Halep the two previous times they played, won her second consecutive WTA title. The Frenchwoman will make her top-10 debut when the new rankings come out on Monday.

The 31-year-old Nadal’s six trophies this year include a record 10th title at the French Open and a third at the U.S. Open. The last time the Spaniard won at least six titles in a year was in 2013 when he captured 10 trophies for the season.

Kyrgios started Sunday struggling with his serve and never found a confident range throughout the match. His first-serve percentage mostly languished under the 50 percent mark.

In contrast, Nadal always looked in charge and saved all four break points he faced.

Kyrgios offered Nadal eight break points in the first set with Nadal taking two service breaks.

Kyrgios didn’t make it onto the board in the second set until he was serving with Nadal already leading 5-0.

Garcia also won in straight sets.

“She played amazing tennis,” Halep said of Garcia. “She deserved to win today. She was better.”

For Halep, the loss was particularly disappointing as she was unable to back up her guaranteed debut in the No. 1 ranking on Monday. She secured the top spot on Saturday with her semifinal victory over French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Halep’s best opportunity to rebound against Garcia ended when she failed to make good on any of the nine break points she had at 3-3 in the second set.

“For sure it definitely turned the second set,” Garcia said. “This game was definitely very important.”

In the second-set tiebreaker, the unseeded Garcia jumped out to 4-1, and on a first match point at 6-3 with Halep serving, the Romanian netted a forehand. Garcia fell to her knees in celebration.

She is enjoying an 11-match winning streak, having captured her first title of the season at Wuhan last week. This is the second time she’s won a career-best 11 straight matches.

“It was such an amazing two weeks,” Garcia said. “It went so fast.”

Garcia saved a match point in her three-set quarterfinal victory over third-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

The last time Kyrgios played a No. 1 it was also against Nadal. In that 2014 Wimbledon fourth-round encounter, the then 144th-ranked Kyrgios emerged a four-set winner.

This was Nadal’s second China Open title in four trips to the final. He won his first in his Beijing debut in 2005.

Nadal leads Kyrgios 3-2 in career meetings, and 2-1 this season.

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.