Kuznetsova beats Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-3 in Miami Open semis

0 Comments

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Svetlana Kuznetsova is back in the Key Biscayne final 10 years after she won the tournament.

Kuznetsova erased 12 of the 14 break points she faced and beat Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-3 Thursday in the semifinals of the Miami Open.

The 30-year-old Kuznetsova’s opponent Saturday will be the winner of the semifinal Thursday night between No. 2-seeded Angelique Kerber and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, who is seeded 13th.

Kuznetsova hadn’t enjoyed much success at Key Biscayne in recent years, but she upset eight-time champion Serena Williams in the fourth round and won four consecutive three-setters to reach the semifinals. At No. 19, the Russian is the lowest-ranked women’s finalist in the event since No. 38 Kim Clijsters earned the 2005 championship.

“I’m happy I could hang in there,” Kuznetsova said. “I haven’t been feeling my best, but I’ve been fighting with every ball and trying to run as much as I could.”

If Kuznetsova wins the title, she’ll return to the top 10 for the first time since 2010. She’s already assured of surpassing $20 million in career prize money.

On a sunny, sweltering afternoon, Kuznetsova earned the first break of her semifinal in the 10th game to take the grueling, 65-minute first set. She broke three consecutive times in the second set to pull away from the No. 19-seeded Bacsinszky.

“I was playing to finish it in two sets so I have a little bit of time to rest,” Kuznetsova said.

American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, who turned 38 this week, lost in the semifinals of doubles to Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, 6-3, 6-3. The Bryans hold a record 16 Grand Slam titles but haven’t won a tournament since August.

Top-ranked Swiatek, Kvitova reach quarters at Agel Open

Getty Images
1 Comment

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Top-ranked Iga Swiatek advanced to the quarterfinals of the Agel Open after Ajla Tomljanovic retired with an injury during the second set of their second-round match on Wednesday.

The Polish U.S. Open champion was leading 7-5, 2-2 when her Australian opponent retired due to a left knee injury at the indoor hardcourt event in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava.

Swiatek, who also won the French Open in June, will next face American qualifier Catherine McNally or Karolina Muchova.

Home favorite and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova upset second-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain 7-6 (4), 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against this year’s Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina, who rallied to eliminate Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5.

Czech players also won the last two first-round matches on the schedule.

Muchova knocked out seventh-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-4, 6-4 and Barbora Krejcikova ousted American Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-2 for her sixth straight victory after she won the Tallinn Open on Sunday for her first WTA title of the year.

Djokovic near flawless to reach second round in Astana

Getty Images
0 Comments

ASTANA, Kazakhstan – Novak Djokovic delivered a near-flawless performance to ease into the second round of the Astana Open with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Cristian Garin on Wednesday as he goes for a third straight tournament title.

Djokovic dropped just six points on his serve and won the last five games to seal the win in just 62 minutes.

Djokovic is coming off a victory in Tel Aviv last week and – aside from a match at the Laver Cup – the Wimbledon champion hasn’t lost since the French Open quarterfinals.

“From the start to the end, (it was) a great performance,” Djokovic said. “Playing in a new tournament, different conditions, the first match is never easy. Obviously you are looking to see how you are going to adapt, but I did it perfectly, really, played as well as I can.”

Djokovic will next play Botic van de Zandschulp.

Top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz lost in the opening round on Tuesday in his first match since winning the U.S. Open title to capture the No. 1 spot.

Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the quarterfinals by beating 19-year-old Luca Nardi of Italy 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3). Nardi was playing just his fifth tour-level main-draw match and impressed the third-seeded Greek, who didn’t earn a single break point.

“He’s a player that can play very well in the future,” Tsitsipas said. “There weren’t any holes. I believe today he was able to sustain that level from the beginning to end, and that was extremely impressive.”

Roberto Bautista Agut also reached the quarterfinals as he followed up his first-round upset of Felix Auger-Aliassime by beating Pavel Kotov 6-1, 7-6 (5).

Marin Cilic, who lost the Tel Aviv final to Djokovic, had to come from behind to beat Oscar Otte 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round to set up a round-of-16 match against Karen Khachanov.