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Kvitova overpowers Cibulkova to win Wuhan Open

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WUHAN, China — Petra Kvitova overpowered Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-1 Saturday to win the Wuhan Open for her first title of the year.

The 14th-seeded Kvitova, who won the inaugural tournament in 2014, hit nine aces and converted six of seven break points to post her fifth win over a Top-20 player this week.

“Wuhan, it’s really one of my favorite cities,” said Kvitova, who defeated top-ranked Angelique Kerber in the third round. “It was a great crowd as well, there were some incredible matches for me and I’m really happy that I can stand here as a champion again.”

Kvitova won 17 of the first 18 points. Cibulkova managed a break in the fifth game of the first set, but it didn’t change the momentum and the second set was just as one-sided.

With the win, the Czech will move up to No. 11 in the rankings after coming into the tournament at No. 16, which was her lowest ranking since May 2011.

Kvitova, who has won at least one tournament every year since 2011, improved to 5-2 against her 10th-ranked Slovak opponent. It was the first meeting between the two players in more than two years.

Fifth-seeded Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova defeated third-seeded Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-4 to win the doubles title.

Djokovic lines up Dimitrov at Queen’s Club

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LONDON — Novak Djokovic’s first appearance at Queen’s Club in eight years was successful when he put away Australian qualifier John Millman 6-2, 6-1 on Tuesday.

Djokovic, entered as a wild card, will play second-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in the second round.

Also, Milos Raonic, runner-up to Roger Federer last week in Stuttgart, won his opener when Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri retired hurt while trailing 6-1, 3-1.

Djokovic’s comeback from right elbow surgery in January has been gathering pace after reaching the Rome semifinals and French Open quarterfinals. He leads Dimitrov 6-1 in career matchups.

Dimitrov, the 2014 Queen’s champion, struggled past Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3. Dimitrov saved six of eight break points.

Svitolina’s top ambitions survive grass-court struggle

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BIRMINGHAM, England — Elena Svitolina, who came within two wins of becoming world No. 1 in January, maintained her ambitious momentum to reach the top by surviving a tricky start to her Wimbledon build-up on Tuesday.

The second-seeded Svitolina stumbled within sight of a two-set victory, and briefly faltered again in the last set before beating Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

Svitolina showed glimpses of the tenacious movement and consistently ferocious drives which have earned her the best win-loss record on the WTA tour since the beginning of last year, but also revealed glimpses of insecurity on the lush, low-bouncing surface.

Despite carving a lead of a set and 3-1, her gradually increasing attempts to win points in the forecourt were of variable quality, while Vekic, a former runner-up here, began to contain and counterattack more effectively.

Svitolina nearly let slip another lead of 3-1, in the last set, needing to save two break points on her next service game – one with a fine serve, and the other with a net attack finished off at the third attempt.

Eventually, the Ukrainian’s determination to adapt tactically to a surface on which she has yet to progress beyond any quarterfinal paid timely dividends, and she accelerated toward the finishing line at a canter.

“I was just trying to play well and to dominate, but she played a couple of great points to break back – which is always nice to have,” said Svitolina, apparently meaning she was pleased to gain extra practice on such a technique-testing surface.

“It was difficult for me because she hit the ball very flat and the first match on grass is always a challenge.”

She next faces Alize Cornet of France, who notably beat Serena Williams at 2014 Wimbledon, and who outlasted former top-10 player Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, by 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.