Siegemund outlasts Venus Williams at Volvo Open

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — Laura Siegemund of Germany beat Venus Williams 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-5 on Wednesday to win her second three-set match in three days and move on to the third round at the Volvo Car Open.

Down match point in the second set, Williams broke Siegemund as she served for the match and rallied to easily win the ensuing tie-breaker to set up the decisive third set. Williams was poised to complete the comeback, but Siegemund twice pulled back from a break and saved two match points as Williams served for the victory at 5-4, winning the final three games to reach the round of 16.

“I tried to keep up the pressure and tried to dominate the game as well as I could,” Siegemund said. “I think I worked my way well through the match. It was a close match, you know, it can go either way. I just tried to believe in my game, and if I was down, I told myself I was going to get more chances.”

Williams could only ponder what might have been.

“I tried my best to think this could be the best match she’ll ever play in her life, honestly,” Williams said. “I basically won the match but still lost.”

Elsewhere, Russian Daria Kasatkina outlasted Puerto Rican Olympic champion Monica Puig 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-2, and Shelby Rogers upset Madison Keys 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.

“I mean, she was all over my serve today,” Keys said. “I felt like that let me down, and I think she served well. And I feel like I just stopped doing what I should have. I feel like I did a pretty good job to get back in the first set, and I feel like I just stopped doing it. Then it kind of all slipped away from me pretty quick.”

Kasatkina, who came close to making the semifinals here last year, hit 19 winners with 18 unforced errors to finally escape after just over 2 hours on court. Puig hit more winners (25) but also had 41 errors, including on match point.

In other matches, Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko defeated Greece’s Maria Sakkari in three sets and Hungarian Fanny Stollar stunned No.4 seed Elena Vesnina, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3). Vesnina, of Russia, twice led a by a break in the opening set but struggled to convert break points. Stollar hit 13 aces to keep in front for most of the match.

Also: Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, defeated Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-4; Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, defeated Magda Linette of Poland 6-4, 6-4; Daria Gavrilova of Australia defeated American Alison Riske 6-3, 6-1; Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands defeated Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-2, 7-5; Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia defeated Mona Barthel of Germany, 6-3, 6-2; Japan’s Naomi Osaka defeated Zhang Shuai of China 6-4, 6-4; Anastasia Rodionova of Australia defeated Sara Errani of Italy 6-2, 6-2; Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, defeated Kristina Kucova of Slovakia 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6); Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States 6-3, 6-3.

Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.