Murray beats Ramos-Vinolas to reach Barcelona semifinals

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BARCELONA, Spain — Andy Murray came from behind to beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to reach the Barcelona Open semifinals on Friday.

Ramos-Vinolas had chances to beat Murray for the second straight time, but the top-ranked British player controlled the decisive points to close out the match in three hours.

The 19th-ranked Ramos-Vinolas eliminated Murray in the third round at the Monte Carlo Masters last week before eventually losing to Rafael Nadal in the final.

Murray will next face fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria, who defeated lucky loser Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-1, 6-2.

Murray comfortably won the final-set tiebreaker from a 4-0 lead, but he only got there after saving seven break points and converting all three he had against Ramos-Vinolas.

The Spaniard broke at 4-4 in the decisive set but failed to serve out the match. In the second set, Ramos-Vinolas squandered two break points at 3-3, and three at 4-4.

Losing to Ramos-Vinolas at Monte Carlo prompted Murray to enter Barcelona. He’s out to regain his form for the French Open following a right elbow injury.

Thiem was broken in the beginning of both sets but powered his way to victory against Sugita, who was coming off wins against Tommy Robredo, Richard Gasquet, and Pablo Carreno Busta.

“I knew he was in great shape after beating three great players before me,” Thiem said. “My game plan was to take him out of his comfort zone. I sliced a lot and tried to play with high spin.”

Thiem won the Rio de Janeiro title this year.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.