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.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.