Stosur loses in first round at Brisbane; Murray nears return

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BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Australian Samantha Stosur’s year ended on a sour note after she was bundled out of her home state tournament by Brisbane International seventh seed Anastasija Sevastova on Sunday.

The former US Open champion and French open finalist had opportunities against her 27-year-old Latvian opponent in the first set, but was completely outplayed by Sevastova in the second set to be eliminated 6-1 6-3 in the first round.

It wasn’t a good day for French world No.8 Caroline Garcia either, after she retired in her first round match against compatriot Alize Cornet.

The fourth seed started brightly to take the first set 6-3, but Cornet rallied to claim the second and force a deciding set.

Garcia then took an injury time-out for treatment on her lower back and played just one point in the final set before retiring.

Cornet will next play Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the second round after the Croatian beat Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.

Serbian Aleksandra Krunic beat Carinna Witthhoeft of Germany 7-5, 7-6 (2) to set up a second round clash with Spanish top seed Garbine Murguruza.

In the men’s draw Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine beat sixth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Meanwhile, former world No.1 Andy Murray continued his return from a hip injury with a practice session in Brisbane on Sunday as he prepares for his first competitive match since July. That comeback match will be against either American Ryan Harrison or Leonardo Mayer of Argentina in the second round on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

“I just want to enjoy playing again, I really missed it,” Murray said on Sunday. “I want to play tennis… I don’t mind if it’s 30 in the world level – I’d love it to be number one in the world level – I just want to play.”

“When that’s taken away from you, you realize how important it is.”

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.

Sorribes Tormo beats 2nd-seeded Trevisan at Parma Open

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PARMA, Italy — Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-seeded Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the opening round of the Parma Ladies Open – marking the third consecutive first-round loss for this year’s French Open semifinalist.

Third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu advanced when Viktoriya Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.

Danka Kovinic beat Oceane Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Also on the red clay courts, Mayar Sherif of Egypt eliminated fifth-seeded Anna Bondar 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated seventh-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by beating Romanian qualifier Gabriela Lee 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.