Kyrgios beats Harrison to win Brisbane International title

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BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Nick Kyrgios won an ATP title on home soil for the first time with a commanding 6-4, 6-2 victory over Ryan Harrison at the Brisbane International on Sunday night.

It was a fourth title for the enigmatic 22-year-old Australian, and his first since 2016.

Harrison had five breakpoint chances in the first set but couldn’t convert, and third-seeded Kyrgios bounced back to get the decisive break in the seventh game and took control with a mix of unorthodox shot-making and pure power on his serve.

He closed with his 17th ace.

“It’s a good feeling. As the week went on, I started serving better and hitting the ball better,” Kyrgios said. “There was pressure on me today because I was the favorite and most people expected me to win, so I was proud of the way I handled that expectation and pressure.”

Kyrgios had trouble with his left knee during the tournament, and needed to change the tape on the joint late in the first set of the final. After that, he appeared to move more freely and didn’t expect it to trouble him at the Australian Open beginning Jan. 15.

His best run at an Australian Open was a quarterfinal exit in 2015. Kyrgios is hoping to improve on that after a confidence-boosting performance in Brisbane, where he beat defending champion and No. 3-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals.

“For me, that’s just confidence not only mentally but physically as well, and battling and fighting hard,” he said. “It’s good to see the work I was doing in the offseason is paying off. But pretty happy with my performance today.”

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.