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Wozniacki beats Sabalenka for second Eastbourne title

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EASTBOURNE, England — Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki won the Eastbourne International final for the second time on Saturday, beating Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in straight sets for her 29th career title.

Wozniacki, who was runner-up last year, triumphed 7-5, 7-6 (5) in just under two hours, sealing the match with a backhand down the line.

Second-ranked Wozniacki was made to work by No. 45 Sabalenka, and had to save two set points in the opening set.

Wozniacki also had to recover from a break down in both sets before securing a repeat of her 2009 success.

The Danish player struggled at the beginning, saving four break points in the first game, but Sabalenka managed to break to love at her next opportunity.

Although Wozniacki broke straight back, she immediately dropped her serve again to hand Sabalenka the initiative.

But Wozniacki saved two set points and broke again when Sabalenka was serving for the set. That changed the dynamic and Wozniacki held serve before breaking to love and securing the set with a backhand.

There were another three breaks of serve at the start of the second set as Sabalenka took an early lead but Wozniacki broke back again in the sixth game to level.

Sabalenka broke again to leave her serving for the set but Wozniacki broke back to love.

The two went toe-to-toe until the tiebreaker where Sabalenka went 5-2 up but Wozniacki reeled off five successive points to triumph.

Lukas Lacko plays Mischa Zverev in the men’s final later.

Osaka opens clay campaign by beating Hsieh in Stuttgart

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STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Top-ranked Naomi Osaka opened her clay-court season by beating Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan 6-4, 6-3, on Thursday to reach the Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinals.

Osaka hit 22 winners and converted three of her six break points to seal the win in 1 hour, 24 minutes and set up a meeting with Donna Vekic of Croatia.

After saving two break points early, it was an unusually smooth victory for Osaka over Hsieh. She needed three sets to get past the Taiwanese veteran en route to her Australian Open victory and then lost to her at the Miami Open last month.

“I felt like this surface is more suited for me (than Hsieh),” Osaka said. “I was sort of in my plan. So, I just felt like I executed what I was trying to do.”

Two-time Stuttgart champion Angelique Kerber also advanced by beating fellow German Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-4. The fifth-seeded Kerber saved two break points to hold for 2-2 in the first set and then reeled off the next four games to take control. She then earned a decisive break for 4-3 in the second before closing out the win with her fourth match point.

Kerber will face sixth-seeded Kiki Bertens, who served 20 aces to rally for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Belinda Bencic.

No. 7 Anastasija Sevastova also advanced by beating former champion Laura Siegemund of Germany 6-4, 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal against Petra Kvitova, who advanced on Wednesday.

Vekic dispatched Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, 6-1, 7-5, earlier on Thursday.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Nadal rallies to beat Mayer in Barcelona Open

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BARCELONA, Spain – Rafael Nadal recovered from a slow start to defeat Leonard Mayer 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2 and advance to the third round of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday, keeping alive his streak of never losing consecutive matches on clay.

The second-ranked Nadal was coming off defeat to Fabio Fognini in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Open.

An 11-time champion in Barcelona, Nadal will next play fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. The 37-year-old Ferrer, who is playing in Barcelona for the last time, defeated Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-1 in his second-round match.

The top-seeded Nadal squandered two set points after exchanging breaks late in the first set. He rebounded quickly by breaking Mayer’s serve in the first game of the second set, then cruised to victory against the 63rd-ranked Argentine.

Fognini won’t be able to add to his Monte Carlo win after withdrawing from the Barcelona tournament because of a hamstring injury. He was replaced by 104th-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena, who opened with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2 win over Nicola Kuhn.

Seventh-seeded Daniil Medvedev reached the third round by defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, while American Mackenzie McDonald advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over 11th-seeded Gilles Simon.