AP

Sakkari upsets Venus Williams to reach Silicon Valley semis

Leave a comment

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Maria Sakkari of Greece upset third-seeded Venus Williams 6-4, 7-6 (2) on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.

Sakkari came back from 0-3 in the first set and 3-5 in the second set. She advanced to face American Danielle Collins – with the winner reaching her first WTA final.

Collins, a two-time NCAA champion for Virginia, advanced after former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus retired midway through the second set due to injury.

Azarenka led 4-2 in the first set before needing a tiebreaker to win the 72-minutes set 7-6 (4). She grabbed her right leg in the opening game of the second set, lost the first three games and was evaluated by a trainer and doctor before retiring prior to the fourth game.

Fifth-seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania secured the first semifinal spot by beating Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1, 7-5. The Romanian will face No. 4 seed Elise Mertens.

Mertens, a Belgian, saved two set points in the first set, forced a tiebreak and won four straight games in the second set for a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over Johanna Konta. It’s Mertens’ fifth WTA semifinal of the year.

Osaka’s coach wins first WTA Coach of the Year award

Getty Images
Leave a comment

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Sascha Bajin has been chosen as the first winner of the WTA Coach of the Year award after helping Naomi Osaka collect the U.S. Open title.

The women’s tennis tour announced its annual honors Monday.

The first season as a team for Bajin and Osaka produced her first WTA title at Indian Wells, then her first Grand Slam title in New York, where she beat Serena Williams in the final. Bajin used to work with Williams.

Bajin tweeted that he was “speechless and turning a bit red,” adding that it’s “easy to be a good coach when you have a great student.”

Petra Kvitova was given her sixth consecutive sportsmanship award and seventh overall, while Bethanie Mattek-Sands earned the player service award.

Mike, Bob Bryan set to reunite for doubles in Auckland

Getty Images
Leave a comment

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) Mike and Bob Bryan are set to reunite as a doubles combination next month in New Zealand when the brothers begin their 21st season on the ATP Tour.

Bob Bryan has been sidelined since injuring his hip in the lead-up to the French Open, and Mike paired with fellow American Jack Sock to win the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles and the ATP Finals, taking the world No. 1 ranking on his own.

With Bob back to full fitness, the 40-year-old twins will reunite for the ASB Classic hardcourt tournament in Auckland before heading to Melbourne for the Australian Open.

The Bryan brothers have won 114 doubles titles together, more than any other pairing, and have held the No. 1 doubles ranking jointly for 438 weeks. They have won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles together and a further 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles between them, adding an Olympic gold medal in 2012.

But they have yet to win a match in Auckland.

“We are stoked to be coming back to Auckland,” the brothers said in a joint statement.”We’ve got a bit of a point to prove.

“We’ve won 114 titles together but are yet to get the W in Auckland. We’ve got to change that. Here’s hoping 2019 can be our year.”