Djokovic beats Polansky; Del Potro withdraws from Rogers Cup

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TORONTO — Four-time champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the third round of the Rogers Cup on Wednesday, defeating Canadian wild card Peter Polansky 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic, coming off his fourth Wimbledon title last month, fired seven aces and never faced a break point in the 1-hour, 25-minute match.

A former world No. 1, Djokovic is seeded ninth at the Toronto tournament. He last won the Rogers Cup in 2016.

It was only the second time the two veteran players had met and the first in nine years. Djokovic beat Polansky at a Rogers Cup in 2009.

Heavy morning rain delayed the match by about an hour. Milos Raonic of Canada was scheduled to follow Djokovic’s win on center court, but that match was delayed by rain. Top seed Rafael Nadal of Spain had the prime court to open the evening session.

Earlier Wednesday, tournament officials announced that Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina had withdrawn from the Rogers Cup with a left wrist injury.

“Sorry to my fans in Toronto, but I have to pull out of the tournament since my left wrist needs some days of rest,” Del Potro said in a tweet.

Del Potro, who had a bye in the first round, was set to play Robin Haase of the Netherlands on Wednesday. Haase instead faced Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny, who pulled out of his second-round qualifying match on Sunday.

Polansky, a 30-year-old from nearby Thornhill, Ontario, reached a career-high No. 110 in June but entered the week at No. 121.

“I thought it went really well out there,” said Polansky, who’s never made it past the second round of a Rogers Cup. “6-3, 6-4, (it was) probably a little closer than the score line said. I’ll take it as a good experience and look forward to the next event.”

Canada’s Daniel Nestor, the oldest player at the tournament at 45, was scheduled to play a first-round doubles match in the late afternoon. Nestor is retiring following the Davis Cup in September. He will have played in 30 Rogers Cups since his first as a 16-year-old wild card in 1989.

Sonego beats Bublik at Moselle Open to win 1st title of 2022

Winston-Salem Open - Day 5
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METZ, France – Lorenzo Sonego clinched his first title of the season by beating Alexander Bublik 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the Moselle Open final on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Italian did not drop a set all tournament as he won the third title of his career and first on hard courts.

The unseeded Sonego recovered from 0-40 down in the fifth game of the match and secured victory when the seventh-seeded Bublik sent a backhand return long.

He then danced on court as he celebrated a perfect tournament where he also beat defending champion Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals.

Sonego’s win will move him up 21 places in the ATP rankings and into 44th place.

Samsonova beats Zheng to win 3rd WTA title in 2 months

Toray Pan Pacific Open - Day Seven
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TOKYO – Liudmila Samsonova of Russia extended a remarkable summer run by clinching her third title in two months after beating rising Chinese player Zheng Qinwen 7-5, 7-5 at the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Sunday.

No. 30-ranked Samsonova won in Washington and Cleveland in August and also reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open. The 23-year-old has now won 18 of her last 19 matches and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo.

“It’s amazing. I think I need a little bit of time to realize it, but it’s unbelievable,” Samsonova said. “It was like a nervous match today. I was really prepared physically but I was tired mentally because I was playing singles and doubles every day. I’m very happy with the way I managed the pressure.”

Samsonova added that the exclusion of Russian players from Wimbledon had helped her game though she stopped short of supporting the move.

“Wimbledon for me is the best tournament. I love it. The news really impacted me. I had one month without a tournament so I thought let’s work,” she said, adding: “I don’t agree that politics should be involved in sports because it’s unfair.”

The match between two power hitters with big serves was close throughout but Samsonova was striking the ball cleaner and stronger.

Zheng, who ousted top-seeded Paula Badosa and No. 4-seeded Veronika Kudermetova, was broken in the first set after giving up her first double fault on deuce in the 11th game.

Samsonova, who defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the first round and former world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals, then sent a perfect forehand that landed in the right-hand corner of the court to break the 19-year-old and go 6-5 up. She took the first set with another strong service game that included her third ace.

Zheng was the first to crack in the second set when she handed Samsonova free points with two double-faults in the fifth game. A double-fault by the Russian saw her drop to 0-40 in the next game and the No. 36-ranked Chinese broke back to level at 3-3.

As in the first set, Zheng was broken in the 11th game. A long forehand at deuce gave Samsonova a breakpoint and she converted it with a crosscourt forehand that sent her opponent the wrong way. Samsonova then won her next game to love after three errors by Zheng, clinching the match 7-5, 7-5.

Samsonova has now won all of the finals she has appeared in.

In reaching the final, Zheng became the youngest Chinese finalist at a tour-level event, beating the mark set by Peng Shuai.