Wozniacki gets first win at this year’s WTA Finals

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SINGAPORE — Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki earned her first victory at this year’s WTA Finals, beating Petra Kvitova 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 on Tuesday

Elina Svitolina earned her second straight win in the other group match, outlasting Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. The results mean all four players are still in contention to advance to the semifinals from the White Group.

Wozniacki, who became the first Danish woman to win a Grand Slam title at this year’s Australian Open, is now 1-1, while Kvitova is 0-2.

“I played much better today,” Wozniacki said on court after the match. “I returned well. I served well. Against Petra, she’s so powerful, you have to stay on your game. I just tried to stay focused and get a lot of balls back.

“I always believe in myself and when I’m out on the court I believe I’m going to win.”

Kvitova, who won the WTA Finals title in her debut appearance at the year-end tournament in 2011, was the one taking chances on Tuesday. But Wozniacki played steadier defense and waited for the Czech to make mistakes.

Kvitova finished the match with 40 winners and 40 unforced errors. Wozniacki had 19 winners and 14 unforced errors.

Wozniacki, who broke her opponent in the first and fifth games of the deciding set, took a medical timeout to have her left knee bandaged when Kvitova was leading 3-1 in the second.

Svitolina failed to serve out the match at 5-2 in the third set but converted her third match point in the next game with a forehand winner.

The most tense moment of the match came in the third game of the first set, which lasted 15 minutes and went to deuce 10 times. Svitolina finally held after saving six break points.

“Actually, I was thinking how long we are playing this game? No more,” Svitolina said, smiling. “We were both I think a little bit struggling with our nerves.”

Svitolina only needs to win a set in her last round-robin match against Wozniacki to reach the semifinals.

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.