Zverev hits 50 wins by beating Haase at Swiss Indoors

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BASEL, Switzerland — Alexander Zverev became the first man to reach 50 wins on the ATP Tour this season by beating Robin Haase 6-4, 7-5 Wednesday in the first round of the Swiss Indoors.

The second-seeded German moved to 50-16 in a season that has brought three titles, including the Madrid Masters.

Zverev converted all four of his break points while saving eight of the 10 held by the 47th-ranked Dutchman.

Haase used a between-the-legs lob to force a break in the second set that Zverev retrieved with his own `tweener into the net.

Third-seeded Marin Cilic now has a 1-3 record in October after losing 7-5, 7-6 (2) to the 93rd-ranked Marius Copil of Romania in a second-round match.

Taylor Fritz of the United States joined Copil in the quarterfinals by beating Swiss wild-card entry Henri Laaksonen 6-2, 7-5.

Also in the first round Wednesday, fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the 40-win mark in beating Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 7-6 (3). Tsitsipas came to Basel from winning his first career title in Stockholm on Sunday.

Jack Sock, the fifth-seeded American, was eliminated by Ernests Gulbis, 7-5, 6-4. Gulbis also beat Sock in the Stockholm quarterfinals last week.

Roberto Bautista Agut, the eighth-seeded Spaniard, advanced to the second round by beating Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3.

French players get life bans for fixing

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LONDON — Two low-ranked French players were banned from the sport for life after being found guilty of match-fixing by a hearing officer.

Jules Okala, a 25-year-old with a career-best ATP ranking of No. 338, and Mick Lescure, a 29-year-old with a top ranking of No. 487, “admitted multiple charges,” the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced.

Neither player is allowed to compete at – or even attend – any sanctioned event again.

Okala was found guilty of seven match-fixing charges and fined $15,000 in addition to the permanent suspension. Lescure was found guilty of eight charges and fined $40,000 on top of the ban.

The punishments come after both players were involved in law enforcement investigations in France and Belgium, according to the sport’s integrity agency.

Ash Barty wins Australia’s top sports award for second time

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Ash Barty’s Australian Open singles title in January was enough to ensure the former top-ranked player won Australia’s most prestigious annual sports award — despite retiring from the game less than two months later.

Barty has been given The Don Award, named after its most accomplished and famous cricketer Don Bradman.

Barty shocked the tennis world in March when she announced her retirement at the age of 25. The three-time major winner was the No. 1-ranked female player at the time of her retirement decision.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s Don Award is given to an athlete or a team “which has provided the most inspiration to the country through performance and example in the past year.”

Barty (2019, 2022) joins Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Sally Pearson (2012, 2014) and Olympic champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker (2008, 2009) as a multiple winner of the award.

Barty said she had decided before the Australian Open started that it would be her last major tournament.

“This year was certainly my most enjoyable Australian Open . . . because it felt free,” Barty said in a television interview. “I played without consequence, I played like a little kid. In my eyes, there was no pressure. It was just about me trying to redeem myself, in a way, and playing how I’d always wanted to play – go out there and play like the kid that fell in love with sport.”

Barty said she has no plans to return to tennis.

“In my mind there was never going to be a perfect ending, but it was my perfect ending,” Barty said of her retirement. “It was never about finishing on a win or on a really high emotional feeling. It was just about collectively, I felt it was right.

“Now (that decision) has led to nine months of just an incredible life off the court. It’s been amazing.”

Barty married her long-time partner Garry Kissick in late July. She also golfs frequently and is reported to be playing off a handicap of low single figures.