WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Whitney Osuigwe, a 16-year-old from Florida, has earned an Australian Open wild-card berth from the U.S. Tennis Association.
Osuigwe clinched a spot in the field at next year’s first Grand Slam tournament by faring the best in recent lower-level tournaments, including a title at a USTA Pro Circuit event in Tyler, Texas.
She played in the main draw at a major championship for the first time at the 2018 U.S. Open, gaining entrance by winning the USTA 18s national title.
Jack Sock earned the USTA’s wild card for men at the Australian Open, although he could get into the field via direct entry because he is currently ranked 106th. With the next two men in the USTA standings, 98th-ranked Reilly Opelka and 77th-ranked Bradley Klahn, expected to automatically qualify to play in Melbourne, the USTA said Monday that its men’s wild card could wind up with Tommy Paul, who is ranked 205th.
The Australian Open starts on Jan. 14.
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.
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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.