Petra Kvitova loses to Donna Vekic in St. Petersburg

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova struggled with her serve and was eliminated from the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Friday after losing to eighth-seeded Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

The second-ranked Kvitova landed only 48 percent of her first serves, double-faulted six times and was broken five times.

Kvitova, the defending St. Petersburg champion who lost to Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open final, was playing in her 14th match in 24 days. It was Vekic’s fifth match in that time.

Vekic will next face either third-seeded Daria Kasatkina or Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals.

Fourth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka reached the semifinals by beating Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-4. She will next play either Kiki Bertens or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.