Hopman Cup out, ATP Cup in for overhaul of Australia swing

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PERTH, Australia — The Hopman Cup international mixed team event is making way for the new ATP Cup at the start of the 2020 tennis season in Australia.

The International Tennis Federation on Thursday confirmed an early end to the licensing agreement with Tennis Australia for the Hopman Cup, which had been scheduled to continue in Perth until 2022.

The ITF issued a statement saying it still supported a combined men’s and women’s event after three decades of success, and was searching for a new venue.

“The ITF is committed to upholding the core values of the Hopman Cup in the future and is encouraged by the interest that has already been expressed,” ITF president David Haggerty said. “We will keep the Hopman Cup alive and look forward to successful future editions of this unique event.”

Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic combined to win the last two Hopman Cup titles for Switzerland. Serena Williams and Steffi Graf have also been among the winners of the tournament which started in 1989.

The international season usually gets into full swing in Australia in the weeks leading into the first major of the year at Melbourne Park in January.

But the introduction of the ATP Cup has meant an overhaul in Australia for next year, with Perth joining Brisbane as a co-host of the group stage of the men’s team tournament and Sydney hosting the finals.

“The ATP Cup will launch the global tennis season for the men – this is their event … and they’ve thrown their support behind it 100 percent,” Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said. “Four of the top 12 male players, and eight of the top 24, will play in Perth, with 24 teams competing across three cities – Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.”

The ATP Cup has 750 rankings points, $22 million in prize money. It will feature two singles and a doubles match in each head-to-head between countries, and will run alongside the Brisbane International, which remains a season-opening event on the women’s tour.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.