Nadal to face Mayer in Barcelona Open

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BARCELONA, Spain — Defending champion Rafael Nadal will face Leonardo Mayer in his first match at the Barcelona Open.

Mayer defeated Marius Copil 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-5 in the first round on Monday. The 63rd-ranked Argentine saved all five break points he faced in a match lasting more than two and a half hours.

Second-ranked Nadal, an 11-time winner in Barcelona, opens play at the clay-court tournament on Wednesday after a first-round bye. He is coming off a loss to Fabio Fognini in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters.

“My personal opinion is that I played one of the worst matches on clay,” Nadal said in Barcelona. “It’s a reality. There is no need to hide it. What has happened has happened.”

Fognini, the champion in Monte Carlo, will play either Nicola Kuhn or Federico Delbonis, who meet on Tuesday.

Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who had to go through qualifying after missing the deadline to enter the main draw, defeated Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. He will play third-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria on Tuesday.

In other results on Monday, Fernando Verdasco defeated wild card Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-3 in an all-Spanish match, Mackenzie McDonald of the U.S. beat Taro Daniel of Japan 6-2, 6-2, and Taylor Fritz got past Reilly Opelka 6-3, 6-4 in a meeting of Americans.

Nishioka beats Shapovalov to win Korean Open

2022 US Open - Day 1
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SEOUL, South Korea – Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka claimed his second career title after beating fourth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada 6-4, 7-6 (5) to win the Korean Open.

The 27-year-old Japanese, who beat top seed and world No.2 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals, was impressive in defense and his counter-punching style eventually wore down his higher ranked opponent in just under two hours at the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center.

The unseeded Nishioka, appearing in his second championship match this year after reaching the Washington final in August, started the brighter and found his rhythm early to claim the first set.

The second set saw momentum change as Shapavolov found his range from the backcourt to take a 3-1 lead. But Nishioka rallied to take the set into a tiebreak where he held firm to win his first tournament since his maiden title at the Shenzen Open in 2018 – where he also beat Shapovalov in their only previous meeting.

The ATP Tour returned to Seoul for the first time since 1996 after the city was awarded a single-year license to stage the Korean Open.

Mayar Sherif becomes first Egyptian to win WTA Tour event

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PARMA, Italy — Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian to win a WTA Tour event by beating top-seeded Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 at the Parma Ladies Open.

Besides earning her first career title, Sherif also notched her first win over a top-10 opponent.

Along with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals this year, Sherif is raising the profile of tennis in North Africa.

The 74th-ranked Sherif actually had to win two matches on Saturday, first overcoming sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals, which were postponed a day due to rain.

The seventh-ranked Sakkari beat Danka Kovinic 7-5, 6-2 in her semifinal earlier Saturday.