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Top-ranked Osaka loses in second round in Birmingham

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BIRMINGHAM, England — Naomi Osaka lost in straight sets at the Birmingham Classic grass-court tournament on Thursday – and could soon lose her No. 1 ranking, too.

The two-time Grand Slam champion from Japan never looked comfortable in a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Yulia Putintseva in the second round, choosing to sit on the court instead of her chair at changes of ends.

Osaka would have guaranteed holding onto top spot in the rankings heading into Wimbledon, which starts July 1, by reaching the final in Birmingham but she could now be ousted by No. 2 Ashleigh Barty.

The newly crowned French Open champion beat Jennifer Brady 6-3, 6-1 in a match interrupted by rain to advance to the quarterfinals.

Barty has made a strong transition from clay to grass as she seeks a title win that would lift her to No. 1 status.

“The stars have aligned a little bit for me and I think when you get those opportunities, you have to do your best to take them with both hands,” Barty said.

“That’s what we have been able to do over the last month in particular but I feel like I’m comfortable in my own skin. I feel like I know exactly how I want to play in most matches, and it’s just about going out there trying to execute as best I can.”

Osaka, meanwhile, has slumped to a second straight early exit from a tournament, after losing in the third round of the French Open to unseeded Katerina Siniakova from the Czech Republic.

Venus Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champion, joined Barty in the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Wang Qiang.

U.S. Open purse to surpass $57 million

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NEW YORK — The U.S. Open total purse this year is more than $57 million, the richest in tennis history.

The men’s and women’s singles champion will each receive $3.85 million, and the men’s and women’s doubles champion teams will get $740,000. Those are both the highest payouts in U.S. Open history.

The U.S. Tennis Association said Thursday it worked with the ATP and WTA Tours to determine specific round-by-round prize money levels, and that the payouts for each round are all Grand Slam tournament records.

The payouts start at $58,000 for the first round of singles.

The USTA adds that it will make a payment of $500,000 to each tour to support the ATP and WTA Tour player programs, including pension.

The final major of the year will be played Aug. 26 through Sept. 8.

Venus Williams to play San Jose for second straight year

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Venus Williams has committed to play in San Jose later this month, her second straight appearance in the event.

She will play her opening match of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in the night session July 30 after reaching the 2018 quarterfinals. The seven-time Grand Slam champion is in the field for the 15th time, though the tournament moved from Stanford to San Jose last year.

The 39-year-old Williams will be a wild-card entry in the tournament.