Defending Rogers Cup champ Halep edges qualifier Brady

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TORONTO — Wimbledon champion Simona Halep of Romania beat American qualifier Jennifer Brady 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) on Wednesday in the second round of the Rogers Cup on Wednesday.

The winner last year in Montreal, Halep lost a 4-0 lead in the third set when Brady won five straight games. The No. 4 Halep broke the 76th-ranked Brady for a third time in the set to go up 6-5, but the former world No. 1 was broken right back to set up the tiebreak.

The 26-year-old Halep will face either Svetlana Kuznetsova or Donna Vekic in the third round.

Third-ranked Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic also advanced, beating American qualifier Alison Riske 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2

No. 16 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia reached the third round when Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain retired with a hip injury while trailing 7-5, 3-1. Kontaveit will face Pliskova on Thursday.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus was eliminated, losing 7-5, 7-5 to Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine.

Serena Williams played later Wednesday.

Parma Ladies Open semifinals postponed to same day as final

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PARMA, Italy — The semifinals of the Parma Ladies Open have been postponed by a day and will be played shortly before Saturday’s final.

The decision was made because of persistent rain at the clay-court tournament on Friday.

Top-seeded Maria Sakkari will start on center court against Danka Kovinic at 10:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) on Saturday before sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan’s match against Mayar Sherif.

The final will be after 6 p.m. local time, shortly after the doubles final – with the doubles semifinals also being played earlier in the day on a different court.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).