Sabalenka beats Riske to keep Wuhan Open title

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WUHAN, China — Aryna Sabalenka beat unseeded American Alison Riske 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the Wuhan Open final on Saturday to become the tournament’s first back-to-back champion.

Sabalenka joins Petra Kvitova as the only other two-time winner at Wuhan.

“I can’t believe that I defend this title,” Sabalenka said. “I can’t believe it’s happened.”

The ninth-seeded Belarusian won five of the first six games in the first set.

Riske rallied in the second, withstanding nine aces to level the match, but Sabalenka regained control in the decider.

“Third set I came out like `This is a final, try to do everything you can. Just one match to go, just do your best,’ I was just focusing on my game, focusing on each point,” Sabalenka said.

Sabalenka has now won three of her four titles in China, including the Shenzhen Open earlier this year in which she also defeated Riske in a three-set final.

Despite losing, Riske is set to enter the top 30 rankings for the first time in her career at age 29.

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.