Bencic beats Herzog to keep WTA Finals bid on track

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MOSCOW — Belinda Bencic won six of the last seven games and beat Polona Hercog 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals at the Kremlin Cup.

The 10th-ranked Bencic needs to reach the final in Moscow to overtake Serena Williams and Kiki Bertens for the last WTA Finals spot.

Bencic will next face either Dayana Yastremska or Kirsten Flipkens.

Also, Ekaterina Alexandrova defeated Anna Kalinskaya 6-1, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal match against either fourth-seeded Donna Vekic or Karolina Muchova.

In the men’s draw, Italian veteran Andreas Seppi beat Roberto Carballes Baena 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. Seppi hasn’t won a tour title since the Kremlin Cup in 2012.

Egor Gerasimov beat Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 6-4.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.