Top-seeded Svitolina loses opening match at Kremlin Cup

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MOSCOW — Top-seeded Elina Svitolina lost her opening match at the Kremlin Cup on Thursday after having been a break up in the deciding set.

Veronika Kudermetova beat the fourth-ranked Svitolina, who had a first-round bye, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 in their second-round match to set up a quarterfinal with either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or wild-card entry Varvara Gracheva.

Also Thursday, second-seeded Kiki Bertens continued her push to reach the season-ending WTA Finals by beating Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Both Bertens and Belinda Bencic can take the last WTA Finals spot from Serena Williams if they reach the final in Moscow, where they are in the same half of the draw.

Next up for Bertens is either Anastasija Sevastova or Kristina Mladenovic.

Shapovalov beats Johnson in straight sets at Japan Open

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TOKYO — Denis Shapovalov put up a near-perfect serving performance to beat Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6 (3) at the Japan Open.

The seventh-seeded Canadian conceded only one point on his first serve and had 11 aces. Shapovalov, who lost in the semifinals four years ago, will next take on Japanese qualifier Rio Noguchi for a place in the quarterfinals.

“(This was) definitely one of my best serving matches,” Shapovalov said. “I kind of felt like I needed to against Steve . I’m very happy with my serving performance today and hopefully I can keep it up throughout the week.”

Also, Miomir Kecmanovic came back to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2, and Kwon Soon-woo defeated Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2.

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.