Naomi Osaka wins first-round match at Brisbane International

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BRISBANE, Australia — Naomi Osaka got an extended workout in her opening match at the Brisbane International, just two weeks away from the defense of her Australia Open title.

Osaka defeated Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3 on Tuesday to set up a second-round match with American Sofia Kenin.

The two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 1 took more than two hours and had 16 aces to beat Sakkari.

In other matches Tuesday, eighth-seeded Madison Keys beat Czech qualifier Maria Bouzkova 6-2, 6-3. Keys will now face local favorite Samantha Stosur in the second round.

“Sam’s always tough,” Keys said. “I think she’s beaten me every time we have played. It’s also hard to play someone who is going to be playing at home and have the crowd and all that.”

Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova had the upset of the tournament so far by defeating American Sloane Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

In later matches, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 and American qualifier Jennifer Brady beat wild-card entry Maria Sharapova 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4).

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).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.