Serena, Wozniacki win again in Auckland in doubles

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki prolonged their one-time-only doubles partnership Wednesday when they advanced to the semifinals of the ASB Classic.

Playing together for the first time in their careers, Williams and Wozniacki beat top-seeded Johanna Larsson and Caroline Dolehide 6-2, 6-1.

The pair will not play together at the Australian Open, which will be Wozniacki’s final Grand Slam tournament before retirement. So the Auckland tournament offers the only chance for fans to savor the sight of two former No. 1 players playing as a partnership.

The match against Larsson and Dolehide, both accomplished doubles players, was the toughest test of their partnership. Larsson has 13 doubles titles and Dolehide has been a U.S. Open doubles semifinalist.

Williams was a driving force in their win Wednesday, dominating the court, though she paid tribute to Wozniacki who “never missed.”

“We’re just having a great time,” Wozniacki said. “Even if I miss a couple and I’m mad at myself, Serena is always so positive. She’s like, ‘You’re doing great. You’re doing amazing,’ so it makes you feel good out there.

“We’re just going to go out there every match, just play, have fun and see what happens and the good thing is with doubles is we’ve had two matches and we’re in the semifinals.”

Wozniacki will play Lauren Davis in the second round of singles on Thursday while Williams will play Christina McHale.

Eugenie Bouchard came into the tournament as a wild-card entry after a difficult 2019 season and progressed to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over eighth-seeded Caroline Garcia.

The 25-year-old Bouchard, who has been as high as No. 5 in singles, dropped out of the top 200 last year, at one stage losing 12 straight first-round matches.

She incurred a time violation at set point in the first set but held serve, then closed out the match at her first opportunity.

No. 15 Petra Martic, seeded second, lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Alize Cornet, who finished 2019 outside the top 50 for the first time in eight years. Cornet sealed the match with three consecutive aces.

“It just happened to be the best time to do my first aces of the match and three in a row, come on!” Carnet said. “I don’t even know how that happened.”

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.