Serena, Wozniacki reach Auckland semifinals

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Top-seed Serena Williams struggled with a swirling breeze before beating Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-3 Friday to reach the semifinals of the ASB Classic.

As was the case with her three-set win over Christina McHale in the second round, Williams was never fully in control of the match. She came from a break down in the second set to win in just under 90 minutes.

But she was able to step up at crucial times. Williams had five break point chances and converted three. Siegemund had seven and converted one.

Siegemund, who beat American teenager Coco Gauff in the second round, stretched Williams with her variety and placement but couldn’t match Williams’ power from the baseline.

“She was an incredibly tricky player and the conditions really didn’t help,” Williams said. “But, oh my God, it’s good to get through that.

“The body’s feeling great. I came in here before the tournament last year and said I wanted to play singles and doubles here. So I’m happy, I knew what I was going to be up against and I’m happy to still be in the tournament.”

Caroline Wozniacki progressed to the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over two-time defending champion Julia Goerges of Germany.

“I’ve had so many tough matches against Julia in the past and I knew this one was going to be tough as well,” Wozniacki said. “I’ve been serving well this week so hopefully it can continue.”

Wozniacki’s semifinal opponent will be Jessica Pegula of the United States who beat Alize Cornet of France 6-0, 3-2. Cornet was forced to withdraw with a thigh muscle strain.

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.