Top-ranked doubles player Farah tests positive

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Top-ranked doubles player Robert Farah says he tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid.

Farah made the announcement on social media hours hours after he pulled out of the Australian Open for what he initially said were personal reasons. Farah said the International Tennis Federation had informed him of the finding.

The 32-year-old Colombian said he tested positive for Boldenona, which he claimed was the result of eating meat in his home country.

“I will not be able to play at the Australian Open, an event for which I had been preparing since December,” Farah, who won last year’s men’s doubles titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, wrote in remarks translated from Spanish on Twitter.

“A few hours ago the ITF informed me of the presence of Boldenona in a test that I did on October 17, 2019 in Cali.

“Two weeks before the test mentioned … I did an anti-doping test in Shanghai which had a negative result. And I was also tested at least 15 other times randomly in the international circuit throughout the year with the same negative result. As stated by the Colombian Olympic Committee in 2018, this substance is found frequently in Colombian meat and may affect athletes’ test results.”

The Canadian-born Farah and fellow Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal, his long-time partner, were the ATP’s doubles team of the year in 2019. They had already pulled out of this week’s Adelaide International.

Farah was still listed on Wednesday morning atop the ATP doubles rankings list, tied with Cabal with 8,170 points each.

Cabal was expected to remain in Melbourne and play doubles with another partner.

The Australian Open starts on Monday.

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.