Sakkari upsets Bencic in St. Petersburg; Kvitova withdraws

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Maria Sakkari upset top-seeded Belinda Bencic to claim a spot in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy semifinals on Friday, while Petra Kvitova withdrew because of illness.

Bencic was a set and a break up before Sakkari stormed back to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

“I’m really proud of the way I’m fighting and the way I can turn these matches around,” the Greek player said.

That sets up a semifinal on Saturday against Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, who beat Oceane Dodin 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-2 in their quarterfinal.

The other semifinal pits second-seeded Kiki Bertens against Ekaterina Alexandrova, who advanced by walkover after Kvitova’s withdrawal.

Kvitova said the unspecified illness bothered her on Thursday during a three-set win over Alison van Uytvanck.

“I wasn’t feeling well during my match yesterday and hoped I would feel better today, but unfortunately, that’s not the case,” Kvitova said.

Bertens, who won the St. Petersburg title last year, needed nearly two hours to win her quarterfinal 6-4, 7-6 (3) against qualifier Anastasia Potapova. Bertens was 5-2 down in the second set before winning five of the following six games to force the tiebreak.

Sorribes Tormo beats 2nd-seeded Trevisan at Parma Open

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PARMA, Italy — Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-seeded Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the opening round of the Parma Ladies Open – marking the third consecutive first-round loss for this year’s French Open semifinalist.

Third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu advanced when Viktoriya Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.

Danka Kovinic beat Oceane Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Also on the red clay courts, Mayar Sherif of Egypt eliminated fifth-seeded Anna Bondar 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated seventh-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by beating Romanian qualifier Gabriela Lee 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.

Nakashima takes first ATP Tour title at San Diego

San Diego Open - Finals
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SAN DIEGO – Brandon Nakashima earned his first ATP Tour victory in his hometown, beating friend and fellow Southern Californian Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-4 in the San Diego Open final.

“It’s super-special, something you dream of, but to have it happen in my hometown with all my friends and family here, it’s a moment I’ll never forget,” said Nakashima, who had two previous finals appearances. “I hope there are many more moments like this to come.”

Nakashima, a 21-year-old who grew up in San Diego and trained extensively at the event’s site as a junior, clinched the opening set in only 30 minutes. The second set, filled with lengthy rallies, took nearly an hour.

Giron, the No. 5 seed and former NCAA title winner from UCLA, wasn’t able to fend off Nakashima’s persistent ground strokes and well-placed serves. Nakashima had eight aces, six in the first set.

Serving at 5-4 in the second set, Nakashima tallied the match’s deciding two points when Giron pushed an easy volley into the net, followed by Nakashima’s second-serve ace.

He earned $93,090, about half of what received for reaching the third round of the U.S. Open in early September.

Nakashima, who was ranked No. 69 on the ATP Tour, moved up to 48, his highest ranking in nearly three years on tour. Despite the loss, Giron moved up to 53 from 58.

Not only was the singles title claimed by an American, the doubles title also taken by an American duo as the second-seeded pair of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow defeated Australians Jason Kubler and Luke Saville 7-6 (5), 6-2.

The $612,00 event was held at Barnes Tennis Center, which next hosts the $757,900 WTA 500 San Diego Open, Oct. 8-16. That will feature 16 of the world’s top-ranked 20 women pros, led by No. 1 Iga Swiatek.