Svetlana Kuznetsova out of U.S. Open, citing pandemic

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NEW YORK — Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion, added her name to the growing group of players withdrawing from the Grand Slam tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kuznetsova wrote Monday on Instagram that she was pulling out of the U.S. Open and the tournament preceding it at the same site in New York.

The Western & Southern Open starts Aug. 22; the U.S. Open starts Aug. 31.

Kuznetsova wrote: “I feel very sad, because I have been (waiting) for these tournaments so much, but the pandemic changes all plans.”

The 35-year-old Russian, who also won the 2009 French Open, has been ranked as high as No. 2 in singles. She is currently No. 32, which would have put her in line to be seeded at Flushing Meadows.

Three of the top seven women in the rankings, including No. 1 Ash Barty, have pulled out of the U.S. Open, as have the defending men’s champion, Rafael Nadal, and others such as Stan Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios.

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.