Kim Clijsters pulls out of U.S. Open tuneup with abdominal injury

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NEW YORK — Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters withdrew from the Western & Southern Open on Friday because of an abdominal injury she wants to rest before the U.S. Open.

The 37-year-old Belgian already is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and came out of retirement this year.

The U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 31, would be her first Grand Slam tournament since she competed at Flushing Meadows in 2012, losing in the second round.

The Western & Southern Open begins Saturday in New York, at the same site used for the U.S. Open. The hard-court tuneup normally is held in Cincinnati but was moved this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have great memories from playing in Cincinnati and was looking forward to being a part of the event this year,” Clijsters said. “It’s disappointing to have to withdraw, but after discussions with medical and my team, I need a little more recovery time.”

Clijsters said she will remain in the “bubble” set up by the U.S. Tennis Association for the two tournaments and “continue to prepare with my team.”

Clijsters used to be ranked No. 1 and won the singles championships at the U.S. Open in 2005, 2009 and 2010, along with another Grand Slam singles trophy at the Australian Open in 2011.

She was given wild-card invitations by the USTA for both the singles and doubles events at the U.S. Open.

Unseeded Parks beats top-seeded Garcia for her 1st title

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LYON, France — Unseeded American Alycia Parks secured a stunning 7-6 (7), 7-5 upset win over WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in the Open Metropole de Lyon final to clinch her first career title.

“I think France has a special part in my heart right now,” Parks said. “I’ll be back next year.”

The 22-year-old Parks, who is ranked 79th, had 15 aces and saved all four break points against the top-seeded Garcia.

Parks secured the only break of a tight contest to win the match.

The fifth-ranked Garcia, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, was seeking a 12th career title.

“Congrats on a great tournament,” Garcia told Parks in English. “If you keep playing like this for sure you’re going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks has a career-best ranking of 75th.

The 29-year-old Garcia, who grew up in Lyon, took time to thank her home crowd – this time in French.

“It means a lot to play here, thanks for being here,” Garcia said. “You supported me from the first point to the last. Thanks for all your encouragement.”

Zhu beats Tsurenko to win Thailand Open

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Zhu Lin of China won her maiden career title after beating Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Thailand Open.

In a match lasting one hour and 45 minutes, both players exchanged nail-biting baseline rallies before Zhu finally found a way past her determined opponent.

The 29-year-old Chinese player managed a break to go up 5-3 in the first set. Although she was broken to love in the following game, Zhu returned the favor straight back, also to love, to take the opening set in 46 minutes.

The second saw players trade breaks with Zhu eventually securing her first match point at 5-3. She sprayed a shot wide to miss the chance but capitalized on her third in the 10th game with a backhand winner.

“I’m so happy to finally win my first tour title. All the hard work finally paid off,” said the No. 54-ranked Zhu, who will crack the top 50 when the new WTA rankings are updated.

Zhu has started the season strongly, reaching the quarter-finals in Auckland and the last 16 at the Australian Open.

The victory also allowed Zhu to avenge her loss to the Ukrainian at the WTA Dubai Championships back in 2019.

Despite the loss, the No. 136-ranked Tsurenko, 33, will return to the top 100.