Sabalenka reaches Abu Dhabi final after 14th straight win

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Aryna Sabalenka reached the final of the Abu Dhabi Open on Tuesday after winning her 14th straight match and will face Veronika Kudermetova for the first WTA title of the year.

Sabalenka had eight aces in her 6-3, 6-2 victory over Maria Sakkari. Kudermetova defeated 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk 7-6 (8), 6-4.

“I’m really looking forward to this final,” Sabalenka said. “I’m just focusing on the right things. This helps me to, first of all, not think about all these wins, and secondly, to keep winning.”

Sabalenka finished last season with wins at the indoor tournaments in Ostrava and Linz and has won her first five matches of the new season in Abu Dhabi. The Belarusian is 8-4 in career tour finals and has won her last five.

Sabalenka will rise to seventh in the rankings if she wins the title on Wednesday.

“She gave me zero chances to come back,” Sakkari said of the match against Sabalenka. “I just couldn’t find a way. From the baseline she was dictating and playing really big.”

Kudermetova reached her first tour final after saving a set point in the tiebreaker against Kostyuk.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.