DOHA, Qatar — In her first match since September, former U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys beat Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-1 at the Qatar Open.
Keys hit 24 winners against 13 for the sixth-seeded Bencic, who was coming off a loss to Iga Swiatek in the final of the Adelaide International on Saturday.
Keys was playing for the first time since her first-round exit at the French Open. She missed the Australian Open after testing positive for the coronavirus shortly before she was due to fly to Melbourne on a charter flight.
“It’s amazing to be back. I’m smiling under my mask,” Keys said. “Disappointed that I couldn’t go to Australia, but very happy to have the first match of my season like this.”
The 2017 U.S. Open finalist said that when she contracted the virus she “just had super, super mild symptoms, so I was really lucky.”
Keys’ second-round opponent is Maria Sakkari, who won their only previous match last year. Aryna Sabalenka and Garbine Muguruza are potential quarterfinal opponents.
Australian Open quarterfinalist Jessica Pegula won against Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-1 in their first-round match. Pegula came through three rounds of qualifying.
The 56th-ranked Laura Siegemund overcame a 33-place rankings gap to Elena Rybakina as she won 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5). Siegemund meets Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Also, Ons Jabeur beat Anna Blinkova 6-2, 6-2.
SEOUL, South Korea – Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka claimed his second career title after beating fourth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada 6-4, 7-6 (5) to win the Korean Open.
The 27-year-old Japanese, who beat top seed and world No.2 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals, was impressive in defense and his counter-punching style eventually wore down his higher ranked opponent in just under two hours at the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center.
The unseeded Nishioka, appearing in his second championship match this year after reaching the Washington final in August, started the brighter and found his rhythm early to claim the first set.
The second set saw momentum change as Shapavolov found his range from the backcourt to take a 3-1 lead. But Nishioka rallied to take the set into a tiebreak where he held firm to win his first tournament since his maiden title at the Shenzen Open in 2018 – where he also beat Shapovalov in their only previous meeting.
The ATP Tour returned to Seoul for the first time since 1996 after the city was awarded a single-year license to stage the Korean Open.
PARMA, Italy — Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian to win a WTA Tour event by beating top-seeded Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 at the Parma Ladies Open.
Besides earning her first career title, Sherif also notched her first win over a top-10 opponent.
Along with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals this year, Sherif is raising the profile of tennis in North Africa.
The 74th-ranked Sherif actually had to win two matches on Saturday, first overcoming sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals, which were postponed a day due to rain.
The seventh-ranked Sakkari beat Danka Kovinic 7-5, 6-2 in her semifinal earlier Saturday.