Kvitova, Muguruza advance to Qatar Open final

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DOHA, Qatar — Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza both advanced to the Qatar Open final, one winning in straight sets and the other without even playing a point.

Muguruza advanced when Victoria Azarenka pulled out with a back injury. Kvitova beat Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-4, winning the final four games after trailing 4-2 in the second set.

“I was just trying to get back to the rhythm which I lost after the first set and I’m really glad that I found a way,” Kvitova said.

Pegula, who reached the quarterfinals at last month’s Australian Open, was playing her seventh match in as many days after coming through qualifying in Doha.

“She is a very solid player from the baseline, and as we saw she can play some volleys as well, so it was very difficult,” Kvitova said.

Kvitova will play in her first final since last year’s Qatar Open, when she lost to Aryna Sabalenka. It will be a rematch of the 2018 final in Doha, when Kvitova beat Muguruza in three sets.

Muguruza reached Saturday’s final by walkover. Azarenka hurt her lower back while warming up for her quarterfinal match against top-seeded Elina Svitolina.

It will be Muguruza’s second final of the season after losing to Ash Barty in the Yarra Valley Classic final last month.

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.