Muguruza beats Swiatek in Dubai; Pegula upsets Pliskova

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Garbine Muguruza and Jessica Pegula continued their strong form in 2021 with wins in the third round of the Dubai Championships.

Muguruza beat Iga Swiatek 6-0, 6-4 as the French Open champion was slow to find any rhythm with six double faults and 17 unforced errors to Muguruza’s 10.

“I had to bring my 100% aggressive game,” Muguruza said.

Swiatek dropped a set 6-0 for the first time since 2019, when she had yet to win a tour title and was beaten by Sam Stosur in qualifying for the Eastbourne tournament.

Muguruza’s win sets up a quarterfinal against Aryna Sabalenka, who beat Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-2. Muguruza beat Sabalenka in three sets at the Qatar Open last week on her way to the final. That run meant Muguruza was playing for the eighth time in 10 days.

Australian Open quarterfinalist Pegula needed just 53 minutes to complete an upset 6-0, 6-2 win over Karolina Pliskova, her second win over the Czech in the space of a week after a quarterfinal victory in Qatar. The American goes on to face Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals after the Belgian eliminated Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-2.

There was another upset as Anastasia Potapova beat sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 despite the Russian posting 12 double faults along the way.

American teen Coco Gauff reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over qualifier Tereza Martincova.

Nishioka beats Shapovalov to win Korean Open

2022 US Open - Day 1
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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.

Mayar Sherif becomes first Egyptian to win WTA Tour event

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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.