Sonego fights back to beat Djere in Sardegna Open final

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CAGLIARI, Sardinia — Lorenzo Sonego became the first Italian for 15 years to capture an ATP tour clay-court title on home soil after fighting back to beat Laslo Djere of Serbia and win the Sardegna Open on Sunday.

Third-seeded Sonego had to dig deep in the second set before prevailing 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in a final lasting just over three hours.

“The match was long and I remained calm in the second-set tiebreaker,” Sonego said. “I knew the match wasn’t finished because I had always kept fighting.

“Now, I am really tired, but I am very happy. I am happy to follow in (Filippo) Volandri’s footsteps and win a title on home soil.”

It was Sonego’s second trophy in as many days after he partnered Andrea Vavassori to the Cagliari doubles title on Saturday, and his second singles trophy overall.

Djere, who won the first edition of the tournament at Forte Village in October, got off to the best possible start as he broke serve in the first game. He went on to save three break points in his first service game and broke again with a superb backhand winner for a 5-2 advantage, before wrapping up the set.

The 25-year-old Sonego recovered to take a 4-1 lead in the second set but Djere struck back to win three straight games. However, Sonego clinched the tiebreaker with a forehand volley.

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.