English wild-card entry Draper beats Sinner at Queen’s Club

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LONDON — Wild-card entry Jack Draper earned his first ATP Tour match win by eliminating third-seeded Jannik Sinner 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) in a matchup between 19-year-olds at the Queen’s Club grass-court tournament.

“He played the important points better than me. … He deserved to win,” said Sinner, who is ranked 23rd. “These days happen.”

The 309th-ranked Draper, who hit 11 aces, is from England and was the 2018 boys’ runner-up at Wimbledon. He said he hopes this victory over Sinner improves his chances of receiving a wild card to play at the All England Club, where the next Grand Slam tournament begins June 28.

The left-hander’s only previous tour-level match came at the Miami Open in March, when he retired because of a heat-related illness after dropping the opening set.

Since then, Draper said, he tore an abdominal muscle and “only started serving about three days ago.”

Sinner is considered one of the leading up-and-coming players in men’s tennis. He reached the quarterfinals of the French Open last year and the fourth round there last week – losing to 13-time champion Rafael Nadal each time.

“He’s the best player in our age group, so I was quite nervous going onto the court,” said Draper, who lost his opening match in qualifying at Queen’s Club in 2019. “But after I settled in, and after I played quite a few points, I felt like the crowd helped me.”

In other first-round action, John Millman withstood 27 aces from Reilly Opelka and edged the American 7-6 (4), 5-7, 7-6 (6); Cameron Norrie hit 14 aces in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Albert Ramos-Vinolas; and Adrian Mannarino eliminated Liam Broady 6-4, 6-4.

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.