CoCo Vandeweghe advances at Birmingham Classic

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BIRMINGHAM, England — Former top 10 player CoCo Vandeweghe continued her resurgence, rallying to defeat Australian Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the Birmingham grass-court tournament.

Tomljanovic had upset top-seeded Elise Mertens in a grueling 3-hour, three-set match that featured three tiebreakers. She took the first set against Vandeweghe with the help of three double faults by the 29-year-old American.

Vandeweghe used her serve to take control after that, winning 12 of 14 first-service points in the second set, including five of her 10 aces in the match.

In other matches, Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic defeated Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-0; Kristina Mladenovic beat Fiona Ferro 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an all-French matchup; Donna Vekic of Croatia rallied to top Italy’s Camila Giorgi 2-6, 6-3, 6-1; and Heather Watson of England advanced when Shuai Zhang of China retired trailing 5-2 in the first set.

Vandeweghe reached two Grand Slam semifinals in 2017 and twice has been a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon. She earned her first tour-level, main-draw victory in nearly two years on Monday by beating Kristyna Pliskova in straight sets with the help of 13 aces.

Vandeweghe, who’s been plagued by injuries, last won a WTA match in a tournament main draw in July 2019. Once ranked as high as No. 9, she is currently No. 203 and will face No. 50 Bouzkova in the quarterfinals. The Czech was down 1-3 to Garcia in the opening set, then won 11 straight games.

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.