Ostapenko, de Minaur prep for Wimbledon with Eastbourne wins

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EASTBOURNE, England — Jelena Ostapenko and Alex de Minaur tuned up for Wimbledon in the best way possible, winning the first grass-court titles of their careers at the Eastbourne tournament.

Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion and a wild-card entry in Eastbourne, collected her first WTA trophy since 2019 and fourth overall by beating Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-3 in the women’s final.

Then the No. 2-seeded de Minaur came back to edge No. 3 seed Lorenzo Sonego 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) over more than 2 1/2 hours in a men’s final in which each player collected the same number of total points, 107-107.

That gave the 22-year-old Australian his fifth ATP title and second of 2021. All eight previous finals he had appeared in were on hard courts, including his championship at Antalya, Turkey, in January.

The best Grand Slam showing for de Minaur also came on a hard court with a quarterfinal run at last year’s U.S. Open.

He’s been as far as the third round at Wimbledon.

Ostapenko reached the semifinals there in 2018 and the quarterfinals the year before, and won the girls’ title there in 2014. But she lost in the first round of Wimbledon the last time it was played, two years ago, and also had first-round exits at each of this year’s first two major tournaments, the Australian Open and French Open.

Play begins at the All England Club on Monday.

“I think I got some confidence and now it’s time, probably, to show some good tennis at Wimbledon,” said Ostapenko, a 24-year-old from Latvia who is ranked 43rd.

This was the first women’s final at Eastbourne between two unseeded players since 2013.

Kontaveit, a 25-year-old from Estonia, is ranked 27th. Her record in WTA finals dropped to 1-7.

De Minaur is assured of moving up from No. 18 to a career-high No. 15 in the ATP rankings next week.

He goes into Wimbledon on an 8-2 roll on grass this month, including a semifinal appearance at Queen’s Club last week.

Sonego, an Italian who is ranked 27th, is now 0-2 against de Minaur and 2-2 in ATP finals.

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.

Ruud loses, Kyrgios wins at Japan Open

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TOKYO — Top-seeded Casper Ruud lost and Nick Kyrgios won at the Japan Open.

Ruud, who reached the final at both the French Open and the U.S. Open this year, lost to Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3.

Kyrgios, who lost in the Wimbledon final, defeated Tseng Chun-hsin 6-3, 6-1 to reach the round of 16. He will next face Kamil Majchrzak, who beat Sho Shimabukuro 7-6 (2), 6-2.

The victory for Kyrgios came on the same day that his lawyer asked an Australian court to dismiss assault charges against him on mental health grounds. Magistrate Glenn Theakston adjourned the case until Feb. 3.

The 27-year-old Kyrgios will appear in court in person on that date for the first time since he was charged by police by summons in July.

The common assault charge, which has a potential maximum sentence of two years in prison, relates to an incident in January 2021 that was reported to local police last December. The charge reportedly relates to an incident involving his former girlfriend.