Duckworth to play Kwon for Astana Open title

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NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan — There will be a first-time title winner at the Astana Open after two players who had never reached a tour final won their semifinal matches.

James Duckworth of Australia will play South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo for the title in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Duckworth won 6-3, 7-6(4) against eighth-seeded Ilya Ivashka after breaking back from 3-1 down in the second set. It was the third consecutive straight-sets win over a seeded player for the 65th-ranked Duckworth and his ninth straight win overall after winning a Challenger tournament in Istanbul, Turkey, last week.

“I knew it was going to be really difficult but I managed to win that second set in a tie-break,” Duckworth said. “It was a very close set that could have gone either way. I think I played the big points well.”

Kwon reached his first final with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.

Parma Ladies Open semifinals postponed to same day as final

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PARMA, Italy — The semifinals of the Parma Ladies Open have been postponed by a day and will be played shortly before Saturday’s final.

The decision was made because of persistent rain at the clay-court tournament on Friday.

Top-seeded Maria Sakkari will start on center court against Danka Kovinic at 10:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) on Saturday before sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan’s match against Mayar Sherif.

The final will be after 6 p.m. local time, shortly after the doubles final – with the doubles semifinals also being played earlier in the day on a different court.

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).