Jabeur beats Wimbledon champion Kvitova at Sydney Classic

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SYDNEY — Ons Jabeur advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sydney Tennis Classic by beating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-4 in one of several warm-up tournaments for next week’s Australian Open.

The seventh-seeded Jabeur had five aces and won 76% of her first-serve points to set up a match against fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit.

“I’ve been working a lot on myself and my mentality,” said Jabeur, who will be seeded ninth at the Australian Open. “Everyone knows if I decide to do something then I do it, and I am going with that mentality from now on.”

Kontaviet advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 6-1.

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova had to wait out a rain delay before beating Jaqueline Cristian 6-1, 7-5 in her first singles match of 2022. She will next play Caroline Garcia, who advanced after ninth-seeded Elena Rybakina withdrew from their second-round match because of an injured left thigh.

Third-ranked Garbine Muguruza defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1, 7-6 (4) to set up a quarterfinal match against Daria Kasatkina. Kasatkina backed up her win earlier this week over 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Elise Mertens.

In the men’s draw, top-seeded Aslan Karatsev beat Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5, 6-4 and Brandon Nakashima defeated seventh-seeded Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7), 7-6 (6). Third-seeded Daniel Evans and fourth-seeded Reilly Opelka advanced with straight-set wins.

Andy Murray set up a quarterfinal with David Goffin after beating world No. 23 Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-3 in a match that finished after midnight.

The top two seeds are already out of the Adelaide International 2. Thiago Monteiro was leading 6-7 (2), 6-3, 1-0 when top-seeded Gael Monfils retired with what was reported to be a neck or shoulder problem.

Thanaski Kokkinakis labored for almost three hours to beat John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) in a match with no service breaks. Isner had 23 aces, but Kokkinakis replied with 15 to oust the second-seeded American.

Third-seeded Karin Khachanov beat Gianluca Mager 7-5, 6-3, fourth-seeded Marin Cilic defeated Jaume Munar 7-6 (6), 6-2, and Corentin Moutet of France eliminated eighth-seeded Marton Fucsovics 6-2, 6-2.

In the women’s event in Adelaide, 17-year-old American Coco Gauff beat Marta Kostyuk 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, Madison Keys defeated Tereza Martincova 6-1, 6-3, and Ana Konjuh eliminated sixth-seeded Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3).

Tuneup tournaments for the season-opening major are continuing in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide this week.

While those tournaments were in full swing, the top-seeded players at the Australian Open had practice sessions on the main court at Melbourne Park, with women’s No. 1 Ash Barty followed by nine-time champion Novak Djokovic at Rod Laver Arena.

French players get life bans for fixing

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LONDON — Two low-ranked French players were banned from the sport for life after being found guilty of match-fixing by a hearing officer.

Jules Okala, a 25-year-old with a career-best ATP ranking of No. 338, and Mick Lescure, a 29-year-old with a top ranking of No. 487, “admitted multiple charges,” the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced.

Neither player is allowed to compete at – or even attend – any sanctioned event again.

Okala was found guilty of seven match-fixing charges and fined $15,000 in addition to the permanent suspension. Lescure was found guilty of eight charges and fined $40,000 on top of the ban.

The punishments come after both players were involved in law enforcement investigations in France and Belgium, according to the sport’s integrity agency.

Ash Barty wins Australia’s top sports award for second time

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Ash Barty’s Australian Open singles title in January was enough to ensure the former top-ranked player won Australia’s most prestigious annual sports award — despite retiring from the game less than two months later.

Barty has been given The Don Award, named after its most accomplished and famous cricketer Don Bradman.

Barty shocked the tennis world in March when she announced her retirement at the age of 25. The three-time major winner was the No. 1-ranked female player at the time of her retirement decision.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s Don Award is given to an athlete or a team “which has provided the most inspiration to the country through performance and example in the past year.”

Barty (2019, 2022) joins Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Sally Pearson (2012, 2014) and Olympic champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker (2008, 2009) as a multiple winner of the award.

Barty said she had decided before the Australian Open started that it would be her last major tournament.

“This year was certainly my most enjoyable Australian Open . . . because it felt free,” Barty said in a television interview. “I played without consequence, I played like a little kid. In my eyes, there was no pressure. It was just about me trying to redeem myself, in a way, and playing how I’d always wanted to play – go out there and play like the kid that fell in love with sport.”

Barty said she has no plans to return to tennis.

“In my mind there was never going to be a perfect ending, but it was my perfect ending,” Barty said of her retirement. “It was never about finishing on a win or on a really high emotional feeling. It was just about collectively, I felt it was right.

“Now (that decision) has led to nine months of just an incredible life off the court. It’s been amazing.”

Barty married her long-time partner Garry Kissick in late July. She also golfs frequently and is reported to be playing off a handicap of low single figures.