Swiatek beats Raducanu to extend winning run in Stuttgart

Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart 2022 - Day 5
Getty Images
4 Comments

STUTTGART, Germany – Top-ranked Iga Swiatek ended U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu’s first clay tournament run to move into the Stuttgart Open semifinals.

Swiatek extended her win streak to 21 matches and moved closer to what would be a fourth consecutive title after victories in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

The quarterfinal was much closer than their only previous encounter at any level, a 6-0, 6-1 win for Swiatek at 2018 Junior Wimbledon, but Raducanu’s lack of experience on clay still told against former French Open champion Swiatek.

Swiatek immediately broke Raducanu and held serve with ease to take a first set in which Raducanu won just three return points. Raducanu improved markedly in the second set – despite needing a medical timeout after an examination of her lower back and hip at 2-1 down – and made Swiatek work hard.

Raducanu was in her first career WTA tournament on clay after playing on the surface for the first time at senior level last week for Britain against the Czech Republic in the Billie Jean King Cup. The clay-court swing was already over last year when Raducanu burst onto the scene with a charge to the fourth round on the grass of Wimbledon.

Friday’s contest was the 19-year-old British player’s first match against an opponent ranked in the world’s top 10, as she aimed to win three matches at the same tournament for the first time since her shock U.S. Open title.

Swiatek goes on to face Liudmila Samsonova in the semifinals after the Russian won 7-5, 6-3 against home favorite Laura Siegemund of Germany.

Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka meet in the other semifinal.

Badosa outlasted Ons Jabeur 7-6 (9), 1-6, 6-3 to reach the last four after having lost in the quarterfinals at her last two tournaments in Miami and Charleston.

Sabalenka ended a seven-month wait for a tour semifinal since last year’s U.S. Open, the Belarusian hitting 10 aces as she beat Anett Kontaveit 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

alycia parks
Robert Prange/Getty Images
2 Comments

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

novak djokovic
Nir Keidar/Getty Images
1 Comment

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.