Top-ranked Medvedev to play Hurkacz in Halle final

Terra Wortmann Open 2022 - Day 8
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HALLE, Germany – Back-to-back finals in grass-court tournaments would be an excellent Wimbledon warmup for any player. But Daniil Medvedev can’t play at the All England Club this season.

The top-ranked Medvedev beat Oscar Otte 7-6 (3), 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the final of the Halle Open, a week after he was runner-up at ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Otte had set point at 5-3 in the first set but Medvedev broke back before forcing the tiebreaker.

The Russian will play Hubert Hurkacz in Sunday’s final after the big-serving Polish player beat Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4).

Wimbledon starts in nine days without Medvedev or any other players from Russia and its ally Belarus. Wimbledon’s decision to impose the ban over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine broke with the other Grand Slams and with the men’s and women’s tours, which won’t award ranking points for the grass-court major.

That hasn’t stopped Medvedev building momentum on grass, though. His win over Otte left him 6-1 on grass this season, with the only loss a shock upset to then-205th-ranked Tim van Rijthoven at last week’s ‘s-Hertogenbosch final in the Netherlands.

The decision on ranking points at Wimbledon also works in Medvedev’s favor since he reached only the fourth round last year so has fewer points expiring than tournament winner Novak Djokovic.

Hurkacz’s semifinal win over Kyrgios was a festival of power serving as he hit 27 aces against 30 for Kyrgios, who lost despite holding in every one of his service games.

Hurkacz and Medvedev have each won two of their four matches together, though Hurkacz was the winner of their only meeting on grass in the fourth round of Wimbledon last year and also won the most recent match in Miami in March.

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.