Danill Medvedev set to defend title in Montreal

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MONTREAL — Top-ranked and defending champion Daniil Medvedev wasn’t bothered by the frustrating delays due to rain at the National Bank Open.

It’s one of the perks of his top ranking in men’s singles. Medvedev received a first-round bye as a top seed.

“I will have two good days of practice and after I’ll start the tournament,” he said. “Of course, I’m very hungry for victories.”

While many of his ATP Tour peers were stuck waiting to see when the rain would let up, the confident Russian star was able to relax knowing he only had to tinker with his training schedule.

Medvedev held court with reporters during a 15-minute availability before continuing preparations for his title defense.

He enters the competition on a roll after winning in Mexico over the weekend. Medvedev didn’t lose a set at the tournament en route to claiming his 14th career ATP-level crown.

“Feeling 100% physically (and I’m) mentally ready,” Medvedev said. “Really happy with Los Cabos for sure with the title. Looking forward to here, trying to get some good matches.”

Medvedev, who competes under a neutral flag, could face Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the second round. Kyrgios, who jumped 26 spots to No. 37 in this week’s rankings following a victory at the Citi Open, was scheduled to open against Argentina’s Sebastian Baez.

World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal is one of many young stars who are seeded for the $6.53 million tournament. Others include Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, Norway’s Casper Ruud and Italy’s Jannik Sinner.

Rafael Nadal withdrew on the eve of the tournament due to an abdominal injury. The rest of the so-called Big Three – Roger Federer (knee) and Novak Djokovic (unvaccinated) – were also absent.

“It doesn’t change much if they’re here or not because my goal is to win the tournament,” Medvedev said. “So no matter who I play . if it’s going to be a qualifier or wild card, lucky loser, second seed, I just want to win the match.”

Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori defeated Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a match that began four hours after its originally scheduled start time.

In other early matches, American Jenson Brooksby beat Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3 and Russia’s Karen Khachanov topped Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3. Alex Molcan of Slovakia defeated American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (1), 6-4.

Rain returned later and forced the suspension of all evening matches.

Australia’s Alex de Minaur had a 7-5, 6-6 lead on Canada’s Denis Shapovalov when the rain began. They had split the first six points of the tiebreaker.

Auger-Aliassime has a first-round bye as the No. 6 seed. Pospisil was slated to play his opening doubles match with Sinner, but it was rescheduled.

The singles field includes 41 of the top 44 players in the men’s rankings.

Robert Bedard was the last Canadian to win this tournament, taking the 1958 title in Vancouver.

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).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.