Murray overcomes Wawrinka in 3 sets in Cincinnati

Western & Southern Open - Day 3
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MASON, Ohio – Andy Murray pulled out a 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5 win over Stan Wawrinka in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in a matchup of three-time Grand Slam champions trying to put injuries behind them.

Murray and Wawrinka both have a U.S. Open title among their Slam championships, and both required multiple visits from trainers to treat leg problems during the 2-hour, 57-minute match at the hard-court tournament that serves as a tuneup for the U.S. Open.

Wawrinka, 37, of Switzerland, had two surgeries on his left foot in 2021 and has lost in the first round in each of his last four events. Murray, 35, of Britain, suffered an abdominal strain two weeks before Wimbledon but reached a second round for the first time in his last three tournaments.

“I was hanging on in the third set,” Murray said in an on-court interview. “I was struggling a bit. So was Stan. We’re not young any more.”

Serena Williams had been scheduled to face 19-year-old Emma Raducanu of Britain, the defending U.S. Open champion, in a first-round match on Monday that was pushed back to Tuesday because of what the tournament described as “a number of factors related to scheduling.”

Raducanu was anxious to face Williams, 40, the 23-time Grand Slam winner who is preparing to walk away from tennis.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to play the greatest tennis player of all time for probably the last time,” Raducanu said Sunday. “For our careers to have crossed over, I’m really fortunate that I got to play her. Whatever happens, it’s going to be an incredible experience for me and something I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life.”

Williams has said she wants to have another child and pursue business interests. She has not said what her last event will be, but she has made it sound as if her final farewell will come at the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29 in New York.

Williams lost 6-2, 6-4 to Belinda Bencic on Wednesday night in Toronto in her first match since she announced her intentions.

In a first-round women’s match Monday, unseeded 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova upset ninth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4, 6-4, while 14th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, another former U.S. Open winner, breezed to a 6-3, 6-3 win over qualifier Jaume Munar of Spain.

Samsonova beats Zheng to win 3rd WTA title in 2 months

Toray Pan Pacific Open - Day Seven
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TOKYO – Liudmila Samsonova of Russia extended a remarkable summer run by clinching her third title in two months after beating rising Chinese player Zheng Qinwen 7-5, 7-5 at the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Sunday.

No. 30-ranked Samsonova won in Washington and Cleveland in August and also reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open. The 23-year-old has now won 18 of her last 19 matches and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo.

“It’s amazing. I think I need a little bit of time to realize it, but it’s unbelievable,” Samsonova said. “It was like a nervous match today. I was really prepared physically but I was tired mentally because I was playing singles and doubles every day. I’m very happy with the way I managed the pressure.”

Samsonova added that the exclusion of Russian players from Wimbledon had helped her game though she stopped short of supporting the move.

“Wimbledon for me is the best tournament. I love it. The news really impacted me. I had one month without a tournament so I thought let’s work,” she said, adding: “I don’t agree that politics should be involved in sports because it’s unfair.”

The match between two power hitters with big serves was close throughout but Samsonova was striking the ball cleaner and stronger.

Zheng, who ousted top-seeded Paula Badosa and No. 4-seeded Veronika Kudermetova, was broken in the first set after giving up her first double fault on deuce in the 11th game.

Samsonova, who defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the first round and former world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals, then sent a perfect forehand that landed in the right-hand corner of the court to break the 19-year-old and go 6-5 up. She took the first set with another strong service game that included her third ace.

Zheng was the first to crack in the second set when she handed Samsonova free points with two double-faults in the fifth game. A double-fault by the Russian saw her drop to 0-40 in the next game and the No. 36-ranked Chinese broke back to level at 3-3.

As in the first set, Zheng was broken in the 11th game. A long forehand at deuce gave Samsonova a breakpoint and she converted it with a crosscourt forehand that sent her opponent the wrong way. Samsonova then won her next game to love after three errors by Zheng, clinching the match 7-5, 7-5.

Samsonova has now won all of the finals she has appeared in.

In reaching the final, Zheng became the youngest Chinese finalist at a tour-level event, beating the mark set by Peng Shuai.

Auger-Aliassime beats Djokovic; Team World leads Laver Cup

Laver Cup 2022 - Day Three
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LONDON – Felix Auger-Aliassime added a singles victory over Novak Djokovic to an earlier win in doubles Sunday, allowing Team World to take a 10-8 lead over Team Europe with two matches remaining in the Laver Cup.

Auger-Aliassime, a 22-year-old from Canada, beat 21-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (3) with the help of 13 aces and a 39-11 advantage in total winners.

That followed the three-day event’s last doubles contest, in which Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock came back to beat Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.

Murray, who owns three Grand Slam titles, was treated by a trainer after cutting his right leg during the loss.

“It was a bit weird in the first game (against Djokovic), but then after, I felt very good, very loose,” said Auger-Aliassime, whose best run at a major tournament came at the U.S. Open last year, when he reached the semifinals. “Getting that (doubles) win got me really confident going into the singles.”

Victories were worth three points apiece Sunday; the first team to 13 wins.

That meant Frances Tiafoe, a 24-year-old from Maryland who reached the U.S. Open semifinals this month, could clinch it for Team World by beating 2021 French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas in the next-to-last match.

Team Europe came into the week at the O2 Arena having won all four previous editions of the Laver Cup, which was founded by Roger Federer’s management company.

This one served as a celebration of the 41-year-old Swiss star’s career. His final match before retirement came Friday night, when he and Rafael Nadal lost in doubles to Tiafoe and Sock.

Djokovic won matches in both singles and doubles on Saturday in his first action since claiming the title at Wimbledon in July.

He helped Team Europe head into Sunday with an 8-4 lead.