Coric spoils Nadal’s return at Western & Southern Open

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MASON, Ohio — Borna Coric spoiled Rafael Nadal’s return from a six-week layoff, beating the Spanish star 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3 in the Western & Southern Open.

The winner of a men’s record 22 Grand Slam championships, including two this year, hadn’t played since July 6 after an abdominal tear forced him to withdraw from a semifinal match against Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon. He was hoping to start putting the final touches on prepping for the upcoming U.S. Open.

“With a week-and-a-half to New York, it’s sad to not play here,” Nadal said. “I need to get into Grand Slam mode.”

The second-seeded and third-ranked Nadal, 36, showed no signs of the injury that mostly plagued his serve. He reached 121 mph with one serve and needed several awkward body movements to return some of Coric’s shots.

“I need to practice,” Nadal said. “I need to return better. I need days. It’s better to come back when you’ve spent a period of time outside and win your first match. I wasn’t ready enough to win the match today. The big thing is to stay healthy. It’s a difficult injury to manage. I need to take it step-by-step.”

The match lasted 2 hours, 51 minutes, not including a rain delay of 1 hour, 25 minutes in the first set.

Earlier in women’s play, U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu routed Victoria Azarenka 6-0, 6-2.

The 19-year-old Raducanu won the final seven games against Serena Williams and the first 10 against Azarenka. Seeded 13th, Raducanu set up a match against No. 8 Jessica Pegula.

“I try not to think about the score,” Raducanu said. “I just try to focus on collecting points. I’m always concerned when things are going well. I always feel like something could go wrong.”

Sixth-ranked Simona Halep withdrew because of a right thigh injury before facing Veronica Kudermetova. Halep won last week in Toronto.

In an all-English men’s second-round match, 11th-ranked Cameron Norrie outlasted three-time Grand Slam-champion Andy Murray 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Also, Taylor Fritz beat Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2, and 19-year-old wild-card Ben Shelton upset fifth-ranked Casper Ruud. Shelton is the youngest American to defeat a top-five opponent since Andy Roddick beat No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten in 2001.

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.