Aslan Karatsev loses opening match at Astana Open

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NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan — Three of the top four seeded players lost their opening matches at the Astana Open, including top-seeded Aslan Karatsev.

Karatsev, who reached the Australian Open semifinals this year, lost to Finnish player Emil Ruusuvuori 7-6 (6), 6-4. Third-seeded Dusan Lajovic and fourth-seeded Filip Krajinovic also lost.

Ruusuvuori, who reached his first tour semifinal last year at the Astana Open, will next face eighth-seeded Ilya Ivashka in the quarterfinals.

Karatsev’s season has tailed off since his run at the Australian Open and winning a title in Dubai. The Russian hasn’t won more than two consecutive singles matches since reaching the final at the Serbia Open in April. He had a first-round bye at the Astana Open and entered the tournament in the second round.

Lajovic was eliminated by South Korean opponent Kwon Soon-woo 7-5, 6-4. Kwon will next face seventh-seeded Laslo Djere.

Another seeded player was knocked out when James Duckworth beat Krajinovic 7-6 (2), 6-3 in their second-round match. That sets up an all-Australian quarterfinals match between Duckworth and defending champion John Millman.

Alexander Bublik is the highest-ranked player remaining after he beat Miomir Kecmanovic 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. The second-seeded player from Kazakhstan next faces Carlos Taberner, who beat Egor Gerasimov 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-5.

Naomi Osaka withdraws from next month’s Indian Wells tourney

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Naomi Osaka pulled out of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday, a move that was expected after she indicated following her U.S. Open loss this month that she planned to take another extended break from tennis.

The withdrawal was announced by the official Twitter feed for the hard-court tournament at Indian Wells, which is scheduled for Oct. 4-17 after twice being delayed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam champion who has been ranked No. 1 and is currently No. 8.

She last played at the U.S. Open, where her title defense ended with a third-round loss to eventual runner-up Leylah Fernandez on Sept. 3.

After that defeat, Osaka said: “I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match.”

Osaka, a 23-year-old who was born in Japan and now is based in the U.S., took time off earlier this season, a mental health break that began when she withdrew from the French Open before her second-round match. She also sat out Wimbledon, then returned for the Tokyo Olympics, where she lit the cauldron during the opening ceremony.

“I feel like for me, recently, when I win, I don’t feel happy, I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad,” Osaka said at her news conference following the 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 loss to Fernandez at Flushing Meadows. “I don’t think that’s normal.”

Swiatek, Kvitova, Kontaveit reach quarters of Ostrava Open

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Top-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland advanced to the quarterfinals of the Ostrava Open on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over unseeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.

The 2020 French Open champion converted three of her seven breakpoints and dropped her serve once to set up a quarterfinal match against either seventh-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan or fellow Pole Magda Linette at the hardcourt indoor tournament.

Second-seeded Petra Kvitova beat Anastasia Potapova of Russia 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-3 to make the quarterfinals. The two-time Wimbledon champion next faces either Jil Teichmann of Switzerland or American Alison Riske, who beat Fiona Ferro of France 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in their first round game on Wednesday.

In another first-round game, Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia eliminated Anna Blinkova of Russia, 6-4, 6-0 to meet fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit upset ninth-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals where she will play either Swiss third-seeded Belinda Bencic or another Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.