ROME (AP) — Serena Williams looked sharper than in her previous match two months ago as she opened her clay-court season with a routine 6-4, 6-2 win over Swedish qualifier Rebecca Peterson on...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Fourth-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia was among three of the world's top 20 players who lost to unseeded opponents at the Volvo Car Open on...
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Johanna Konta and Americans Amanda Anisimova and Lauren Davis won first-round matches as women's play began at the BNP Paribas Open.
Mertens upsets Halep in Qatar Open final for biggest title
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Unseeded Elise Mertens came from a set and a break down to beat recent No. 1 Simona Halep 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Qatar Open final and capture the biggest title of her career on Saturday.
Halep led 6-3, 2-0, then lost a service game for a third time to see the second set back on serve. Mertens continued to pressure, missing two more break chances in the seventh game but finally breaking — to love — in the ninth. The set was the first Mertens took from Halep in three matchups.
Kvitova beats Barty in Sydney International women’s final
SYDNEY (AP) — Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat Ashleigh Barty 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) in the women's singles final on Saturday at the Sydney International.
Barty led the deciding set 3-0 before Kvitova began a comeback to win her 26th WTA title.
Barty beat No. 1 Simona Halep, No.9 Kiki Bertens and No.12 Elise Mertens on her way to the final.
Kvitova apologized to Barty and the crowd for spoiling the Australian's Sydney party.
Ashleigh Barty into Sydney International singles final
SYDNEY (AP) — Ashleigh Barty continued her strong run at the Sydney International with a semifinal win over Kiki Bertens, beating the Dutch player 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 Friday.
Barty withstood 15 aces from Bertens in the 2-hour, 18-minute match to advance to her second consecutive final in Sydney.
She will play two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who beat Serbian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1, 6-2.
Sasnovich, Barty through to Sydney International semifinals
SYDNEY (AP) — Aliaksandra Sasnovich advanced to the Sydney International semifinals by beating Timea Bacsinszky 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday.
The 33rd-ranked Sasnovich reached the quarterfinals last week in Brisbane.
Sasnovich will next face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who beat 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-1 in a match twice suspended by rain.
Konta beats Mertens at Kremlin Cup
MOSCOW (AP) — Johanna Konta of Britain upset seventh-seeded Belgian Elise Mertens in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday.
Making up a 30-place rankings gap to the 14th-ranked Mertens, Konta took full advantage of Mertens' wayward serving to win 6-3, 7-5.
Garcia, Mertens cruise into Tianjin quarterfinals
TIANJIN, China (AP) — Second-seeded Caroline Garcia of France moved into the Tainjin Open quarterfinals after defeating Chinese qualifier Zhang Yuxuan 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday.
The 16th-ranked Garcia will play sixth-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia for a semifinal berth on Friday.
Third-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium also advanced by defeating Slovakian qualifier Jana Cepelova 6-2, 6-3.
Aryna Sabalenka advances to 2nd round at Tianjin Open
TIANJIN, China (AP) — Aryna Sabalenka moved closer to a spot in the WTA Finals by beating Sofia Kenin 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-0 in the first round of the Tianjin Open on Tuesday.
The fourth-seeded Sabalenka, who lost to Maria Sharapova in the final last year, won the Wuhan Open title two weeks ago. She also defeated Kenin en-route to that victory.
Second-seeded Caroline Garcia advanced by beating Chinese qualifier Xun Fang Ying 6-4, 6-1.
The Latest: 2009 champ del Potro to face Isner in US Open QF
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):
No. 3 seed Juan Martin del Potro continued his easy march through the U.S. Open, beating No. 20 Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals for the third year in a row.
The 2009 tournament champion has won all 12 sets he's played at Flushing Meadows so far in 2018.
Against Coric, del Potro produced 18 of his 33 winners with his powerful forehand.
US Open glance: 2017 champs Nadal, Stephens in 4th round
NEW YORK (AP) — A quick look at the U.S. Open:
The Latest: Ashe roof shut for Stephens-Azarenka at US Open
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):
The retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium was closed because of light rain during the second set of defending U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens' third-round match against Victoria Azarenka.
The match was delayed for less than 10 minutes.
Play continued on other courts without interruption, including the new Louis Armstrong Stadium, which has a retractable roof, too.
Sloane Stephens reaches Rogers Cup semifinals
MONTREAL (AP) — U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens romped into the Rogers Cup semifinals Friday, beating Anastasija Sevastova 6-2, 6-2.
The 25-year-old Stephens, ranked No. 3 in the world, won a hard-court title in Miami in March and lost the French Open final to top-ranked Simona Halep. In the semifinals, the American will face fifth-seeded defending champion Elina Svitolina.
Svitolina beat 14th-seeded Elise Mertens 7-5, 6-3 in the late match.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Mihaela Buzarnescu rallied past fourth-seeded Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday to set up a finals showdown against Maria Sakkari at the Silicon Valley Classic.
Fifth-seeded Buzarnescu got her third three-set victory of the tournament, ensuring she'll climb to at least No. 21 in the WTA rankings when they're released Monday. If she beats Sakkari in the final Sunday, she could improve to No. 20.
Azarenka eases into quarterfinals; Muguruza withdraws
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Victoria Azarenka, a former world No. 1, eased past lucky-loser Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-0 on Wednesday night in the second round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.
Azarenka broke the Russian teenager's serve six times to advance to face American qualifier Danielle Collins, a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 winner over Vera Lapko of Belarus.
Blinkova replaced Garbine Muguruza in the draw after the top-seeded Spaniard withdrew because of a right arm injury.
PARIS (AP) — A quick look at the French Open:
MADRID (AP) — Juan Martin del Potro marked his clay-season debut with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Damir Dzumhur in the second round of the Madrid Open on Tuesday.
It was the 22nd triumph this season for the sixth-ranked Del Potro, who has the most victories on the ATP Tour in 2018.
"I was playing well out there," said Del Potro, who won back-to-back titles in Acapulco and Indian Wells earlier this year.
Del Potro's next match is against Dusan Lajovic, who defeated Richard Gasquet 7-6 (1), 7-6 (1).
Elise Mertens wins Samsung Open for 3rd career WTA title
LUGANO, Switzerland (AP) — Second-seeded Elise Mertens won the Samsung Open on Sunday, beating Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-2 to take her third career WTA Tour title.
The 20th-ranked Belgian clinched on her first match point when the 19-year-old Sabalenka from Belarus netted a two-handed, backhand approach shot.
Mertens won her first clay-court event after winning the past two editions of the Hobart International on hard courts in Australia.
Kerber easily advances to 2nd round in Dubai; Bellis wins
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber needed less than an hour to beat Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-1 Tuesday in the first round of the Dubai Championships.
Fifth-seeded Caroline Garcia of France also advanced, beating Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5.
France wins doubles to beat Belgium 3-2 in Fed Cup
MOUILLERON-LE-CAPTIF, France (AP) — Two-time champion France advanced to the Fed Cup semifinals after beating Belgium 3-2 on Sunday, with Amandine Hesse and Kristina Mladenovic winning 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 against Elise Mertens and Kirsten Flipkens in the deciding doubles.
Fed Cup: Mladenovic levels for France against Belgium
MOUILLERON-LE-CAPTIF, France (AP) — Kristina Mladenovic beat Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-4 to draw France level with Belgium at 1-1 in their Fed Cup first-round match on Saturday.
The 13th-ranked Mladenovic constantly pressured Flipkens' serve, taking five of 11 break-point chances and beating the Belgian for the second time in two career meetings.
Elise Mertens, ranked 20th, earlier swept aside Pauline Parmentier 6-2, 6-1 to give Belgium the lead on the indoor hard court in western France.
Fed Cup: Parmentier to open play for France against Belgium
PARIS (AP) — Pauline Parmentier will open play against in-form Elise Mertens in France's Fed Cup first-round tie against Belgium on Saturday.
France's top player, Kristina Mladenovic, will take on Kirsten Flipkens in the second singles on the indoor hard-court of Mouilleron-le-Captif, in western France.
Mertens made it to the Australian Open semifinals last month, losing to eventual champion Caroline Wozniaki.
1st major, top ranking at stake in Halep-Wozniacki final
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — For the second time in the tournament, Simona Halep faced match points and knew one mistake would mean an exit from the Australian Open and the likely loss of her No. 1 ranking.
For the second time in just over a week, she attacked rather than take the safe approach. The 26-year-old Romanian saved two match points and needed four of her own against 2016 champion Angelique Kerber before winning 6-3, 4-6, 9-7 in the semifinals.
Cornet under investigation after missing 3 doping tests
PARIS (AP) — Alize Cornet is under investigation by the International Tennis Federation after missing three out-of-competition doping tests in the past year.
The French Tennis Federation, in a statement late Wednesday night, said it was informed by the ITF on Jan. 11 that an investigation was underway. Cornet was subsequently dropped from the French Fed Cup team to play Belgium next month.
Elise Mertens leading next generation of Belgian tennis
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — When Elise Mertens was growing up in the medieval city of Leuven, Belgium, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin were taking Belgian tennis to new heights. She remembers, back to when she was five, seeing Clijsters play for the first time — the year Clijsters made her first French Open final.
"I mean, what they achieved was amazing, and of course I looked up to them," Mertens said.
The Latest: Wozniacki advances to Australian Open semifinal
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Tuesday at the Australian Open (all times local):
Caroline Wozniacki has advanced to the semifinals at Melbourne Park with a 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-2 win over Carla Suarez Navarro in an early Wednesday morning finish at Rod Laver Arena.
The Latest: No. 4 Svitolina into Aussie Open quarterfinals
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Sunday from the Australian Open (all times local):
12:55 a.m. (Monday)
Fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina started her fourth-round match just before midnight Sunday at the Australian Open and was finished within an hour, beating Czech qualifier Denisa Allertova 6-3, 6-0 to reach the quarterfinals here for the first time.
Mertens successfully defends Hobart International title
HOBART, Australia (AP) — Second-seeded Elise Mertens broke Mihaela Buzarnescu's serve in the opening game and went on to beat the Romanian 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 Saturday to win the Hobart International title for the second consecutive year.
The match started late due to rain and there were two lengthy stoppages during the match.
Buzarnescu was attempting to win her first WTA title at the age of 29.
Defending champ Mertens facing Buzarnescu in Hobart final
HOBART, Australia (AP) — Elise Mertens will defend her Hobart International title in the final after eliminating 2015 champion Heather Watson 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 on Friday.
Mertens will play Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania, who has reached her maiden WTA final.
Buzarnescu beat fifth-seeded Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-2 in her second career semifinal. She is guaranteed to break into the top 50 rankings for the first time on Monday.
Watson, Mertens, Tsurenko through to Hobart semifinals
HOBART, Australia (AP) — British qualifier Heather Watson won the first 11 games of the match in defeating Donna Vekic 6-0, 6-4 and advancing to the Hobart International semifinals on Thursday.
Leading 5-0 in the second set, Vekic won four games in a row before Watson clinched it.
"I knew she'd change something and swing freely because you've got nothing to lose at that point," Watson said. "I just had to stick with her."
2nd-seeded Mertens advances to Hobart quarterfinals
HOBART, Australia (AP) — Defending champion Elise Mertens beat Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday to advance the Hobart International quarterfinals.
Mertens came from qualifying and No. 127 in the world in the 2017 Hobart event to win the title. She'll next meet last year's runner-up Monica Niculescu or American Varvara Lepchenko for a semifinal berth.
Mertens is the only seeded player left in her half of the draw and one of just three remaining in the tournament.
Germany one win away from Hopman Cup final vs Switzerland
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Two-time Grand Slam singles champion Angelique Kerber beat Australia's Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2 to put Germany one win away from a Hopman Cup final against Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.
Alexander Zverev played Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis in men's singles later Friday. A win by Zverev would clinch a spot in the final Saturday at Perth Arena against the Swiss pair.
Germany improves to 2-0 at Hopman Cup with win over Canada
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber gave Germany its second consecutive win at the Hopman Cup mixed teams tennis tournament with singles victories Wednesday over Canadians Vasek Pospisil and Eugenie Bouchard.
No. 4-ranked Zverev beat Pospisil 6-4, 6-2 and Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open and U.S. Open champion, defeated Bouchard 6-1, 6-3. Germany also won the Fast4 mixed doubles 4-3, 4-3.
Kerber wins twice as Germany beats Belgium 2-1 at Hopman Cup
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Angelique Kerber won both of her matches as Germany beat Belgium 2-1 in their opener at the mixed-team Hopman Cup at Perth Arena on Monday.
David Goffin kept Belgium in the Group A encounter with a 6-3, 6-3 win over fourth-ranked Alexander Zverev, after Kerber had beaten Elise Mertens 7-6 (6), 7-6 (1) in a match that featured 11 breaks of serve.
Roger Federer back for Switzerland at Hopman Cup team event
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer will return to partner Belinda Bendic for Switzerland at the Hopman Cup, while Japan will make its first appearance in 16 years at the international mixed team event.
After the last Hopman Cup, Federer went on to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon, his 18th and 19th Grand Slam singles titles.
Two-time Grand Slam singles Angelique Kerber will represent Germany with ATP No. 4 Alexander Zverev, tournament officials said Wednesday.
McHale extends title defense into Japan Women’s Open semis
TOKYO (AP) — Defending champion Christina McHale of the United States advanced to the semifinals of the Japan Women's Open by beating third-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-4, 6-1 on Friday.
"I felt like once I won that first set, I relaxed a little more in the second," McHale said. "I served better in the second set so was able to hold serve more."
McHale next faces qualifier Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, who beat eighth-seeded compatriot Yulia Putintseva 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Defending champion McHale reaches quarterfinals in Japan
TOKYO (AP) — Defending champion Christina McHale has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Japan Women's Open with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo.
McHale dominated with solid groundstrokes and took advantage of 10 double-faults by Tormo, who was coming off a win over three-time champion Sam Stosur, to set up a quarterfinal clash with Elise Mertens of Belgium.
Fett upsets Mladenovic to advance at Japan Women’s Open
TOKYO (AP) — Jana Fett advanced to the second round of the Japan Women's Open by beating top-seeded Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday.
Mladenovic rallied briefly by winning three games in the second set before the 20-year-old qualifier from Croatia served out the victory.
Pliskova advances to 2nd round at Japan Women’s Open
TOKYO (AP) — Fourth-seeded Kristyna Pliskova advanced to the second round of the Japan Women's Open by beating Chang Kai-chen of Taiwan 7-5, 7-5 on Monday.
The Czech had 14 aces in hot and windy conditions at Ariake Colloseum and will face either Nao Hibino or Miyu Kato in the second round.
Third-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium also advanced, beating Evgeniya Rodina of Russia 7-6 (6), 6-1.
Ace! Lindsay Davenport among female coaches in pro tennis
NEW YORK (AP) — Lindsay Davenport sat on the edge of her seat in the coaching box at Arthur Ashe Stadium, watching her player, 15th-seeded Madison Keys, compete in the U.S. Open.
Davenport is a former No. 1 and winner of three Grand Slam singles titles who is among a handful of female coaches in professional tennis. Keys is one of three players ranked in the WTA's top 20 with a female coach, joining French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and 20th-ranked Daria Gavrilova.
Gavrilova upsets Radwanska in Connecticut Open semifinals
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Australia's Daria Gavrilova will be playing for her first career title Saturday at the Connecticut Open.
The demonstrative 23-year-old upset top-seeded defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-4 in Friday night semifinals.
She will face Dominika Cibulkova for the championship of the last WTA tuneup before the U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam event of the season that starts Monday in New York.
NEW HAVEN — The women’s tennis world doesn’t lack for big hitters that want nothing more than a stress-free and match-free week before a Grand Slam.
However, Dominika Cibulkova doesn’t have a case of a pre-Grand Slam jitters.
Not only has she played in Eastbourne, the final Wimbledon tune-up in each of the last three years, but she is making her eighth appearance in the Connecticut Open which serves as the last event before the US Open.
NEW HAVEN — Elise Mertens was still a couple months shy of her sixth birthday the last time the WTA tour stop in New Haven could boast of having a pair of quarterfinalists from her native Belgium, so she was not about to reflect on that special circumstance. However, just being mentioned in the same sentence with retired Belgian tennis legends Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin certainly brought a smile to her face.