Bencic beats Kvitova to win Dubai Championships title
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Unseeded Swiss player Belinda Bencic pulled off another upset to win her first WTA title in three-and-a-half years, beating Petra Kvitova 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 Saturday...
Bencic upsets Halep to reach Dubai semifinals; Kvitova wins
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Unseeded Belinda Bencic rallied to beat second-ranked Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 Thursday to reach the Dubai Championships semifinals.
Kvitova, Halep advance at Dubai Championships
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Former champions Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep overcame windy conditions to reach the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships on Wednesday.
Serena Williams back in top 10 after giving birth
LONDON (AP) — Serena Williams has returned to the top 10 in the tennis rankings for the first time since taking a break to have her first child.
Williams dropped as low as 491st upon her return to competition in March 2018 but is up to No. 10 after reaching two Grand Slam finals since, losing to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka at the U.S. 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.
Romania upsets Czechs in Fed Cup, Australia beats US
Romania upset defending champion Czech Republic 3-2 to advance to the semifinals of the Fed Cup on Sunday, along with France, Belarus and Australia.
Romania reached the semifinals for the first time after its first victory against the Czechs, who won six titles in the last eight years.
Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu teamed up to clinch the best-of-five contest with a 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4 win over Czech pair Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova in the doubles.
Fed Cup: France and Belarus lead 2-0; Czechs and US tied
France and Belarus were in command of their Fed Cup first-round ties while 2018 finalists the Czech Republic and the United States were level in their ties on Saturday.
Australian Open semifinalist Karolina Pliskova won the first point for the Czechs against Romania after easing past Mihaela Burzanescu 6-1, 6-4 on an indoor hard-court in Ostrava.
But Simona Halep won the second singles by routing Katerina Siniakova, the star of last year's final victory against the United States, 6-4, 6-0.
Bertens beats Vekic to win St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Kiki Bertens won her third title in six months on Sunday, beating Donna Vekic 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the final of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
Second-seeded Bertens came back from 5-2 down in the first set to win four straight games and force a tiebreaker. Eighth-seeded Vekic saved three match points in the second set before Bertens closed out the match for her eighth career title.
Australian Open champ Osaka is Asia’s 1st No. 1 in tennis
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka is the first player from Asia to top the men's or women's tennis rankings — and the youngest woman to make her debut at No. 1 in nine years.
"I feel like I'm literally just still learning," the 21-year-old Osaka said. "Everyone kind of adjusts to being No. 1 in a different way."
Indian Wells tennis to feature all top 75 men and women
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — The BNP Paribas Open will include all of the top 75 ranked men's and women's players in the world, including defending champions Juan Martin del Potro and Naomi Osaka.
The tournament runs March 4-17 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in the Southern California desert.
Del Potro skipped the Australian Open while recovering from a knee injury, but he is on the entry list for Indian Wells.
Serena Williams ousts No. 1 Simona Halep at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — As Serena Williams made her way out to the Australian Open's main court during pre-match introductions, the voice booming over the stadium's speakers implored spectators to welcome "the world's No. 1 player — from Romania, Simona Halep."
Serena Williams beats top-ranked Simona Halep to reach Australian Open quarterfinals
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams beats top-ranked Simona Halep to reach Australian Open quarterfinals.
Serena vs No. 1 Halep at Australian Open feels like a final
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Australian Open matchup between former No. 1 Serena Williams and current No. 1 Simona Halep sure feels as if it could be the showdown of the tournament, a meeting to determine the champion.
Alas, all the winner will earn Monday is a quarterfinal berth.
And while Halep is the one who leads the tournament seedings and the WTA rankings right now, and is the one who more recently collected a major title, she is well aware of Williams' standing in the sport.
Halep edges American in Australia; Venus next; Serena wins
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Push Simona Halep to the brink, and she summons her best.
The Australian Open's top-seeded woman got all she could handle from 20-year-old American Sofia Kenin in the second round before taking the last four games to emerge with a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory that took 2½ hours Thursday.
"Well, I have no idea how I won this tonight," said Halep, the reigning French Open champion. "It's so tough to explain what happened on court."
Aussie Open No. 1 seed Halep avoids another 1st-round exit
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — It was happening all over again to Simona Halep: Seeded No. 1 at a Grand Slam tournament, in danger of bowing out in the first round — and against the same opponent, no less.
This time, Halep dug herself out of a deficit and figured out a way to stay at Melbourne Park.
Champions Wozniacki, Federer on different ends of spectrum
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Caroline Wozniacki is entering new territory at the Australian Open as a defending champion for the first time at a major. For Roger Federer, it's a well-worn experience.
A women's final last year featuring two players aiming for their first Grand Slam title finished with Wozniacki holding off top-ranked Simona Halep for the championship.
No. 1 Halep has new-found confidence ahead of Aussie Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Simona Halep was trying on her new shoes when she got the news direct from the draw about her tough section containing both Serena and Venus Williams at the Australian Open.
Even before she contemplates possible back-to-back matches in the third and fourth round against Venus and Serena, top-ranked Halep has to get through an opening match against Kaia Kanepi, who beat her in the first round at the U.S. Open last year.
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.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN ’19: So many Slam champs over past 2 years
When Serena Williams was at her best, there was never much doubt that she'd be the favorite at pretty much any tournament she entered. While she was off the tour becoming a mom, women's tennis was as wide open as ever.
Could the Australian Open, where play begins Monday (Sunday EST), end the recent run in which eight women divvied up the past two years' worth of Grand Slam championships, the first time that had happened since the 1930s?
Andreescu continues hot streak, qualifies for Aussie Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Bianca Andreescu has followed up her wins last week over defending Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki and seven-time major winner Venus Williams by qualifying for the season's first Grand Slam tournament.
The 18-year-old Canadian would like to follow it up with another win over a big-name player — like No. 1 Simona Halep or Serena Williams.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN ’19: Halep No. 1; Williams seeks 24th major
Women to watch at the Australian Open, where play begins Monday:
2018 Match Record: 46-11
2018 Singles Titles: 3
Career Singles Titles: 18
Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — French Open (2018)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 2018-Runner-Up, 2017-Lost in 1st Rd, 2016-1st Rd, 2015-QF, 2014-QF
Aces: Will remain at No. 1 at the end of the Australian Open, regardless of results there, giving her 48 weeks in a row at the top spot.
Djokovic, Federer on opposite sides of Australian Open draw
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are aiming for the same record from opposite sides of the draw, leaving open the prospect of them playing in the final for a seventh Australian Open title.
Top-ranked Djokovic and defending champion Federer enter the season-opening major equal with Roy Emerson, who won his six Australian singles championships between 1961-67, before the Open era.
Novak Djokovic, Simona Halep top seeds for Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, as expected, were given the No. 1 seedings on Thursday when the Australian Open announced its singles seedings list.
Defending champion Roger Federer is seeded No. 3 after Rafael Nadal, while women's defending singles champion Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Halep in last year's final at Melbourne Park, is No. 3 behind second-seeded and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.
Barty beats No. 1 Simona Halep in Romanian’s tour return
SYDNEY (AP) — Ashleigh Barty broke Simona Halep's serve in the final game to beat the No. 1-ranked Halep 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match Wednesday at the Sydney International.
It was Halep's first match since October after a lengthy layoff due to a herniated disc in her back. Halep won last year's French Open and lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final.
No. 1 Simona Halep back in action at Sydney International
SYDNEY (AP) — No. 1-ranked Simona Halep returns to competitive tennis this week at the Sydney International unsure if her back injury has fully healed.
It will be the first time Halep has played since the French Open champion ended her season in October due to a herniated disc in her back.
And while the injury didn't require surgery, Halep, who has previously battled similar injuries during her junior years, has spent much of the past three months off the court.
Modric wins Balkan award ahead of Djokovic and Halep
SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Croatia soccer star Luka Modric has been chosen Balkan athlete of the year.
Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then guided Croatia to the World Cup final in July, where the midfielder was voted player of the tournament. He also won the prestigious Ballon d'Or for the first time earlier in December.
Tennis great Novak Djokovic of Serbia was second in the Balkan poll, and Romania's Simona Halep third.
Top-ranked Djokovic, Halep honored by ITF as World Champions
LONDON (AP) — Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep were named the 2018 World Champions by the International Tennis Federation on Thursday after each won Grand Slam titles and finished the year atop the world rankings.
Djokovic, recognized by the ITF for the sixth time, won the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles a year after undergoing surgery on his right elbow.
All top players set for Australian Open in January
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australian Open officials say the world's top 102 women and top 101 men have confirmed they will compete at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of 2019.
World No. 1 Simona Halep heads up the women's field and Novak Djokovic, seeking his record seventh Australian Open title, is the No. 1-ranked male player.
The tournament begins Jan. 14 at Melbourne Park with Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki as singles defending champions.
Cahill quits as No. 1 Halep coach for 12-month break
SYDNEY (AP) — Darren Cahill says he is ending his four-year coaching partnership with No. 1-ranked Simona Halep to take a 12-month break and spend more time at home with his family.
Cahill said on Instagram on Saturday that he wanted to offer "support as our children enter important stages of their lives with the final year of high school, sports and college preparations all becoming more time consuming."
Chris Evert trophy will go to No. 1 player in WTA
SINGAPORE (AP) — The Women's Tennis Association has dedicated its trophy for the top-ranked player of the year in honor of Chris Evert.
Simona Halep has received the newly named Chris Evert WTA World No. 1 Trophy. She's the year-end No. 1 for the second straight season. Halep isn't playing in the current WTA Finals because of a back injury.
Svitolina and Pliskova win opening matches at WTA Finals
SINGAPORE (AP) — Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina secured opening round-robin match wins at the WTA Finals on Sunday.
Pliskova, who now leads the tour with 48 wins this season, defeated defending champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-2, 6-4 in the second match.
Pliskova saved all 10 break points she faced in the match, including two when serving for the match in the final game. The Czech closed out the match on a third match point with an ace.
Osaka drawn with 2 other Grand Slam champions at WTA Finals
SINGAPORE (AP) — U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka was drawn in the same group as Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens for her debut appearance at the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Karolina Pliskova, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina are in the other group for the end-of-season tournament starting on Sunday.
Top-ranked Simona Halep withdraws from WTA Finals
SINGAPORE (AP) — The Women's Tennis Association said Thursday that No. 1-ranked Simona Halep has withdrawn from the WTA Finals because of a lower back injury.
Halep's withdrawal means Kiki Bertens has qualified for the final spot, joining Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina in Singapore for the $7 million tournament from Oct. 21-28.
Pliskova and Svitolina secure spots at WTA Finals
MOSCOW (AP) — Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina secured the last two places at the season-ending WTA Finals despite neither winning a match on Wednesday.
The fifth-ranked Pliskova lost to Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-2 at the Kremlin Cup, giving the idle Svitolina a spot in the tournament in Singapore. Kiki Bertens then lost to Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 a short time later, handing Pliskova the final spot.
Simona Halep earns 2nd straight year-end No. 1 ranking
LONDON (AP) — Simona Halep is back as the year-end No. 1 for the second year in a row, despite a back injury that doctors say could lead to a long-term problem.
Halep, who won her first major title at this year's French Open, clinched the year-end top tennis ranking on Monday but may be forced to pull out of the upcoming Kremlin Cup and the season-ending WTA Finals because of a herniated disk.
No. 1 Simona Halep has MRI exam that shows herniated disk
No. 1-ranked Simona Halep has a herniated disk in her back, putting the rest of her season in doubt.
Halep wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that she had an MRI exam that revealed the injury.
She retired from her first-round match at the China Open on Sunday, citing a back problem that has been bothering her.
The season-ending WTA Finals begin in Singapore on Oct. 21.
Halep retires from China Open 1st round with back injury
BEIJING (AP) — Top-ranked Simona Halep retired Sunday from her first-round match at the China Open.
Halep lost the first set 6-1 to Tunisia's Ons Jabeur before retiring with a back injury that she also had problems with at last week's Wuhan Open.
It's the fourth straight loss for the defending French Open champion.
Wozniacki, Kerber, Kvitova reach Wuhan third round
WUHAN, China (AP) — Second-ranked Caroline Wozniacki reached the third round of a tournament for the first time since June at the Wuhan Open on Tuesday, while No. 1 Simona Halep lost in straight sets.
US Open glance: 2017 champs Nadal, Stephens in 4th round
NEW YORK (AP) — A quick look at the U.S. Open:
The Latest: Maria Sharapova moves into 3rd round at US Open
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):
Maria Sharapova overcame a bit of a stumble and 10 double-faults to grab the last three games in a 6-2, 7-5 victory over 51st-ranked Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-2, 7-5 in the U.S. Open's second round.
No. 2 Wozniacki follows No. 1 Halep on way out at US Open
NEW YORK (AP) — All it took was two rounds at the U.S. Open for the top two seeded women to leave the draw, with No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki following No. 1 Simona Halep on the way out.
For Wozniacki, a two-time finalist at Flushing Meadows and the reigning Australian Open champion, her 6-4, 6-2 loss to 36th-ranked Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine on Thursday night was a second consecutive second-round Grand Slam exit.