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Miami Open: Puig beats Stosur, reaches second round

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Monica Puig

Miami (US), March 22: Puerto Rican player Monica Puig advanced to the second round of the 2018 Miami Open after defeating Australian Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-4.

Puig played better than her Australian rival in the match on Stadium Court in the Tennis Center at Crandon Park here on Wednesday, where she managed to win the first set, taking advantage of the lead she achieved in the eighth game, reports Efe news agency.

In the second set, Puig did not take long to clinch a 2-0 lead, and although she let her serve slip in the sixth game, she immediately regained control of the court and won the set.

Read more…Serena bows out in first round of Miami Open

Prior to this match, Stosur had enjoyed a record of four victories and two losses in a total of six matches against Puig but the Puerto Rican has won their last two matches.

The next match will not be easy for the gold medallist of the 2016 Rio Olympics as she is scheduled to take on No.2 seed, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, who was a finalist in the 2017 Miami Open.

IANS

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Kasatkina wins Kremlin Cup title, ends Jabeur’s historic run

Kasatkina’s victory also means she will head to the WTA Finals in Singapore after overtaking Aryna Sabalenka as the first alternate.

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Picture Credit Twitter : @DKasatkina

Moscow, Oct 20 : Daria Kasatkina of Russia won the Kremlin Cup title on Saturday, prevailing over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 and ending Jabeur’s historic run in which she became her country’s first-ever WTA finalist.

Kasatkina, World No. 14 and her country’s highest-ranked player, needed a little over two hours to claim her second WTA trophy and her first on home soil, having lost to Germany’s Julia Gorges in straight sets in the 2017 championship match, reports Efe.

But Saturday’s match looked to be headed in a similar direction as her 24-year-old Tunisian opponent, ranked world No. 101, easily came out on top in the opening set and took a 4-1 lead in the second.

However Kasatkina staged a comeback, and two extremely long breaks in a row sent them into the tie-breaker, which the 22-year-old Russian won.

After a tough third set, Kasatkina outlasted Jabeur and won the Premier-level trophy, becoming one of the few Russian players to do so, alongside Anastasia Myskina (2003-2004), Anna Chakvetadze (2006), Elena Dementieva (2007), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2014) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2015-2016), according to the WTA.

Kasatkina’s victory also means she will head to the WTA Finals in Singapore after overtaking Aryna Sabalenka as the first alternate.

IANS

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La Liga: Levante stuns Real Madrid 2-1

After Saturday’s loss, a struggling Real Madrid has failed to win its last four Spanish league matches, suffering three defeats and a draw, reports Efe.

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Picture Credit Twitter @EjeCentral

Madrid, Oct 20 : On the strength of two goals in the opening minutes, Levante stunned Real Madrid 2-1 on Saturday, earning their second-ever win against Madrid and their third consecutive La Liga victory.

After Saturday’s loss, a struggling Real Madrid has failed to win its last four Spanish league matches, suffering three defeats and a draw, reports Efe.

Los Blancos conceded two goals in the first 13 minutes, then suffered a run of bad luck as they hit the woodwork three times and had two goals ruled out.

Madrid’s third consecutive defeat in all competitions brings coach Julen Lopetegui one step closer to departure, as the team was overwhelmed by a brave Levante squad who relied on five players in the midfield, a strategy that paid off more quickly than they may have imagined.

Just six minutes into the first half, Levante left wing Jose Luis Morales got a long pass by defender Sergio Postigo and took advantage of a lapse of concentration from Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, dribbling past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and putting it home.

The VAR stepped in a few minutes later when a nervous Varane touched the ball with his hand and the referee initially awarded Levante a free kick on the edge of the penalty area.

After the VAR team’s review, the call was changed to a penalty kick that Roger Marti successfully converted.

Just a few minutes later, Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio scored after seizing on a ricocheted ball off the woodwork, but the referee ruled it offside after checking the video replay.

Shortly before the break, Levante’s Ruben Rochina scored what could have been a third goal if not for the VAR team, who disallowed it for being offside.

As the minutes ticked away, Real Madrid was under increasing pressure, and coach Lopetegui’s changes – first inserting French forward Karim Benzema and then Walsh forward Gareth Bale – failed to bring the desired result.

Los Blancos got on the scoreboard in the 72nd minute on a close-range shot by Brazilian defender Marcelo, who broke the team’s record goalless drought of eight hours and one minute, but the equalizer remained beyond their reach.

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Shuttler Srikanth out; Saina in final of Denmark Open

Srikanth struggled from the start and failed to find his rhythm which cost him the match.

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Odense (Denmark), Oct 20 : Star Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth lost his men’s singles semi-final match to Kento Momota of Japan while Saina Nehwal entered the women’s singles final of the Denmark Open here on Saturday.

Second seed Momota took 42 minutes to outplay the seventh seed Indian shuttler 21-16, 21-12 in straight games to advance while Saina got the better of Gregoria Mariska Tunjunng of Indonesia 21-11 21-12 in a lop-sided affair which lasted 49 minutes.

It was a cake walk for Saina as she hardly broke sweat to beat her opponent.

Srikanth struggled from the start and failed to find his rhythm which cost him the match.

Earlier, late on Friday night, Saina Nehwal and Srikanth entered the semi-finals of the Denmark Open but were made to sweat en route by Nozomi Okuhara and Sameer Verma respectively.

Saina came back from a game down to beat familiar foe and world number seven Okuhura of Japan 17-21, 21-16, 21-12 in the quarter-final lasting 58 minutes on Friday night.

On the other hand, Srikanth too had to grind it out against countryman Verma with little separating the two in the men’s singles last-eight clash.

In the end, Srikanth prevailed over the 23rd ranked Indian in an epic battle lasting an hour and 18 minutes with the final scoreline reading 22-20, 19-21, 23-21.

Verma had the upper hand for major parts of the third and deciding game where he even had a 17-13 lead before Srikanth roared back to eke out the triumph.

In the women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost to top seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in the quarter-finals.

IANS

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