Sixth-seeded Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine defeated Karolina Sprem of Croatia 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the first round of the US$220,000 GDF Suez Grand Prix on Monday.
Bondarenko broke Sprem’s serve at 1-1 in the first set and later jumped out to a 4-2 lead but the Croatian came back to win four games in a row to take the set.
Sprem, a semi-finalist at this tournament last year, took a 3-1 lead in the second set but this time it was Bondarenko who won four consecutive games to even up the match.
Sprem began the decisive set by winning her own service game but that was as far as she got, as Bondarenko won six straight games to win the match, her first WTA win over Sprem after losses in 2001 and 2006.
Maria Elena Camerin of Italy also scored her first defeat over Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1.
■HALL OF FAME
AP, NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
Prakash Amritraj and Taylor Dent won their opening matches at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Monday.
India’s Amritraj, the runner-up last year, beat Danai Udomchoke of Thailand, 6-1, 6-4 and Dent, the 2002 Newport champion, defeated Marcos Daniel of Brazil, 6-2, 6-1.
In other first-round action, Brendan Evans of the US ousted No. 4-seeded Benjamin Becker 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-5, when the German double-faulted on the final point. Jesse Levine beat Australia’s Chris Guccione, 7-6 (2) 7-6 (2); Daniel Brands of Germany beat Vince Spadea 6-0, 6-4; and American Robby Ginepri ousted Santiago Ventura of Spain, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
Top-seeded Mardy Fish withdrew after replacing Andy Roddick on the US Davis Cup team.
Fish was selected for the team a day after Roddick lost an epic Wimbledon final to Roger Federer. Roddick withdrew from the Davis Cup citing a right hip flexor injury.
AP, BASTAD, SWEDEN
Fifth-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania beat Swedish wild card Johanna Larsson 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the first round of the Swedish Open on Monday.
Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also advanced to the second round of the clay-court WTA tournament, coming from one set down to defeat US veteran Jill Craybas 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a rain-delayed match.
Eighth-seeded Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic defeated Poland’s Urszula Radwanska 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia and Gisela Dulko of Argentina also progressed to the second round.
APPROPRIATE RESPONSE: The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan expressed ‘sincere regret’ for publishing the image on its in-house magazine and Web site A satirical mock-up depicting the Tokyo Games logo as the novel coronavirus has been pulled from online after Olympic organizers branded it “insensitive” and said that it infringed copyright. The design combines the distinctive, spiky image of the coronavirus cell with the blue-and-white Tokyo Games logo. It appeared on the cover of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s magazine. The Tokyo Games have been postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and halted sport worldwide. Club president Khaldon Azhari yesterday said that the club had decided to withdraw the image and remove
Uncertainty grips next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympic Games: Will there be fans or empty stadiums in 14 months? How will thousands of athletes, staff members and technical officials travel, be housed and stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? And the Tokyo Games are not the only event. China, where COVID-19 was first detected, is to hold three mega-sports events in the year after the Tokyo Olympics are set to close. The World University Games in Chengdu, China, are to open, with up to 8,000 athletes, only 10 days after the Tokyo Games close. Next come the Beijing Winter Olympics beginning on Feb. 4, 2022,
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When South Korea’s domestic women’s golf tour held its premier event last week — without spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic — no fewer than three of the world’s top 10 players took part. The country of 52 million people has a disproportionate share of the women’s world golf rankings, providing eight of the current top 20. In a demonstration of their prominence, South Korean women have won at least one major every season since 2010, with coronavirus cancellations perhaps the biggest threat to their run this year. The phenomenon, players and commentators have said, results from driven parents, intense training, a highly