Russia’s Elena Dementieva became the latest high-profile casualty at the Pan Pacific Open when the third seed was upset by Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko in the second round yesterday.
The Olympic champion was beaten 6-2, 6-7, 6-1 to leave the US$2 million Tokyo event shorn of its top three seeds, and she was quickly joined at the checkout counter by fourth seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who retired with a viral infection.
Former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova had no such problems, however, powering into the last 16 in Tokyo with an almost flawless 6-0, 6-1 victory over Australia’s Samantha Stosur.
Current No. 1 Dinara Safina, second seed Venus Williams and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova all lost their opening matches on Monday after first-round byes.
A tournament, which began with nine of the world’s top 10, was down to just two before the close of play yesterday.
Sharapova, 25th in the world rankings following shoulder surgery a year ago, answered the prayers of tournament organizers by overpowering 12th seed Stosur in just 57 minutes.
Stosur at least avoided the dreaded “double bagel” by saving two match points at 0-5 in the second set, but the Russian wrapped up a clinical victory with an ace two minutes later.
Sharapova next faces countrywoman Alisa Kleybanova, who knocked out sixth seed Vera Zvonareva 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in another Russian clash.
Beaten US Open finalist Wozniacki walked off court in obvious discomfort after losing the first five games of her match against Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak.
Jelena Jankovic advanced after beating Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
In doubles, Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Japan’s Kimiko Date Krum were defeated 5-7, 6-3, 7-10 by Gisela Dulko and Nadia Petrova.
Evgeny Korolev bid farewell to Frenchman Fabrice Santoro with a 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (9/7) opening-round victory that knocked the veteran out in his final appearance at the Thailand Open yesterday.
Seventh seed Santoro, 36, who came to the court with a 2-0 record over the Russian a decade and a half his junior, was unable to convert on three match points in the final-set tiebreaker.
Fighting back from 1-4 down in the decider, the French ace whose double-handed attack has befuddled several tennis generations of opponents missed on his trio of winning chances. Korolev answered with a forehand to the corner for victory.
The Frenchman played his first Challenger tournament in Cherbourg in October 1988, when Korolev was just eight months old.
Santoro, the world No. 39, will retire in November at the Paris Bercy event. His defeat in just under three hours of struggle at the Impact arena marked his fourth straight loss in the first round.
Santoro earned his last victory in a 13-16 season in his opening match in New Haven a month ago before exiting early at the US Open and last week in Metz.
Austrian sixth seed Jurgen Melzer secured easy passage over Brazilian Marcos Daniel 6-3, 6-2, while Andreas Beck, one of six Germans who began on the autumn ATP Asian tournament swing, beat France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-5, 7-6 (7/1). Switzerland’s 30-year-old Marco Chiudinelli followed up on a surprise US Open third-round place by reaching the second round with a defeat of Germany’s Florent Mayer 6-3, 6-3.
American third seed Sam Querrey pulled out of the tournament after undergoing emergency surgery for a freak arm injury sustained after a practice session, organizers said yesterday.
Querrey was sent to a hospital in Bangkok late on Monday after he stumbled and landed on a glass table, badly cutting his right forearm. The world No. 25 will be replaced in the singles main draw by compatriot and lucky loser Donald Young.
AFP AND DPA, KUALA LUMPUR
Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych raced away to a fast start but had to re-establish control to post a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 first-round win over Russian Igor Kunitsyn at the Malaysian Open yesterday.
Berdych, who led his nation into December’s Davis Cup final against Spain as he clinched a five-set win over Croatia’s Marin Cilic, needed 1 hour, 53 minutes to advance at the Putra stadium.
He broke five times while losing serve twice to the 46th-ranked challenger who beat him five years ago in Moscow and turns 28 today.
Victory for 16th-ranked Berdych was his 29th of the season against 20 losses. He has claimed one title this year, winning Munich on clay.
Argentine Martin Vassallo Arguello dimmed Spanish hope as he defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3. Indian qualifier Rohan Bopanna put out Argentine Jose Acasuso in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 comeback.
Crown favorite Lleyton Hewitt, seeded eighth, was playing a later match against Joachim Johansson.
Sweden’s Johansson has had only limited playing time in the past year as he deals with elbow injuries.
The former Top 10 last played on the ATP nearly 12 months ago in Stockholm and is competing in Malaysia on a wild card.
His activity this season has been limited to four Challenger-level events, the last one in May.
On Monday, American wild card Taylor Dent was his own worst enemy before finally getting a grip to squeeze out a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) defeat of Kazak Andrey Golubev to reach the second round.
The opening-day near-debacle featured eight double-faults — Dent’s seventh produced three break points to throw away a 5-4 lead in the final set — from the American, who missed more than two years of ATP played because of a pair of back operations that left him doubting his ability to ever compete again.
2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis, another wild card entry, needed almost three hours to stop Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan, ranked No. 75, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
Brendan Evans of the US earned the first victory of the week as ATP tennis returned to Malaysia after an absence of a decade and a half when he defeated fellow qualifier and compatriot Michael Yani 6-3, 6-4.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
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Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there
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