Fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber and fellow German Andrea Petkovic advanced to the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International with straight-set wins yesterday.
Kerber beat Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-0 to set up a meeting with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, while Petkovic had a 7-5, 6-4 win over Ekaterina Makarova to move into a quarter-final against US qualifier Samantha Crawford, who had an upset 7-5, 7-5 win over seventh-seeded Belinda Bencic.
The two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka reached the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ysaline Bonaventure.
Bonaventure, a lucky loser from qualifying, was cast into the second round yesterday as a replacement for top-seeded Simona Halep, who had a bye before withdrawing from a scheduled second-round match with Azarenka because of an Achilles tendon problem.
The No. 2-ranked Halep announced her withdrawal within an hour of defending champion Maria Sharapova pulling out of the tournament with a left forearm injury.
On the men’s side, second-seeded Kei Nishikori advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Mikhail Kukushkin in his first competitive outing of the season in Australia.
He is aiming to reach the semifinals in Brisbane for the fourth straight year with a win over Bernard Tomic, who defeated Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4).
Eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Denis Kudla.
Fickle winds produced farcical scenes yesterday on day two of the America’s Cup challenger series in Auckland, as the so-called “flying” yachts spent almost as much time in the water as above it. “I’m not sure today is a really accurate read because it’s so puffy, it’s shifty,” British sailing legend Ben Ainslie said after his Ineos Team UK maintained their perfect start to the Prada Cup series with a third straight win. The series would determine which of the 23m yachts — which fly above the water balanced on hi-tech foil arms — would challenge defending champion Team New Zealand for
VIRUS RISK: India’s Saina Nehwal tested positive for COVID-19 at the Yonex Thailand Open, while three other players were being retested after receiving conflicting results Taiwanese badminton star Tai Tzu-ying yesterday returned to international competition after an eight-month break with a victory at the Yonex Thailand Open in Bangkok. Twenty-six-year-old Tai, 26, the top-seeded player at the tournament, met 18-year-old Thai player Benyapa Aimsaard in the opening round and narrowly won 21-18, 26-24. Her previous tournament was the Yonex All England Open in March last year, where she won the women’s singles title, before the BWF World Tour was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Benyapa was a last-minute replacement after another Thai player pulled out of the event. It was a rollercoaster match for Tai.
NO FAIRY TALE: Non-league Marine tried to bridge the biggest gap between opponents in FA Cup history, but the part-timers fell to a 5-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur Leeds United on Sunday suffered a humiliating FA Cup exit against Crawley Town as the League Two side swept to a stunning 3-0 win, while eighth-tier Marine’s hopes of causing the competition’s greatest shock were crushed in a 5-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur. After the spiking COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc with matches across the third round on Friday and Saturday, the FA Cup was back on more familiar ground on Sunday as Leeds became the competition’s latest big name to be knocked out by feisty underdogs. While Marine’s romantic adventure was cut short by a Carlos Vinicius hat-trick, and Chelsea and Manchester
DOUBLES VICTORY: The men’s doubles pairing of Taiwanese Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin downed Malaysians Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi, and face South Koreans today Men’s badminton world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen yesterday marched into the semi-finals of the Thailand Open, defeating younger opponent Lee Zii-jia 21-17, 21-15 after a rally, while Tai Tzu-ying had no trouble getting past her Canadian opponent in the women’s singles. The top male Taiwanese credited calm and focus in securing his win after briefly falling behind against his 22-year-old Malaysian opponent. “I think I had more patience against him and I won most of the long rallies,” the 31-year-old Chou said of Lee. “He wanted to attack [too much] and maybe he lost some focus,” Chou said. In today’s semi-finals, second-seeded Chou faces