Osaka's 23-match win streak ends against Sakkari in Miami
Maria Sakkari, of Greece, reacts after winning a point against Naomi Osaka, of Japan, during the quarterfinals of the Miami Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Sakkari won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)MIAMI – As Naomi Osaka's 23-match winning streak neared an end Wednesday, she paused before serving to crane her neck and study the sky, as if seeking intervention from above. 23-seeded Maria Sakkari, who upset Osaka 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open. Good job.”Osaka made just 41% of her first serves and paid a price, because Sakkari aggressively attacked the second set. “I just did what I had to do.”Osaka took a 40-0 lead in the opening game, but didn’t win another point on her serve until the second set.
Barty goes distance, tops Azarenka to reach Miami quarters
Ashleigh Barty of Australia, returns to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, during the Miami Open tennis tournament, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)MIAMI – Ash Barty is tough to beat under any circumstances, especially when she’s on the ropes. The world’s top-ranked player has reached the Miami Open quarterfinals, getting there by holding off 14th-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-1, 1-6, 6-2. This, too, was cool: The match lived up to its showdown potential, with the reigning Miami Open champion and current world No. 1 in Barty facing someone who has won the Miami title three times and a previous world No. Svitolina will play unseeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the quarters; Sevastova was a 6-1, 7-5 winner over wild-card Ana Konjuh of Croatia.
The tennis crowd: players thrive with fans back in Australia
There was no certainty until last month that the Australian Open would even be staged. Wimbledon was canceled in 2020, there were no fans permitted at the U.S. Open and very few allowed at Roland Garros. The three-week delay to start the Australian Open this year will mean a slightly different atmosphere — the summer holidays are over, for a start — but that’s unlikely to upset organizers or players. “That’s the first thing I’m looking forward to when I come to Australia, so it was great. Ad“I don’t have a professional tournament back home, so ... every time I come back to Australia, it feels like I’m at home.”___More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Kenin beats Putintseva to reach Abu Dhabi quarterfinals
Kenin is the top-seeded woman in Abu Dhabi, where the first womens tour-level tennis event of 2021 begins main-draw play on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)ABU DHABI – Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin of the United States came back from match point down to beat Yulia Putintseva and reach the quarterfinals of the Abu Dhabi Open on Saturday. Kenin posted 57 unforced errors to Putintseva's 43 but still prevailed 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 over the 13th-seeded Putintseva. Kenin dropped the opening set for the second consecutive match in Abu Dhabi. Also, Aryna Sabalenka recorded her 12th consecutive win in tour matches with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Ons Jabeur.
Serena Williams into US Open semifinals, closer to 24th Slam
Serena Williams, of the United States, reacts during a match against Tsvetana Pironkova, of Bulgaria, during the quarterfinals of the US Open tennis championships, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in New York. Two more victories for Williams would allow her to claim a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. Williams last lost before the semifinals in New York all the way back in 2007, when Justine Henin eliminated her in the quarterfinals. Another 15 strokes followed, with Williams hitting a forehand passing shot that Pironkova volleyed into the tape of the net. That afforded Williams a third break point, which was converted for a 1-0 lead when Pironkova sent a forehand long.
'It's how you finish': Serena Williams into Open semifinals
Serena Williams, of the United States, reacts during a match against Tsvetana Pironkova, of Bulgaria, during the quarterfinals of the US Open tennis championships, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in New York. Williams last lost before the semifinals in New York in 2007, when Justine Henin eliminated her in the quarterfinals. Another 15 strokes followed, with Williams smacking a forehand passing shot that Pironkova volleyed into the net tape. A couple of times, Pironkova drew Williams forward with a drop shot, then took the point with a perfectly arced lob. But after compiling only five unforced errors in the first set, Pironkova had 21 over the last two.
The Latest: Serena Williams in 4th-round action at US Open
NEW YORK The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times EDT):12:05 p.m.Serena Williams and Maria Sakkari are on court in Arthur Ashe Stadium to warm up for their fourth-round meeting at the U.S. Open. It is a rematch of a contest Sakkari won less than two weeks ago at the Western & Southern Open, a hard-court tournament played this year at Flushing Meadows. Williams owns six U.S. Open titles and 23 Grand Slam singles championships in all. Sakkari, a 25-year-old from Greece, is trying to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. The winner will face Alize Cornet or Tsvetana Pironkova next.
Down but not out, Serena Williams yells herself to Open win
Serena Williams, of the United States, reacts after defeating Maria Sakkari, of Greece, during the quarterfinals of the US Open tennis championships, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)NEW YORK Theres no crowd at the U.S. Open this year to pull for Serena Williams and try to push her to victory. Shouting at herself point after point, Williams came back from a third-set deficit against a woman she lost to less than two weeks ago, and took another step closer to Grand Slam title No. When the match ended, Williams turned and yelled toward her husband, who stood at his front-row seat and yelled right back. She sent a backhand return long to give Sakkari her fifth set point, then pushed a forehand out.
The Latest: Williams-Stephens on tap at sunny US Open
NEW YORK The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):11:30 a.m.Day 6 has started at the year's second Grand Slam tournament the U.S. Open normally closes the major tennis championship season but the pandemic caused changes to the calendar. The sun is shining and the temperature is in the mid-70s Fahrenheit (mid-20s Celsius) as the third round continues Saturday. The highlight of the afternoon is expected to be Serena Williams against Sloane Stephens in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Williams owns 23 Grand Slam singles titles, including six in New York. Stephens won the 2017 U.S. Open.
Williams takes 10 of 12 games to beat Stephens at US Open
Serena Williams, of the United States, reacts during a match against Sloane Stephens, of the United States, during the third round of the US Open tennis championships, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)NEW YORK In danger of her earliest exit at the U.S. Open since her debut 22 years ago, Serena Williams turned things around and took over against Sloane Stephens. Williams collected 10 of the last 12 games by lifting her level, to be sure. You know, Serena is Serena," Sakkari said after advancing earlier Saturday by beating 19-year-old American Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 6-1. Quickly, that set belonged to Stephens, who held at love when all four points ended with Williams miscues.
Osaka withdraws in protest; W&S put on hold Thursday
Naomi Osaka, of Japan, leaves the court after winning her match with Anett Kontaveit, of Estonia, during the quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in New York. Soon after, the whole tournament was put on hold for a day. Osaka tweeted that as a Black woman, she feels compelled to pull out of the tournament to put a focus on police shooting Black people. "Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach. I have to be patient, to try to enjoy every single match I play here after six months without competing.
Djokovic's neck better, as is his play; now 20-0 in 2020
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns a shot from Tennys Sandgren during the third round at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)NEW YORK Novak Djokovics neck felt much better, and his tennis looked much better, in a 6-2, 6-4 victory over unseeded American Tennys Sandgren at the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday that improved the No. The Western & Southern Open is usually held in Ohio but was moved to the U.S. Opens site in Flushing Meadows this year to make for a two-event, no-spectator bubble amid the pandemic. He has won five of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments, including at the Australian Open in February. Womens quarterfinal matchups set earlier in the day were two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka against Anett Kontaveit, former No.
Pain in the neck: Djokovic gets by in 1st post-hiatus match
A trainer works on the neck of Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, during his match with Ricardas Berankis, of Lithuania, during the second round at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in New York. 1-ranked Djokovic was playing his first ATP match in six months because of the coronavirus pandemic; he pulled out of the doubles event Sunday because of his neck. That major championship's site in Flushing Meadows is hosting the Ohio-based Western & Southern Open, too, as part of an unusual doubleheader with no spectators. Like Djokovic, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka emerged with difficult wins, while two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, the No. Djokovic now meets American Tennys Sandgren, a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (5) winner over No.
AP Interview: Palermo Open to mark the return of tennis
FILE -- In this June 8, 2017 file photo Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko plays a shot against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France. With second-ranked Simona Halep joined by 2017 French Open champion Jeena Ostapenko and last years Roland Garros finalist Markta Vondrouov, this years Palermo Ladies Open, the Aug. 3-9 event marking the return of tour-level tennis following a five-month break for the coronavirus pandemic, will be like no other. A finalist from last years French Open. With second-ranked Simona Halep joined by 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and last years Roland Garros finalist Markta Vondrouov, this years Palermo Ladies Open tennis tournament will be like no other. Theyre coming just because they want to play and return to their normal lives.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports___Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf