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Kiki Bertens outclassed Elena Rybakina to retain her St Petersburg Ladies' Trophy title and Magda Linette won the Thailand Open on Sunday.

Bertens became the first player to win back-to-back titles in St Petersburg, easing to a 6-1 6-3 victory over eighth seed Rybakina.

World number eight Bertens, who was due to face the returning Kim Clijsters in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships before withdrawing this weekend, was in tears after losing just one set this week to claim a 10th WTA title.

She saved all five break points she faced, securing a first title this year.

"I never expect any match to be easy. It didn't feel easy, of course, even though the scoreline was. At the end, I felt a little bit nervous, but I was just happy to close it out," second seed Bertens said. 

"I just tried to approach every point the same, no matter what the score is. Sometimes, on a break point, you go for a little more on serve, and that's what I did today."

Linette sealed the second WTA Tour title of her career with a 6-3 6-2 defeat of qualifier Leonie Kung in Hua Hin.

Teenager Kung, playing in the main draw of an event at this level for only the second time, failed to break Linette's serve and was made to pay for being unable to hold on three occasions.

Gael Monfils followed up last week's third Open Sud de France title by defending his Rotterdam Open crown, dealing teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime further ATP Tour final agony.

In-form world number nine Monfils triumphed at the Montpellier championship the previous Sunday and made it nine straight Tour wins with a 6-2 6-4 success this time.

Canada's Auger-Aliassime, on the other hand, is still waiting for his first senior career title and was never really in the contest as Monfils ended the week without dropping a set.

Playing his fourth Tour final after a trio of 2019 defeats, the 19-year-old made a nervous start and was required to rescue three break points in just the third game after some wayward initial work with the forehand.

Auger-Aliassime merely delayed the setback until his next service game, though, Monfils coming out on top for a 3-2 lead as the pair did battle at the net.

Following a brief Monfils scare, Auger-Aliassime went long when defending a third break opportunity next time out and slipped further behind, allowing the third seed to serve out the opener.

There was no improvement from the Canadian when the match resumed, the second set beginning with a series of errors and a crushing break to love.

Monfils stylishly got the better of an apparently defeated Auger-Aliassime at the net to tee up another three openings, taking the last of them.

The Frenchman stuttered badly when serving for the championship and lost one of his breaks as Auger-Aliassime belatedly rallied, but the victory was eventually sealed.

Kim Clijsters revealed she could not ignore the recurring temptation to come out of retirement as she prepares to make her WTA Tour comeback against Garbine Muguruza.

The former world number one will come up against Muguruza in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday, seven and a half years after her last professional match.

Clijsters, who will face Muguruza rather than Kiki Bertens after the world number eight withdrew from the tournament, had to delay her return due to a knee injury.

The 36-year-old four-time grand slam singles champion raised eyebrows last September when announcing she would play at the highest level again.

Clijsters had been thinking of resuming her career for some time and encouraging words from her husband were also a factor in making the bold move to get back on court.

"It was a feeling that I had inside, a feeling that I had inside for a little while," said the Belgian, who has also won two major doubles titles.

"Once in a while that feeling would go away when I was home with the kids. A couple times it would come back. It got stronger and stronger."

She added: "I talked to my husband. He was like, 'Stop worrying about why and ask yourself: Why not?'.

"He made a very good point. I was like, 'There is no 'why not'. Why wouldn't I do it?"

Muguruza will be playing for the first time since her Australian Open final defeat to Sofia Kenin.

Lionel Messi and Liverpool are among the front-runners for prizes at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday.

Liverpool are up for two gongs after a wonderful year, as they won the 2018-19 Champions League and took a massive leap towards a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp's side look set to break a host of records this season, as they have dropped points in just one of their 25 matches and hold a remarkable 22-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in second.

The Reds are in the running for two prizes in the Laureus Sports Awards' 20th anniversary gala – World Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year, the latter on account of their astonishing Champions League semi-final turnaround at the expense of Barcelona.

Among those challenging Liverpool for the former are the United States' Women's football team and the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian franchise win an NBA championship.

A selection of sporting superstars are up for the Sportsman of the Year award, with Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi among them following his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

Also in the running is Eliud Kipchoge after the Kenyan became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours last October, covering the 26.2 miles in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds in Vienna.

Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Megan Rapinoe is among those in the hunt for the Sportswoman of the Year gong, although gymnast Simone Biles also has a compelling case.

The 22-year-old last year won five gold medals at the World Championships to become the most decorated gymnast in the event's history, and has won this award twice before, in 2019 and 2017.

The event will take place at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday. Below is a complete list of the awards up for grabs and the athletes nominated.

Sportsman of the Year

Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics
Lewis Hamilton – Formula One
Lionel Messi – Football
Marc Marquez – MotoGP
Rafael Nadal – Tennis
Tiger Woods – Golf

Sportswoman of the Year

Allyson Felix – Athletics
Megan Rapinoe – Football
Mikaela Shiffrin – Skiing
Naomi Osaka – Tennis
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Athletics
Simone Biles – Gymnastics

 

Team of the Year

Liverpool – Football
Mercedes-AMG – Formula One
South Africa – Rugby Union
Spain – Basketball
Toronto Raptors – Basketball
United States Women – Football

Breakthrough of the Year

Andy Ruiz – Boxing
Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
Coco Gauff – Tennis
Egan Bernal – Cycling
Japan – Rugby Union
Regan Smith – Swimming

 

Comeback of the Year

Andy Murray – Tennis
Christian Lealiifano – Rugby Union
Kawhi Leonard – Basketball
Liverpool – Football
Nathan Adrian – Swimming
Sophia Florsch – Formula Three

Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Alice Tai – Swimming
Diede de Groot – Wheelchair Tennis
Jetze Plat – Triathlon
Manuela Schar – Wheelchair Racing
Oksana Masters – Cross Country Skiing
Omara Durand – Athletics

 

Action Sportsperson of the year

Carissa Moore – Surfing
Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
Italo Ferreira – Surfing
Mark McMorris – Snowboarding
Nyjah Huston – Skateboarding
Rayssa Leal – Skateboarding

Kyle Edmund and Andreas Seppi will meet in the New York Open final after comfortable wins on Saturday.

Edmund reached his third ATP Tour decider and first since 2018 with a 6-1 6-4 thrashing of Miomir Kecmanovic in their semi-final.

The British eighth seed needed just 71 minutes to brush past Kecmanovic, converting three of seven break points.

Awaiting Edmund in the final of the ATP 250 tournament is Seppi after the Italian veteran beat qualifier Jason Jung 6-3 6-2.

Seppi, 35, is a three-time title winner on the ATP Tour, although the last of those came in 2012.

At the Argentina Open, Norwegian eighth seed Casper Ruud overcame Juan Ignacio Londero 4-6 7-5 6-1 in their semi-final.

Ruud's win means he will become Norway's highest ranked male player ever, taking the record from his dad Christian, who reached 39th in the world in 1995.

Into his second ATP final, Ruud will face Pedro Sousa after the lucky loser's run continued.

Sousa moved through after Diego Schwartzman withdrew from their semi-final due to a leg injury.

The Argentinian had struggled late in his win over Pablo Cuevas on Friday, when he needed three hours, 41 minutes to advance.

Felix Auger-Aliassime will meet in-form defending champion Gael Monfils in the Rotterdam Open final after both players won their last-four encounters in straight sets.

Canadian teenager Auger-Aliassime will be seeking his first ATP Tour title after losing all three of his showpiece matches in his breakout campaign last year.

He sealed his place in the final with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta in a contest lasting one hour and 49 minutes on Saturday.

Unseeded Auger-Aliassime sent down 16 aces, one of which came on match point, and lost only three of his 48 points on first serve, saving all of the four break points he faced in an impressive outing.

"I was serving the best I've ever served in that first set and then played a solid tie-break," he said after reaching his first final on a hard court.

"In the second set, things got interesting with that long third game [when Auger-Aliassime broke]. I was thinking, 'If this goes my way, it might be tough for him'. So, I really pushed to get through."

Monfils is eyeing back-to-back triumphs, having come into this tournament after winning the Open Sud de France on home soil last week.

He defeated Filip Krajinovic in the semi-finals there and repeated the trick against the Serbian this time, winning 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in a display that saw him hit 35 winners.

"It would be great [to win this title again]," said the Frenchman, who like Auger-Aliassime sealed his victory with an ace.

"It would be unbelievable. It would be the first time to win two titles in a row and actually even the first time to win two titles in the same season, so it would be huge for me."

Monfils, who only gave up one break point against Krajinovic, has never played Auger-Aliassime before.

"Felix is a great guy, a humble guy," said Monfils.

"He is very strong, very talented guy. Definitely, I expect a tough match, but a cool match because I think we might see him for a long time in this stage of tournaments."

Kiki Bertens will defend her St Petersburg Ladies' Trophy title on Sunday after defeating Russian number one Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1 4-6 6-1.

World number eight Bertens, who has been confirmed as Kim Clijsters' first opponent in next week's Dubai Tennis Championships, required a decider on Saturday to secure a third successive win over a Russian opponent.

But despite relinquishing control in the second set, Bertens did not let up in the third as she ultimately cruised through to reach her first singles final since October.

Eighth seed Elena Rybakina will be Bertens' opponent in the final, with the 20-year-old advancing to the biggest final of her career so far with a 3-6 7-5 6-1 defeat of Maria Sakkari.

Elsewhere, in the Thailand Open, teenager Leonie Kung got the better of Nao Hibino to make the final in what is just her second WTA Tour main draw event.

The 19-year-old had to come from a break down in the decider on Saturday but ultimately triumphed 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Kung will face world number 42 Magda Linette in the final, with the Pole having overcome Patricia Maria Tig in her semi-final.

Kim Clijsters will begin her WTA Tour comeback against world number eight Kiki Bertens at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The first-round clash will be the four-time major champion's first professional match in seven and a half years, having retired after the 2012 US Open.

Clijsters, a mother of three, revealed her shock decision to return to tennis last September but a knee injury forced her to sit out the start of the season.

The 36-year-old, a former world number one, was granted a wildcard for the singles tournament in Dubai, which begins on Monday.

Diego Schwartzman came through a marathon battle in the Argentina Open quarter-finals, while Reilly Opelka's title defence was ended in New York.

Schwartzman, the top seed in Buenos Aires, needed three hours, 41 minutes to edge Pablo Cuevas 5-7 7-6 (13-11) 7-5 in an epic battle at the ATP 250 tournament.

The Argentinian, last year's runner-up, saved four match points in the second set before overcoming Cuevas.

Schwartzman managed two breaks of serve in the deciding set, including the decisive one in the 12th game.

Awaiting him in the semi-finals is Pedro Sousa, the lucky loser continuing his run with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory over Thiago Monteiro.

Casper Ruud will face Juan Ignacio Londero in the other semi-final after their respective wins over Dusan Lajovic and Guido Pella.

At the New York Open, Opelka's title defence came to an end with a 5-7 6-4 6-4 loss to qualifier Jason Jung.

Opelka served 24 aces, but the 2019 champion was broken twice to fall to defeat in one hour, 52 minutes.

Jung will meet Andreas Seppi in a semi-final after the Italian veteran got past Jordan Thompson 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-1.

Kyle Edmund advanced thanks to a 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-5) win against Kwon Soon-woo, while Miomir Kecmanovic beat Ugo Humbert 3-6 6-2 6-4.

Kiki Bertens' bid to retain her St Petersburg Ladies Trophy title remains alive but Petra Kvitova's run in Russia came to an end as she pulled out due to illness.

World number eight Bertens defeated teenage qualifier Anastasia Potapova 6-4 7-6 (7-3) having staved off three set points in a second set in which she was 5-2 down.

Bertens will face Ekaterina Alexandrova next after she was handed a walkover when third seed Kvitova withdrew.

Top seed Belinda Bencic was ousted by Maria Sakkari in three sets, with Elena Rybakina beating Oceane Dodin in the other quarter-final.

At the Thailand Open, world number four Elina Svitolina suffered a surprise straight-sets loss to Nao Hibino, who was joined in the semi-finals by Magda Linette, Patricia Maria Tig and Leonie Kung.

Defending champion Gael Monfils continued his hot-streak with a convincing 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory over Dan Evans in the Rotterdam Open quarter-finals.

The Frenchman, winner of the Open sud de France last week, made it seven wins in a row by overcoming Evans in one hour and 52 minutes.

Next up in the last four is Filip Krajinovic, who upset the form book to overcome Andrey Rublev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4. 

Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Aljaz Bedene and will face Pablo Carreno Busta, who needed three sets to see off Jannik Sinner, in the other semi-final.

Jordan Thompson shocked New York Open top seed John Isner, while defending champion Reilly Opelka progressed to the quarter-finals.

Thompson overcame big-serving American Isner – who had a first-round bye – 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 in New York on Thursday.

Isner was playing his first match since being forced to retire from his third-round clash against Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open due to a foot injury.

Thompson lost to Isner in last year's New York quarter-finals but the Australian turned the tables after two hours, 31 minutes.

"I'm pretty stoked about that. That was a tough match," Thompson said. "I didn't get too many looks at Isner's serve, but managed to get the one break and held onto it."

Standing in the way of Thompson and the semi-finals is Andreas Seppi.

Opelka opened his title defence by cruising past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4 6-4 at the ATP 250 tournament.

Next up is qualifier Jason Jung, who stunned seventh seed Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-4, Kyle Edmund – the eighth seed – was too good for German Dominik Koepfer 6-2 6-4.

At the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires, Diego Schwartzman and Guido Pella moved through to the quarters on clay.

Schwartzman – the top seed – prevailed 6-3 4-6 6-2 over Federico Delbonis and second seed Guido Pella survived a marathon against Facundo Bagnis 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (2-7) 6-4.

Fellow seeds Laslo Djere and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, however, crashed out following defeats to Juan Ignacio Londero and Pablo Cuevas.

Stefanos Tsitsipas became the latest seed to crash out of the Rotterdam Open as Jannik Sinner claimed his first top-10 win on Thursday.

After top seed Daniil Medvedev departed the competition a day earlier, Tsitsipas and David Goffin - seeded second and fourth respectively - each suffered upsets to blow the bottom half of the draw wide open.

Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene recorded the biggest win of his career as he cut down Tsitsipas in straight sets, his second triumph over a top-10 player clinched by a 7-5 6-4 scoreline.

"I tried to stay focused, and I delivered," Bedene said shortly after a stunning winner down the line saw him successfully serve out for the match.

"I actually served really well when it was important and kept my cool really, because I was feeling that he [Tsitsipas] was pressuring sometimes.

"I had to stay focused and cool and play my shots, and I delivered. I'm happy with that."

The world number 52 saved five break points in the opener before claiming his first opportunity, and he conceded: "I think he [Tsitsipas] was probably the better player for most of the first set.

"He was serving really well, and I didn't play my game - especially on his service points. I stayed tough, which I had to do, otherwise it would go the other way. I guess the break gave me a boost of confidence."

Bedene will play Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, with the winner potentially meeting NextGen champion Sinner - matched with Pablo Carreno Busta - in the last four.

Sinner, still just 18, came up with 27 winners to see off 10th-ranked Goffin 7-6 (9-7) 7-5.

"I feel great, especially now in this moment," the Italian said, according to quotes on the ATP Tour website. "It was not easy playing against him. He is very solid, so you sometimes go for a winner or change the rhythm.

"It feels like a normal victory, but sometimes you play better than others. It's all about improving and testing where you are."

Reigning champion Gael Monfils prolonged his title defence, beating countryman Gilles Simon 6-4 6-1.

Seventh seed Andrey Rublev also advanced, while Vasek Pospisil could not build on his shock defeat of Medvedev, going down 6-4 7-6 (9-7) to Filip Krajinovic.

Kiki Bertens wasted little time in getting her St Petersburg Ladies Trophy defence up and running with a 6-1 6-2 demolition of Veronika Kudermetova.

The home hope found herself overmatched against the second seed from the off as Bertens surged into a 4-0 lead before a third break sealed the first set.

A break to cut the gap to 3-2 in the second proved a false dawn for Kudermetova, who failed to win another game after that as she was beaten in under an hour.

Another Russian, qualifier Anastasia Potapova, is up next for Bertens.

Third seed Petra Kvitova found the going somewhat tougher before prevailing 7-6 (7-1) 1-6 6-2 against Alison van Uytvanck in two hours and 16 minutes.

"Definitely, it was a tough one," Kvitova said, following a match featuring a remarkable 33 break-point opportunities.

"I’ve never played Alison before, and she'd already played one match on the surface, and for me it was the first one, so that's always a bit challenging."

Kvitova must now take on the in-form Ekaterina Alexandrova.

The Russian claimed her ninth straight win indoors as she beat seventh seed Donna Vekic 6-1 7-5, while Maria Sakkari was also a straight-sets winner over Alize Cornet.

At the Thailand Open, top seed Elina Svitolina made short work of Storm Sanders, blowing away the qualifier 6-1 6-2 in 57 minutes.

Magda Linette was a 7-5 6-1 winner against the experienced Peng Shuai in blustery conditions and has further Chinese opposition coming up after Wang Xiya defeated Barbara Haas 6-3 6-4.

Romania's Patricia Maria Tig also reached the quarter-finals in straight sets at the expense of sixth seed Yafan Wang.

Kwon Soon-woo upstaged second seed Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 to reach the New York Open quarter-finals, while Borna Coric exited the Argentina Open.

Raonic advanced to the Australian Open quarters before falling to eventual champion Novak Djokovic last month, however, the Canadian was stunned in New York on Wednesday.

Kwon weathered 33 aces from Raonic as the South Korean prevailed after two hours, 25 minutes at the ATP 250 tournament midweek.

"I'm really happy to win a tough match against Raonic," Kwon during his on-court interview. "He played well. It was a great match."

Next up for Kwon is either eighth seed Kyle Edmund or Dominik Koepfer.

While Raonic bowed out, fellow seeds Ugo Humbert and Miomir Kecmanovic progressed from the last 16.

French fourth seed Humbert eased past Marcos Giron 6-1 6-0, sixth-seeded Serb Kecmanovic defeated Paolo Lorenzi 6-3 6-3, while Andreas Seppi saw off Steve Johnson 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

At the Argentina Open, fourth seed Coric was sent packing by Thiago Monteiro – who won 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in Buenos Aires.

Despite letting a match point slip at 6-5 in the second-set tie-break, Monteiro moved through to his first ATP Tour-level quarter-final since 2018.

Pedro Sousa awaits after the lucky loser accounted for Jozef Kovalik 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) on the clay courts.

Dusan Lajovic – the third seed – outlasted qualifier Pedro Martinez 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (8-6) to set up a quarter-final with eighth seed Casper Ruud, who dismantled Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 6-0.

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