Danka Kovinic ended Margarita Gasparyan's Tashkent Open defence with a straight sets victory on Wednesday.

Stefanie Voegele took the number two seed the distance in Tuesday's first round and Gasparyan was unable to regroup in time to see off Montenegro's Kovinic in the last 16.

The world number 120 prevailed 7-5 6-4 and will face Sorana Cirstea in the quarter-finals after the number eight seed came from a set down to beat Ysaline Bonaventure 3-6 6-3 7-5.

Russia's Anna Kalinskaya was another player to claim a comeback victory, seeing off sixth seed Tatjana Maria 3-6 7-5 6-2, to set up a last-eight showdown with Ukraine's Katarina Zavatska – a straight-sets winner over Tereza Martincova.

Top seed Viktoria Kuzmova beat Greet Minnen despite dropping their opener 7-5. A gruelling tiebreak in the decider saw Slovakia's world number 56 through 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7).

Continuing a theme, Timea Babos took the first set 6-2 against France's Pauline Parmentier but subsided to a 2-6 6-4 6-3 loss.

Kristyna Pliskova overcame Katarzyna Kawa 7-5 3-6 6-4 to secure her spot as Kuzmova's next opponent.

Alison van Uytvanck brought some Belgian cheer amid the losses for Minnen and Bonaventure by breezing past Monica Niculescu 6-2 6-1. She takes on Parmentier next.

Simona Halep revealed a back injury led to her retirement against Elena Rybakina in the Wuhan Open third round on Wednesday.

The Romanian world number six was trailing the wildcard 5-4 when she retired at the WTA Premier event.

Halep, who suffered a back injury late last year, said she felt pain during the ninth game of the match.

"It's a lower back [injury]. I think it's more muscle, but I don't know yet because I didn't check it properly," she told reporters, via the WTA.

"[At] 4-4, 0-30, with the backhand. I had a sharp pain.

"I don't know yet [if it's the same as the previous injury]. It looks a little bit different but it's still the same zone."

Halep has enjoyed a fine 2019 season, including winning the Wimbledon title in July.

Novak Djokovic believes he has a "good chance" of playing at the Japan Open Tennis Championships after recovering from a shoulder injury.

The world number one retired from his fourth-round clash against Stan Wawrinka at the US Open at the start of the month due to the injury.

But Djokovic has returned to training and believes he will be fit to take his place at the ATP 500 tournament in Tokyo starting on Monday.

"Yesterday I trained for the first time after America and there was no shoulder pain which is an encouraging circumstance," the Serbian told Sportski zurnal on Tuesday.

"For now it seems like I have a good chance of playing Tokyo. That's my intention. The next two days will be crucial to assessing shoulder recovery."

Djokovic has points to defend in Asia after winning the Shanghai Masters last year.

The 16-time grand slam champion said he would "almost certainly" play in Shanghai if he missed Tokyo.

"Tokyo and Shanghai first. My team and I believe that in the past two to three weeks we have put the shoulder in the position of being able to withstand multiple tournaments in a row," Djokovic said.

"Tokyo and Shanghai are both goals and purposes but everything is still in God's hands, the whole scenario.

"I don't know what it will be but everything is working great for now."

Andy Murray considered his Zhuhai Open victory over Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday "one of the best wins" of his career.

The former world number one had not won a singles match on the ATP Tour since the Brisbane International in January, announcing his intention to retire and having hip resurfacing surgery in the intervening months.

However, after a successful operation, Murray has been able to return to action, first on the doubles circuit before making his singles comeback in Cincinnati in August.

Not until Tuesday had Murray tasted victory though - and he ranked the gruelling 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 triumph highly, despite his many achievements on court.

"I think that, in some ways, it's one of the best wins I've had," he said. "Not in terms of just getting through that today, but everything that's gone into getting back to this point.

"You don't necessarily appreciate what it's like to be healthy at the beginning of your career. It's something that you take for granted and it's quite easy, whereas these past few years haven't been.

"Obviously, after the operation in January, it's been difficult and it was undecided at times about whether I wanted to keep going or not, and it's been tough.

"But I'm really glad that I can actually get the win today and hopefully I'll be able to keep going."

Murray was also able to provide a positive update on his fitness following the match, adding: "If I played that match in January, there's no chance I could compete the following day or even two days later. I would be in a lot of pain and discomfort.

"Now, I'm tired and fatigued and muscles and stuff are tired from playing the match. But in terms of how my hip feels, that feels really good.

"So that's very positive and I'm satisfied with that because, in January, I couldn't remember what it was like to play tennis and not have the pain in my hip."

Murray will face seventh seed Alex de Minaur next for a place in the quarter-finals.

Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep all progressed on a day of few shocks at the Wuhan Open.

There were occasional scares for the big names, with world number one Barty worked hard by Caroline Garcia, but only Belinda Bencic came up short out of the seeded players.

Elina Svitolina was also triumphant, beating 2015 finalist Garbine Muguruza in straight sets.

 

BARTY GETS REVENGE

​Barty – then playing just her third WTA Tour final, was beaten by Garcia in the 2017 Wuhan championship match – belatedly got her revenge, as top seed, on Tuesday.

It looked for a time as though the Australian might be in trouble again, as she dropped the first set and faced a break point in the first game of the second.

But Barty showed grit to come through that lengthy game, pinching the set at the last and then easing to a 4-6 6-4 6-1 win.

"I had to make some small adjustments in the second set," she said. "[The first set] was just kind of ebbing and flowing a little bit. Caro played the bigger points better.

"It was just about me being a little bit smarter with my serving and trying to be in control in those first couple of points."

 

HALEP LOOKING FORWARD

Halep improved to a 6-0 head-to-head record against Barbora Strycova in a comfortable triumph, 6-3 6-2.

The Romanian said: "It's never easy to play against her, but I'm confident every time because I have a few matches won against her, so it's a good thing for me.

"It's a good start," Halep added. "I'm looking forward to the next one."

Pliskova was also ultimately comfortable against Amanda Anisimova, recovering from being broken in her first service games of either set to beat the dangerous teenager 6-3 6-3.

 

BERTENS, KENIN ALSO RALLY

​​Barty was not the only star required to dig deep on Tuesday, as Kiki Bertens and Sofia Kenin each also came from a set down to progress.

Bertens avoided a shock against Bernarda Pera, winning 3-6 6-4 6-2 to set up a meeting with defending champion Aryna Sabalenka, while Kenin saw off Elise Mertens in three.

Sloane Stephens needed three sets to get through, as did Alison Riske, Petra Martic, Elena Rybakina and Veronika Kudermetova, who upset Bencic 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the final match of the day.

There were wins elsewhere for Wang Qiang, Dayana Yastremska and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Andy Murray made a successful return to the ATP Tour as he battled past Tennys Sandgren 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 in a gruelling contest at the Zhuhai Open.

Murray lost to Sandgren at the Winston-Salem Open in August, before he elected to drop down to Challenger level and compete at the Rafael Nadal Open.

But the former world number one made a strong comeback to the highest tier as he overcame the American in a two-hour 41-minute tussle.

An exquisite lob handed Murray a double break in set three, finally puncturing Sandgren's resistance as the Scot marched on to secure his first ATP singles win since he beat James Duckworth in January.

Murray had squandered a match point in the set two tie-break - Sandgren taking full advantage to restore parity.

Having not seen a single chance of a break throughout set two, Murray took the upper hand when he broke the world number 69 at the first attempt in the final set.

A superb lob shot and a tame Sandgren effort into the net put Murray 4-0 up and the three-time grand slam winner served out a hard-earned triumph.

Murray will now face Alex de Minaur, who beat fellow Australian John Millman, while Pablo Andujar set up a second-round meeting with second seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Qualifier Damir Dzumhur ended a four-match losing streak against Marco Cecchinato, with Zhizhen Zhang defeating Dominik Koepfer to tee up a potential encounter with Nick Kyrgios.

Miomir Kecmanovic progressed past Casper Ruud, who retired hurt, in Tuesday's other encounter. 

At the Chengdu Open, Fernando Verdasco eased into round two with a straight sets win over Alexei Popyrin, while top seed John Isner will play Egor Gerasimov.

Dusan Lajovic, meanwhile, will come up against Lloyd Harris, with the duo winning their respective encounters with Juan Ignacio Londero and Marton Fucsovics.

Stefanie Voegele proved no pushover for defending Tashkent Open champion Margarita Gasparyan in their first-round tie on Tuesday.

Gasparyan claimed her second WTA singles title when she won the tournament in 2018, beating Anastasia Potapova 6-2 6-1 in the final.

However, she was not given an easy ride on her return to the Uzbekistan hard court event, with world number 128 Voegele pushing the Russian to three sets.

After an even start to set one, Gasparyan broke at 3-3, serving out to lead by claiming her second set point.

Two concessions of serve cost Gasparyan dear in the second set but the world number 55 regained her composure in the decider, breaking Voegele twice and converting her second match point en route to a 6-4 4-6 6-4 win.

Second seed Gasparyan will face Danka Kovinic in round two, and she will be joined at that stage by fifth seed Kristyna Pliskova, who overcame Jasmine Paolini 6-4 6-4.

Pauline Parmentier cruised past Aleksandra Krunic, while Timea Babos also progressed with a straight sets win over Kirsten Flipkens.

Ysaline Bonaventure, Tatjana Maria and Monica Niculescu claimed wins in Tuesday's other matches.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas needed only 74 minutes to breeze past Yoshihito Nishioka at the Zhuhai Open on Monday.

The 31-year-old dispatched Nishioka 6-2 6-1, dropping only five points on first serve as he eased into the second round.

Adrian Mannarino will face top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas after overcoming home favourite Zhang Ze 7-6 (8-6) 7-5, while Cameron Norrie beat Peter Gojowczyk in straight sets to book a meeting with Gael Monfils.

Andy Murray begins his campaign on Tuesday against Tenny Sandgren, who beat the former world number one in straight sets at the Winston-Salem Open last month.

In Chengdu, Cristian Garin's strong 2019 continued with a 6-3 6-2 defeat of Kyle Edmund, a match he described as his best on a hard court this year.

Garin, who won titles in Houston and Munich this year and has won 26 of his 43 matches on tour, will face Fernando Verdasco or Alexei Popyrin in the next round.

Edmund's compatriot Dan Evans claimed a 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-4) victory against Bai Yan, while Bradley Klahn was a straight-sets winner over Jason Jung.

Two-time Wuhan Open champion Petra Kvitova is into the third round after a battling straight-sets win over Polona Hercog.

A forearm injury has blighted the second half of 2019 for Kvitova, who failed to get beyond the first two rounds at Cincinnati or the US Open, but Wuhan has proved a happy hunting ground in the past and yielded titles in 2014 and 2016.

The 29-year-old was given a test by world number 52 Hercog but claimed a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 triumph in just over an hour and 42 minutes, thereby setting up a third-round meeting with Sloane Stephens or Wang Yifang.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka continued her imperious form on the hard courts of Wuhan, thrashing Danielle Collins 6-1 6-0.

Collins knocked out compatriot Venus Williams in the opening round but was utterly blown away after an early hold of serve, losing in just 51 minutes and without mustering a single break point.

It was otherwise a bleak day for the seeded players, with Angelique Kerber falling to Monica Puig and Caroline Wozniacki beaten by Hsieh Su-wei.

Eleventh-seed Kerber lost an epic showdown with Puig 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 6-1 in a match that lasted just 13 minutes shy of three hours.

"I don't think I've practiced that long in a really long time," said Puig, who faces Alison Riske in the next round. "She pushes me to the extra level. I just had to continue to fight and believe in myself."

Wozniacki was beaten for the second time in 2019 by Hsieh, who claimed a 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-2 win and will now meet Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Donna Vekic, seeded 16th, and 14th-seed Anastasija Sevastova were also beaten, both going down 4-6 6-3 6-3 to Ons Jabeur and Christina Mchale respectively.

Garbine Muguruza saw off Shuai Peng 6-3 6-2 in an impressive outing, while Sofia Kenin, Elise Mertens, Rebecca Peterson, Amanda Anisimova and Veronika Kudermetova also progressed.

Tashkent Open top seed Viktoria Kuzmova overcame a stern challenge from Francesa Di Lorenzo in her first-round tie on Monday.

World number 56 Kuzmova was forced to a tie-break in the first set, finally overcoming Di Lorenzo 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 when she broke the American before serving out the next point to take the lead.

Di Lorenzo, ranked 85 places lower than the favourite, forced a break at the start of the second set, but could not hold her nerve as her opponent rallied to win five games in a row, securing passage to round two with her third match point.

Greet Minnen will be Kuzmova's rival in the round of 16, after she overcame Kateryna Bondarenko, while Alison Van Uytvanck dispatched qualifier Liudmila Samsonova 6-0 6-1.

Meanwhile, Jelena Ostapenko - French Open champion in 2017 - was forced to retire hurt from her meeting with Katarina Zavatska.

Defending champion Margarita Gasparyan is in action on Tuesday against Stefanie Voegele. If victorious, she will go up against Danka Kovinic, who beat wildcard Sabina Sharipova 6-0 5-7 6-2.

Alexander Zverev clinched victory for Team Europe in the Laver Cup for a third straight year when he won a thrilling deciding match against Milos Raonic.

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal roaring him on from courtside, Zverev fended off Raonic 6-4 3-6 10-4 amid raucous scenes in Geneva, holding his nerve in the match tie-break.

It gave Bjorn Borg's Team Europe squad a 13-11 triumph over Team World in the three-day event.

Team World had surged from 7-5 behind to lead early on Sunday, with captain John McEnroe's team benefiting from Nadal having to withdraw from his singles and doubles matches with an inflamed hand.

Nadal was meant to play doubles with Federer, but Stefanos Tsitsipas stepped in as his substitute and the American pair of John Isner and Jack Sock pulled off a 5-7 6-4 10-8 victory.

When Nadal's singles replacement, Dominic Thiem, slid to a surprise 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 10-5 defeat against Taylor Fritz, Team World pocketed another three points and were close to carrying off the trophy.

Federer returned to court to exact revenge over Isner, however, beating the big-serving American 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in singles as Nadal roared encouragement to his long-time rival, a rare sight.

That outcome teed up Zverev and Raonic for the winner-takes-all finale.

Australian great Rod Laver, from whom the event takes its name, watched on as a backhand winner from Zverev set up match point, and the German swept a cross-court forehand out of the reach of Raonic to tie up the title.

Zverev has had a rocky season on tour, so this was sweet satisfaction.

Pointing to his team-mates he said: "Those guys were screaming at me in the locker room before the tie-break.

"[They were saying] this is how I could turn my season around, this is how I can get my confidence back. I played an unbelievable tie-break.

"I'm super happy and super thankful to Rafa and Roger and the rest of the team. Without them on the bench today I would not have done it.

"It's very special, especially playing in front of those guys, and them trusting me to play the last singles match we have is an unbelievable feeling.

"This event is something I hope to play every single year of my career."

Federer added at the trophy presentation: "It's a big moment. What a weekend it's been. It's been absolutely incredible. Congratulations Team World on an unbelievable fight, I can't wait for the next one in Boston."

Team Europe captain Borg said: "It's been unbelievable tennis. Team World came once again very close but we won the right points and had maybe a bit of luck. I'm very proud of my team. I'm a very happy captain."

Losing Team World skipper McEnroe said: "I want to congratulate Team Europe. It was awesome. You found a way to get it done.

"I'm getting very sick and tired of you, I've got to say.

"I've got to congratulate my old buddy and rival Bjorn Borg for beating me once again, unfortunately.

"I'm so proud of these guys you fought your heart out."

The result means Europe have won all three editions of the Laver Cup, which was first held in Prague in 2017 and then contested in Chicago in 2018.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied to beat Aljaz Bedene in three sets in Sunday's Moselle Open final, claiming his fourth title.

The former world number five, who previously won the competition in 2011, 2012 and 2015, dumped out seeds Nicoloz Basilashvili and Lucas Pouille en route to another decider.

But it was Tsonga who faced an upset when the first-set tie-break went the way of Bedene.

However, the one-time Australian Open finalist came up with an impressive response, edging another breaker in the second before starting the decider in fine fashion.

Tsonga moved 3-0 up and comfortably held while piling pressure on the Bedene serve.

He did not need another break, though, and saw out a 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 success and the 18th championship of his career.

Daniil Medvedev strolled to a sixth career title as he defeated Borna Coric 6-3 6-1 in the final of the St Petersburg Open.

Runner-up to Rafael Nadal in an epic US Open final earlier this month, Medvedev never looked likely to miss out on victory in his fifth successive final.

The world number four showed supreme consistency across both sets, with Coric unable to claim a single break point.

Medvedev, on the other hand, broke serve twice in set one - which he wrapped up at the third time of asking inside 41 minutes - before successive breaks in the second put him well on his way to a routine triumph.

Coric fought back in game six to ensure he was not whitewashed in the second set, although it ultimately mattered little as Medvedev served out the win with an ace.

It represents Medvedev's first ATP title in his home country, with the 23-year-old leading the way in terms of wins (57) on the ATP Tour this season.

Venus Williams fell at the first hurdle in the Wuhan Open as she went down 5-7 6-7 (5-7) to compatriot Danielle Collins.

Williams entered the competition as a wildcard but, despite breaking twice in the opener, lost her own serve on three occasions as Collins took the first of three set points to go ahead.

Two concessions of serve followed for Williams as Collins raced into a five-game lead in set two, but the 39-year-old rallied to survive two match points and force a tie break.

But despite squandering a further two match points, world number 35 Collins eventually prevailed to set up a second-round tie with defending champion Aryna Sabalenka.

The 21-year-old split with long-time coach Dmitry Tursunov after her US Open exit and lost to Petra Martic in the quarter-finals of the Zhengzhou Open last week.

Sabalenka bounced back on Sunday though, overcoming fellow Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1 6-2.

Sloane Stephens ended the hopes of home favourite Zhang Shuai, coming from 4-2 down in the first set to win it 7-5.

Momentum swung between Stephens and Shuai in set two, but the American came out with a 7-5 6-4 win when she converted a fourth match point.

World number one Ashleigh Barty received a bye for round one, with the Australian to play against former world number two Caroline Garcia after her straight sets win over Daria Kasatkina.

Bernarda Pera beat Jennifer Brady to tee up a match with Kike Bertens, while Polona Gercog progressed to meet Petra Kvitova.

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, meanwhile, will go up against Barbora Strycova, who dispatched Xiyu Wang in 6-4 6-2.

Andy Murray says it would be "a bit naive and silly" to think he can recapture the form that took him to world number one and three grand slam titles.

The 32-year-old Scot is fighting his way back after undergoing career-saving hip surgery, and he plays four tournaments in the next four weeks as he steps up his comeback.

Murray looked finished, or as good as, at the start of the year when he said Wimbledon would be his final event before retiring.

He had a change of heart after a successful operation and is determined to make a fist of a new lease of life, after saying he is now pain-free for the first time in years.

But results have been shaky in his tentative return to singles action, with Murray losing a pair of first-round matches in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem before stepping back to play on the lower-tier ATP Challenger Tour and finally rediscovering a winning touch.

He won a pair of matches at the low-profile Rafa Nadal Open in Mallorca, but Murray wants to compete at the top level, even if he is not winning tournaments consistently.

"I'm not expecting to get back to my very best," he said, according to BBC Sport. "I think it would be probably a bit naive and silly to think that would be the case.

"I do feel like tennis-wise I can still compete at the highest level in terms of my skill, it's just whether physically I can get to a high enough level to be competitive right at the top."

Murray will have a better idea of his future prospects in a month's time, and he begins his busy schedule by playing the Zhuhai Championships in China, facing American Tennys Sandgren in the first round.

World number 69 Sandgren beat Murray in Winston-Salem, so it will be a chance to avenge that loss and show whether the former Wimbledon and US Open champion - a long-time member of the 'big four' in men's tennis - is making progress.

Murray said, on the ATP website: "I don't know how far I'm going to be able to get now on my comeback. I don't know how much improving I still have to do or if I'm going to be able to. But I'm in no pain just now, so I might as well give it a shot and see how far I will go with the recovery."

He plays events in Beijing, Shanghai and Antwerp after the Zhuhai tournament, and Murray is targeting a run of match wins to show he can become a force again.

"I'd like to try to get 12 to 15 matches between now and the end of the year so my body gets used to competing and playing matches consistently again," he said.

"I hadn't done that for two years. It's been a really long time, so it takes time for your body to build up."

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