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.

Karolina Muchova took just over an hour to beat Magda Linette in a rain-delayed Korea Open final, claiming her first WTA title in the process.

The pair had to wait six hours to take to the court, but Muchova wasted little time in dispatching Bronx Open winner Linette 6-1 6-1 in Seoul.

It was only the second meeting between Muchova and Linette, who had won a two-hour 45-minute encounter 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) en route to her success in New York.

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Muchova has enjoyed a career-best season and was in no mood to give up on a chance to win her maiden title.

Muchova started as she meant to go on, breaking serve twice in the first three games to take a 5-1 lead before wrapping up a 32-minute first set with another break.

Set two followed a similar trend, Linette - three below Muchova in the WTA rankings - conceding her first service game.

Muchova took full advantage, breaking again in the sixth game and going on to serve out the victory with two match points to spare.

Naomi Osaka cruised past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-3 to claim her maiden Pan Pacific Open title, a homecoming victory she hailed as "special".

World number four Osaka had previously finished as runner up in the tournament in 2016 and 2018, when the WTA event was held in Tokyo.

However, a switch to the 21-year-old's birthplace Osaka did the trick, with the top seed bouncing back from the disappointment of her round of 16 exit in the US Open in style.

Having not won a trophy since securing her second successive grand slam title at the Australian Open in January, Osaka powered past the world number 41 in straight sets on Sunday.

"It's really special for me to win here," Osaka, who won 100 per cent of her first service points, said.

"This is the city where I was born and honestly I think that gave me a lot of power to play constantly match after match. I just want to say thank you to everyone.

"I just love playing here, so I'll be here next year, though it's probably going to be in Tokyo."

Osaka made her intentions of sealing a swift victory clear from the off, racing into a 2-0 lead as Pavlyuchenkova failed to cope with the former world number one's powerful serves.

A superb lob ended a frenetic rally to make it 5-2 - a Pavlyuchenkova error then handing Osaka the set in the next game.

Another early break followed for Osaka in set two and, despite Pavlyuchenkova saving three break points before holding off two match points, victory was ensured when the Russian clipped into the net.

Osaka's triumph is her first on Japanese soil, while she became the first home player to win the Pan Pacific Open since Kimiko Date in 1995.

Sofia Kenin came from a set down to defeat Samantha Stosur 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-2 and win her third WTA Tour title of 2019 at the Guangzhou Open on Saturday.

American 20-year-old Kenin produced a pivotal break at 4-4 in the second set, which came as she reeled off seven games in succession to turn the match on its head.

The third seed went a break up in the opener but surrendered her advantage and lost out in the tie-break when she sent a forehand from the baseline long.

Stosur, who was looking for her first WTA Tour singles title in over two years, dropped her serve at the start of the second but gave up just one point across three games to edge in front.

Kenin showed great character to force a decider and held to love either side of successive breaks to gain an advantage she did not relinquish, staving off a break point to take a 5-1 lead before serving out the match.

Karolina Muchova and Magda Linette will battle it out for glory at the Korea Open on Sunday.

Muchova defeated Wang Yafan 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 after coming from a break down in the first set, while Linette saved four set points before sealing a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (9-7) win over Ekaterina Alexandrova with her fourth match point.

Elina Svitolina made up for a sluggish start by beating Dalila Jakupovic in straight sets at the Guangzhou Open but second seed Wang Qiang crashed out.

World number three Svitolina, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open, dropped her serve in the opening game of her first-round clash before reeling off five in succession en route to taking the set.

The top seeded Ukrainian fended off four break points to consolidate starting the second with a break, but she was unable to serve out the match at the first attempt.

Svitolina responded immediately, though, breaking to complete the 6-3 6-3 triumph in just 69 minutes and setting up a meeting with Marie Bouzkova.

Wang saved four match points against Shuai Peng but was unable to join Svitolina in the second round.

Although Wang moved ahead of Shuai with four breaks across the match, she got only 43 per cent of her first serves in and won just 54% of points behind it in a 7-5 6-2 loss.

Katarina Zavatska came from behind to defeat Fiona Ferro 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in three hours and 27 minutes – the longest WTA Tour main-draw match of the year.

Sofia Kenin, Zhang Shuai, Katerina Siniakova and Zheng Saisai were the other seeds to advance.

At the Korea Open, Patricia Maria Tig made the most of top seed Maria Sakkari's withdrawal due to a right wrist injury by defeating lucky loser Danka Kovinic 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-3).

Jelena Ostapenko, the champion in 2017, fell 6-3 6-3 to Timea Babos, while sixth seed Polona Hercog went down 6-3 3-6 6-1 against Ana Bogdan.

There were also wins for Karolina Muchova and Ajla Tomljanovic, seeded third and fifth respectively.

Rebecca Peterson hammered Elena Rybakina to claim her maiden WTA title at the Jiangxi Open on Sunday.

Fifth seed Peterson needed just an hour to beat the fourth seed 6-2 6-0 in a one-sided final in Nanchang.

The Swede had just one unforced error against her name as she made light work of defeating Rybakina, hitting 13 winners.

Resolute in defence and enterprising in attack, Peterson blew a tired looking Rybakina away to secure her first title at the age of 24.

Kazakh Rybakina had a first-serve percentage of only 48 and was broken five times in a flat performance after reaching the decider with two battling late-night wins.

Nao Hibino claimed her first WTA Tour singles title since 2015 with an emphatic win over Misaki Doi in the Japan Women's Open Tennis final.

Hibino had won her previous two meetings with Doi and she produced a dominant display in a 6-3 6-2 victory in the all-Japanese decider in Hiroshima on Sunday.

It secured the 24-year-old her second WTA crown and first since winning the title in Tashkent four years ago.

Facing her doubles partner at the tournament, Hibino broke serve an incredible seven times from just nine break points.

Hibino punished Doi's serve, winning 38 of 61 return points to become the first Japanese champion of the event.

Doi, meanwhile, now holds a 1-2 win-loss record in WTA Tour singles finals, having secured her only title in 2015.

Home favourites Misaki Doi and Nao Hibino moved into the Japan Women's Open final on Saturday.

For the first time since it was founded in 2009, the WTA Tour event will have a Japanese champion after Doi and Hibino got through their semi-finals matches.

Doi upset second seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-4 6-3 to set up a meeting with doubles partner Hibino.

The 28-year-old Doi managed to take her chances, converting three of six break points as Kudermetova capitalised on just one of four.

Hibino overcame Mihaela Buzarnescu 4-6 6-0 6-3 to reach her fifth WTA Tour final.

It will also be the first all-Japanese WTA singles final since 1997, when Naoko Sawamatsu beat Yuka Yoshida in Jakarta.

Doi and Hibino have also reached the doubles final in Hiroshima, with Christina McHale and Valeria Savinykh awaiting them in that decider.

A new Japan Women's Open champion will be crowned this weekend after home contender Nao Hibino dethroned Hsieh Su-wei to reach the semi-finals.

World number 146 Hibino defeated the top seed 6-4 6-3 on Friday and will face Mihaela Buzarnescu in the last four in Hiroshima.

The unseeded Hibino will play in her first Tour-level semi-final for almost two years after hitting 25 winners and breaking five times to advance in straight sets.

Romanian Buzarnescu stayed in the hunt for the title with a 6-4 7-5 victory over Alison Van Uytvanck.

Veronika Kudermetova, the second seed, beat Laura Siegemund 6-3 4-6 6-2 and will take on Misaki Doi, a 7-5 6-1 winner against Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Two-time champion Peng Shuai moved into the semi-finals of the Jiangxi Open with a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) defeat of Zhu Lin.

Peng will do battle with Elena Rybakina after she went through at the expense of Viktorija Golubic in Nanchang, while Rebecca Peterson and Nina Stojanovic progressed by seeing off Magda Linette and Kateryna Kozlova respectively.

The Hong Kong Open, a WTA Tour event that was due to begin on October 5, has been postponed because of ongoing protests in the region.

An extradition bill has led to months of civil unrest in Hong Kong and protests have continued despite the proposed legislation being withdrawn.

The tennis event was scheduled to be held in Victoria Park, which has become a meeting point for anti-government marches.

A statement on the tournament's website read: "In light of the present situation, Hong Kong Tennis Association and the WTA are announcing a postponement of the 2019 Hong Kong Tennis Open. The event will no longer take place during 5-13 October.

"The Open is the flagship event on our annual calendar and one of the most popular international sporting events in the city, attracting thousands of local fans and overseas travellers every year.

"As the winner of the WTA International event of the year award in 2018, we strive to maintain a high standard of the event for all participants, players and the fans in particular.

"However, after extensive discussions with our key stakeholders, we conclude that a smooth running of the tournament can be better assured at a later time.

"The event organisers and WTA are in active discussion on identifying an alternate week for the hosting of the event. Further announcement will be made in due course."

The Hong Kong Open returned to the WTA calendar in 2014 after a 20-year absence.

There was no play at the Zhengzhou Open on Thursday as the rain that derailed Wednesday's late fixtures continued.

Some 16 matches, including the conclusion of top seed Karolina Pliskova's tie with Polona Hercog, were scheduled but they have all been pushed back to Friday.

Pliskova will restart play with a one-set lead over Hercog, who fought back to lead 5-2 in the second before the weather intervened.

Third seed Kiki Bertens was due to face Ajla Tomlkanovic, while world number three Elina Svitolina - who celebrated her 25th birthday on Thursday - also had her game moved back.

 

Kim Clijsters is planning a comeback following a seven-year absence from the WTA Tour, the former world number one has announced.

Clijsters, 36, retired after the 2012 US Open, where she was beaten in the second round by British player Laura Robson.

But the four-time grand slam winner has now announced a surprising return and is training with a view to playing again in 2020.

The Belgian told the WTA Insider Podcast: "I don't really feel like I want to prove something. I think for me it's the challenge.

"I have friends who would say, 'I want to run the New York Marathon before I turn 50'. For me, I still love to play tennis.

"The love for the sport is obviously still there. But the question still is, am I capable of bringing it to a level where I would like it to be at and where I want it to be at before I want to play at a high level of one of the best women's sports in the world?

"I don't feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again. This is my marathon. This is where I'm saying, 'OK, let's try this'."

Clijsters - now a mother of three - made her WTA debut at the age of 15 in 1999, and was 29 when she retired.

She spent 19 weeks at world number one, and claimed her first grand slam title at Flushing Meadows in 2005.

After giving birth to daughter Jada, Clijsters returned to win the US Open again in 2009 and 2010, before adding the 2011 Australian Open.

With 41 singles titles, Clijsters is beaten only in the trophy count by Serena Williams and Venus Williams among players active on tour, while her haul is the 14th highest in the Open era.

Clijsters is eligible for unlimited wild cards at WTA tournaments because of her former world number one status, but she will have to play three tournaments or earn 10 points to re-establish a ranking.

Peng Shuai recorded her best win of 2019 as she defeated Kristyna Pliskova in three sets at the Jiangxi Open on Friday.

The former world number 14, who had not beaten a player ranked in the top 100 this year, saw off 81st-ranked Pliskova 6-3 0-6 6-4 after a gruelling one hour and 49 minutes in humid conditions.

Pliskova recovered from losing the first set to produce a dominant display in the second, reeling off 20 winners in six quick-fire games to seize the initiative in the contest.

However, Peng broke to move 5-4 ahead in the third and booked her place in the last eight with a forehand winner.

Peng will face compatriot Zhu Lin in the quarter-finals, the latter likely to be feeling the fresher of the two after top seed Zhang Shuai retired ill from their last-16 match at 6-0 1-0 down after only 39 minutes.

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina progressed with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 defeat of Xinyu Wang, while Nina Stojanovic beat former US Open champion Sam Stosur 6-4 6-3.

At the Hana-cupid Open, Alison van Uytvanck won a battle of the Belgians against Kirsten Flipkens to reach the quarter-finals.

Van Uytvanck led by a set and a break but eventually needed one hour and 55 minutes to take a 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory and secure a meeting with Mihaela Buzarnescu, who beat Kurumi Nara in straight sets.

Seventh seed Sara Sorribes Tormo made light work of Varvara Flink, winning 6-3 6-1, while Misaki Doi gave the home fans something to cheer with a 6-1 1-6 6-3 defeat of Australia's Zoe Hives.

On September 11 1999, a rising star of tennis clinched her first grand slam title and, 20 years later, Serena Williams is still going strong.

Williams, aged 17, beat Martina Hingis 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in the US Open final at Flushing Meadows to make a major breakthrough.

Two decades and 23 grand slam titles have passed since then, yet Williams - one triumph shy of equalling Margaret Court's overall major record hall - is still at the pinnacle of the sport.

The American reached her second slam final of 2019 at Flushing Meadows last week, though it ended in defeat to new kid on the block Bianca Andreescu, who also beat Williams in the Rogers Cup final in August – albeit with her opponent retiring at 3-1 down.

It means Williams has lost her last four appearances in grand slam finals since winning the Australian Open in January 2017, but her ever enduring talent means a record-equalling success should never be discounted.

Here are some of the astonishing numbers of Williams' career to date.

72 - Williams has won 72 WTA singles titles so far. Her first was in Paris in 1999, with her most recent coming in Melbourne in 2017.

33 - The 37-year-old has reached an incredible 33 grand slam singles finals, losing just 10 of those.

5 - Williams has finished the year ranked as world number one five times, in 2002, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

39 - Including 14 in doubles and two in mixed doubles, Williams has won 39 major titles - that is a joint-third total since the Open Era began.

1 - Williams is the only player, male or female, to have completed a Golden Slam in both singles and doubles competitions. As well as triumphing at every slam and the Olympics as a singles competitor, Serena has achieved the same feat alongside sister Venus in doubles.

7 - Williams has seven titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, with six more at the US Open, and three at Roland Garros.

319 - Having spent 319 weeks as world number one, Williams is third behind Martina Navratilova (332) and Steffi Graf (377).

2 - She has held all four grand slam trophies on two occasions - in 2002-03 and 2014-15.

97 - In total, Williams has appeared in 97 singles finals on the WTA circuit.

186 - Williams spent 186 weeks as world number one between February 2013 and September 2016, equal with Graf's record from August 1987 to March 1991.

Bronx Open champion Magda Linette eased into the quarter-finals of the Jiangxi Open in confident fashion with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Liu Fangzhou.

It took world number 45 Linette just 58 minutes to complete her straight-sets victory over the wildcard, as the Pole moved to within one win of matching her run to the semi-finals in 2018.

Linette hit 20 winners in total, without conceding a break point to her opponent - a quarter-finalist in Nanchang in 2016 and 2018.

The third seed will take on Rebecca Peterson in the last eight, after the Swede's victory over Jana Fett, while Viktorija Golubic and Kateryna Kozlova also progressed.

In Hiroshima, defending Hana-cupid Japan Open champion Hsieh Su-wei overcame a poor first-set performance to claim a 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 win over Priscilla Hon.

Hon served for the match twice in the second set and missed an additional chance to secure victory in the third, and Hsieh made her pay in a contest that lasted over two hours.

World number 29 Hsieh will now face Nao Hibino – whose opponent Zarina Diyas retired hurt – in the quarters, where they are joined by second seed Veronika Kudermetova and Laura Siegemund after they beat Christina McHale and Patricia Maria Tig respectively.

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