Daria Kasatkina dug deep to fend off Daria Saville in the Granby Championships final and land the sixth WTA singles title of her career.

World number 10 Kasatkina took a 6-4 6-4 victory in one hour and 53 minutes of hard battle with her great friend, Saville showing resilience despite struggling with an ankle problem.

The outcome made Kasatkina the second Russian winner of the day on the WTA Tour after Liudmila Samsonova took the Tennis In The Land title in Cleveland, Ohio.

Kasatkina, who also won the Silicon Valley Classic in early August, will turn her focus away from a successful week in Canada and towards the US Open, which gets under way in New York on Monday.

The 25-year-old will be targeting a deep run at Flushing Meadows after achieving her best grand slam result in June when she reached the French Open semi-finals, before being prevented from playing Wimbledon due to a blanket ban on players from Russia and Belarus imposed by the All England Club.

In the second set of a gruelling and gripping tussle, Saville looked nailed on to come from 4-1 down to level at 4-4 when she led 40-0 in the eighth game, only for her game to briefly disintegrate, allowing Kasatkina to move 5-3 ahead.

Still, it was an unsteady Kasatkina at the other end of the court, and the Barcelona-based player was broken by Saville when serving for the match.

There was nothing secure about Saville on serve either, and Kasatkina had two match points in the next game at 15-40. She was unable to take either, or the third and fourth that arrived soon after. On her fifth opportunity, Kasatkina was relieved to see Saville hit wide.

Kasatkina begins her US Open campaign against British qualifier Harriet Dart on Monday, while Saville starts on the same day against Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

Shelby Rogers continued her dream run at the Silicon Valley Classic with victory over ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova securing a spot in the final against last year's runner-up Daria Kasatkina who toppled Paula Badosa.

Unseeded 29-year-old American Rogers has knocked off top seed Maria Sakkari along with Amanda Anisimova and 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu on her way to the decider.

Rogers is also yet to drop a set, maintaining that run against the higher-ranked Kudermetova for a 6-3 6-4 victory in one hour and 20 minutes.

The triumph marks Rogers' biggest final in her career and her first on tour in six years.

Rogers, who trailed 2-0 in the second set, broke Kudermetova's serve with her second match point to clinch victory.

Second seed Badosa was bundled out by Kasatkina 6-2 6-4 in 46 minutes in the other semi-final on Saturday.

Badosa did not appear 100 per cent physically throughout the match and Kasatkina capitalised to secure back-to-back finals in San Jose.

The Spaniard had three break points in the decisive game before Kasatkina converted her first match point.

Kaia Kanepi and Liudmila Samsonova both powered their way into the Citi Open final with comfortable victories on Saturday.

Sixth seed Kanepi ruthlessly swept aside Australian Daria Saville 6-3 6-1 in one hour and 13 minutes, moving her closer to her fifth career title. The 37-year-old Estonian blasted 18 winners for the match.

World number 60 Samsonova proved too good for China's Wang Xiyu, winning 6-1 6-1 in one hour and seven minutes. Samsonova's big hitting was a key feature behind her win with four aces and 17 winners.

Second and third seeds Paula Badosa and Ons Jabeur eased into the Silicon Valley Classic quarter-finals on Wednesday, while Simona Halep and Jessica Pegula were bundled out of the Citi Open.

Last month's Wimbledon finalist Jabeur proved too good for American Madison Keys 7-5 6-1, winning in one hour and 22 minutes.

Jabeur, playing for the first time since Wimbledon, converted six of nine break points for the match, dominating the second set where she won 90.9 per cent first serve points.

Second seed Badosa survived a scare to win over qualifier Elizabeth Mandlik 6-2 5-7 7-6 (7-5) in two hours and 31 minutes.

Eighth seed Karolina Pliskova was knocked out by American Amanda Anisimova 3-6 7-5 6-1, while last year's runner-up Daria Kasatkina beat Taylor Townsend 6-4 6-0.

Two-time major winner Halep was forced to retire due to illness and top seed Jessica Pegula was bundled out by Daria Saville at the Citi Open.

In warm conditions, the 30-year-old Romanian battled throughout the match but eventually retired down 7-5 2-0 to Anna Kalinskaya after one hour and six minutes.

Halep had fought back from a 4-0 deficit in the first set to square it up at 5-5, before losing the first set.

However, the former world number one succumbed to illness early in the second set, handing Kalinskaya her passage into the quarter-finals.

On a dramatic day for the Citi Open favourites, world number seven Pegula was eliminated by Saville in straight sets in one hour and 38 minutes, 7-5 6-4.

Pegula was not helped by a first-serve percentage of 44.8 per cent, while she struggled to convert break points, with the Australian saving nine of 10 for the match.

Saville's win means she is 3-3 against top 20 opponents this year, progressing into the last eight where she will face Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino.

Marino, who beat Venus Williams in her return to singles in the first round on Monday, knocked off Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-3 3-6 6-1.

Estonian sixth seed Kaia Kanepi progressed into the quarters where she will face Kalinskaya after beating China's Zhu Lin 4-6 6-4 6-4.

Naomi Osaka will make her first Miami Open semi-final appearance after defeating Danielle Collins 6-2 6-1 on Tuesday.

The Florida native and the 2022 Australian Open finalist were worlds apart on serve, with Osaka putting up 13 aces, while Collins served seven double faults and had a meagre first-serve rate of 37.8 per cent.

While dropping only three games provides ample reflection, Osaka was in almost total control, winning 28 of 38 total points on serve and over half of the points on return with 26 out of 45. Her 25 winners to three unforced errors only reinforced the dominant nature of the win.

The Japanese former world number one has not dropped a set en route to the semi-final, and did not face a single break point against Collins, who called a medical time-out to address a neck issue after the first set.

"I'm glad I was able to get through quickly," Osaka said post-match. "I focused on trying to hit a lot of really good returns.

"This is actually my first night match too, so I didn't know what the conditions were going to be like."

Osaka will face reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, who comfortably saw her way past Daria Saville with a 6-1 6-2 win.

The Tokyo gold medallist progressed to her first WTA 1000 semi-final since Madrid in 2019, needing just 69 minutes to defeat the unseeded Australian.

With Saville serving at 51 per cent for the match, Bencic was all over the second look, winning 18 of a total 23 points in those scenarios.

The critical element of the match was the Swiss 22nd seed's ruthlessness on break point, converting seven out of total eight times.

Emma Raducanu was forced to retire in her first WTA Tour match since the Australian Open.

The US Open champion exited to Danka Kovinic in round two in Melbourne, as her bid for another major title was hampered by a painful blister to her right hand.

A month on, Raducanu took on Daria Saville at the Abierto Zapopan in Guadalajara but was forced to call a halt to proceedings after three hours and 36 minutes, with the scores at 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 4-3. It was the longest WTA match of 2022.

The 19-year-old had fallen at the first hurdle at last year's Linz Open, the only previous event where she appeared as the top seed, and she might have feared a repeat amid a slow start on Tuesday.

Raducanu and Saville traded early breaks, before the Australian seemed to settle first, claiming a 3-1 lead.

Back roared Raducanu and a tense opener continued in back-and-forth fashion, although the big opportunities fell the Briton's way.

She let slip three break points at 5-4 but had four more at 6-5, eventually able to celebrate with a mixture of relief and delight when Saville netted.

Raducanu served for the match at 5-3 in the second, but Saville battled on not only to force the tie-break but also a deciding set.

The Australian fell 2-0 down in the third but was ahead 3-2 when Raducanu took a medical time-out and returned to court with heavy strapping on her leg. After struggling through another two games, Raducanu retired a break down at 4-3, meaning Saville will progress to face Caroline Dolehide.

Meanwhile, after the shock exit of Madison Keys the previous day, Raducanu's fellow seeds had no such issues this time around.

Sara Sorribes Tormo and Camila Osorio each advanced in straight sets, beating Katie Volynets and Viktoriya Tomova respectively.

Sofia Kenin's title defence came to a shock end in the second round of the Australian Open, where world number one Ash Barty advanced amid injury concerns.

Kenin was looking to become the first woman to defend her crown at Melbourne Park since Victoria Azarenka in 2013, instead, she was a high-profile casualty in warm conditions on Thursday.

Barty, who lost to Kenin in last year's semi-finals in Melbourne, stayed alive with a straight-sets win over fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova.

Former world number one Karolina Pliskova also progressed beyond the second round as fifth seed Elina Svitolina blitzed American sensation Coco Gauff.

 

KENIN OUSTED IN BOILOVER

The American star arrived at the year's first grand slam with high expectations and looking to become the first woman to go back-to-back at a major since Serena Williams in 2016.

But fourth seed Kenin fell to experienced Estonian Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-2, having tallied 10 winners and 22 unforced errors in windy conditions in Melbourne - the scene of her breakthrough slam more than 12 months ago.

It was Kenin's first defeat to a player ranked outside the top 50 since going down to then-number 54 Iga Swiatek in the 2020 French Open final.

Asked why she was nervous pre-match, Kenin told reporters: "It's like the outside pressure. I felt really nervous. I haven't felt my game for, I don't know how long, but I haven't really felt my game so well, even in my first round. 

"I played well, but still haven't felt 100 per cent game-wise. It's obviously tough."

 

STRAPPED THIGH? NO WORRIES FOR BARTY​

Barty's left thigh was heavily strapped amid concerns but the 2019 French Open champion still booked her spot in the third round with a 6-1 7-6 (9-7) win over countrywoman Gavrilova.

The first Australian woman to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne since 1984, following last year's run, Barty gave up a 5-2 lead in the second set before saving two set points in the tie-break.

Reflecting on Kenin's surprise exit, Barty talked up the standard of the WTA Tour.

"There are no easy matches," said Barty, who next meets 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova for a spot in the round of 16. "There are no easy matches in any tour event, any slam, anything. I think every time you walk on the court, you have to try and be able to bring your best tennis to be able to compete with everyone. 

"That's just the level that there is now on the women's side. That's something really exciting about women's tennis now, is that every single match, it's a fair match. You go out there, you play hard, you try to do the best that you can."

 

PLISKOVA AVENGES LOSS, SVITOLINA TOO GOOD FOR GAUFF

Beaten by Danielle Collins in the third round of the Yarra Valley Classic just eight days ago, sixth seed Pliskova got the better of the 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist this time around.

Pliskova - also a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park two years ago - defeated Collins 7-5 6-2 and next plays 25th seed Karolina Muchova.

"I just played better in some moments, which I didn't last week. Then she was not playing that well as she did last week," Czech star Pliskova said. "I knew if I at least maintain little bit, just play at least similar as I was playing last week, I knew it's going to be difficult for her to repeat what she played last week. I think she really played great."

Owning a 6-1 record in the second round at Melbourne Park - falling only at this stage in 2016 - Svitolina produced a mature performance to conquer 16-year-old star Gauff 6-4 6-3 on centre court as 26th seed Yulia Putintseva awaits. 

Elsewhere, seeds Belinda Bencic, Elise Mertens, Anett Kontaveit, Jennifer Brady and Donna Vekic moved through.

Ash Barty insisted her leg issue was not impacting her at all after reaching the Australian Open third round.

The world number one overcame Australian compatriot Daria Gavrilova 6-1 7-6 (9-7) on a warm and windy Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

But Barty's left thigh was heavily strapped and she gave up a 5-2 lead in the second set before saving two set points in the tie-break.

However, the 2019 French Open champion played down the severity of the issue.

"The bandage is very big, but that's more just support so that the tape itself doesn't fall off. It's not a very subtle tape job, you often see it on a lot of the girls," Barty told a news conference.

"The guys can hide it beneath their shorts a little bit better. Just a little bit of support. I played a lot of matches in the last 10 days after not playing for 12 months, which is natural.  It's more of an assistance than anything else."

Barty added: "It came on early Tuesday, warming up for the match. But, yeah, obviously it's not affecting the way that I can play in any way.

"It's just more giving the leg some assistance to make sure it doesn't get to a point where it's going to affect me."

Barty will face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the third round.

Ash Barty overcame Daria Gavrilova in straight sets at the Australian Open on Thursday amid some concerns over a suspected thigh injury.

Barty lost just 10 points in her first-round win against Danka Kovinic and the world number one got past Gavrilova 6-1 7-6 (9-7) on a warm and breezy Rod Laver Arena.

But she struggled to close out her fourth victory in five meetings with her fellow Australian amid worries over heavy strapping on her left thigh.

She will face either Barbora Krejcikova or Ekaterina Alexandrova in the third round, which she reached at Melbourne Park for the fifth straight year.

Barty was broken in the first game after three unforced errors, but Gavrilova was unable to consolidate and it proved costly.

A double fault from Gavrilova handed Barty a 3-1 lead and the 2019 French Open champion capitalised to claim the first set in 27 minutes.

Barty served three double faults in the second game of the second set, yet she again broke back immediately and proceeded to take a 5-2 lead.

But the contest started to turn from then as Gavrilova reeled off four straight games, with errors proving costly for Barty.

However, a pair of forehands into the net saw Gavrilova squander two set points in the tie-break and she was punished as Barty finally closed out victory.

 

Data Slam: Barty builds Aussie dominance
With her win over Gavrilova, Barty improved her career record against fellow Australians to 26-6. It marked her first meeting with a compatriot at a grand slam.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Barty – 20/34
Gavrilova – 10/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Barty – 7/6
Gavrilova – 2/6

BREAK POINTS WON
Barty – 6/6
Gavrilova – 4/10

Serena Williams and Simona Halep started the season with straight-sets victories in Melbourne a week before the Australian Open gets under way.

Williams and Halep played in an exhibition event with a crowd of 4,000 watching on in Adelaide last Friday and they were back in competitive action three days later.

Legendary American Williams beat Daria Gavrilova 6-1 6-4 to move into the third round of the Yarra Valley Classic.

The fifth seed struck 27 winners to 15 unforced errors on Margaret Court Arena as she set up a meeting with Tsvetana Pironkova, who ousted Donna Vekic 1-6 6-4 6-2.

Williams said: "It was a good match for me. It wasn't easy at all. It was lots of rallies and lots of movement, and she's from here, so she obviously always plays hard. So it was really good and it felt good to clinch that in the end."

Third seed Karolina Pliskova, Petra Martic, Danielle Collins and Marketa Vondrousova also advanced to the last 16 on Monday.

Elsewhere, top seed Halep is through to the third round of the Gippsland Trophy following a 6-4 6-4 win over Anastasia Potapova.

Halep hit 23 winners and broke twice in each set in what was her first official match since October.

Elina Svitolina, the third seed, beat Andrea Petkovic 6-1 6-4, while Coco Gauff, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Jelena Ostapenko were among the other winners seven days prior to the start of the first grand slam of 2021.

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