Coco Gauff marched into ASB Classic final with an emphatic defeat of Danka Kovinic, while Linda Noskova upset Ons Jabeur to set up an Adelaide International showdown with Aryna Sabalenka.

Gauff beat Kovinic 6-0 6-2 to move into her first hard-court final since claiming the title in Linz back in October 2019.

The top seed from the United States won the first eight games of a one-sided semi-final, making another statement just over a week before the Australian Open gets under way.

Gauff took only 73 minutes to dispatch seventh seed Kovinic and will face qualifier Rebeka Masarova in the final on Sunday.

Spaniard Masarova reached her first WTA Tour final courtesy of a 6-3 6-3 victory over Ysaline Bonaventure.

The 130-ranked Masarova, a junior French Open singles champion in 2016, served with assurance and struck 16 winners to break new ground.

It was also a memorable Saturday for Czech teenager Noskova, who claimed the scalp of world number two Jabeur with a 6-3 1-6 6-3 victory in Adelaide.

It was the 18-year-old Noskova's second win over a top-10 opponent this week, having also knocked out Daria Kasatkina.

Second seed Sabalenka will be a strong favourite to deny world number 102 Noskova the title on Sunday after she saw off Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-2.

 

Emma Raducanu was in tears as she retired with an ankle injury at the ASB Classic 11 days before the Australian Open starts, while Coco Gauff beat Sofia Kenin to reach the quarter-finals.

Raducanu dished out a bagel to qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova in the first set of the round of 16 match in Auckland on Thursday, but the 2021 US Open champion was unable to continue after losing the second set 7-5.

The 20-year-old Brit ended a disappointing 2022 season early due to a wrist injury and suffered another blow ahead of the first major of this year, leaving the court in tears.

Gauff will be eyeing her maiden grand slam title in 2023 and she impressively dispatched fellow American Kenin 6-4 6-4 in the second round in the capital of New Zealand.

Top seed Gauff and her compatriot were forced to play indoors due to the rain and it was the 18-year-old who prevailed, breaking three times and saving six of the break points she faced.

The teenager will face Zhu Lin of China for a place in the semi-finals after she beat Venus Williams 3-6 6-2 7-5.

Leylah Fernandez inflicted a crushing 6-0 6-1 defeat on Julia Grabher after losing only two games in her first-round win over Brenda Fruhvirtova and the Canadian will now face Ysaline Bonaventure, who defeated Rebecca Marino in three sets.

Top seed Ons Jabeur made a winning start to the season at the Adelaide International, seeing off Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 to set up a meeting with Marta Kostyuk

Irina-Camelia Begu claimed the scalp of Jelena Ostapenko with a 6-3 6-0 upset of the seventh seed, while Victoria Azarenka was a 6-2 7-5 winner against Zheng Qinwen and teenager Linda Noskova got past Claire Liu in straight sets.

Linda Noskova produced the biggest win of her career as she defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 at the Adelaide International on Monday.

The 18-year-old Czech was impressive against the third seed as she recorded her first win against anyone in the top 30 of the world rankings.

Fourth seed Veronika Kudermetova eased past Amanda Anisimova in just an hour and 15 minutes, winning 6-3 6-0, while Liudmila Samsonova will face second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the next round after coming from a set down to beat Zhang Shuai 5-7 6-3 6-0.

Irina-Camelia Begu and Elena Rybakina also both came from behind to secure wins, with the latter beating fifth seed Danielle Collins to set up a last-16 clash against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, who beat Jaimee Fourlis 6-1 3-6 6-4.

At the ASB Classic in Auckland, 42-year-old Venus Williams comfortably overcame her 21-year-old opponent Katie Volynets 7-6 (7-4) 6-2, and will play China's Zhu Lin next after she eliminated sixth seed Madison Brengle 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

Third seed Leylah Fernandez beat Brenda Fruhvirtova 6-1 6-1 to set up a last-16 tie with Julia Grabher after she defeated Tereza Martincova in three sets.

Eighth seed Rebecca Marino is through after beating Dalma Galfi in straight sets and will now face Ysaline Bonaventure, who eventually put away Caty McNally 5-7 6-4 6-4.

Viktoria Kuzmova led fourth seed Bernarda Pera 5-4 in the opening set when rain stopped play for the day.

Tallinn Open top seed Anett Kontaveit kept her hopes of winning her home tournament alive with a 6-2 6-1 demolition of Tereza Martincova on Thursday.

The 26-year-old won five out of the final six games as she stormed to the first set, before securing her place in the quarter-finals with a superb second set in which she broke Martincova four times.

Fellow Estonian Kaia Kanepi is also through to the quarter-finals after a 7-5 7-5 victory over Ann Li.

The world number 32 found a crucial break with the opener tied at 5-5 as she took the first set, before breaking Li three times in the second to seal the win.

Eighth seed Shuai Zhang was dumped out by Donna Vekic in a 6-2 6-4 defeat, while fellow seed Jil Teichmann also saw her tournament ended as Ysaline Bonaventure beat her 7-6 (10-8) 6-3.

At the Parma Ladies Open, top seed Maria Sakkari came from a set down for the second consecutive match to overcome Maryna Zanevska and reach the semi-finals.

Zanevska sparked hopes for an upset as she broke the world number seven three times on her way to taking the opening set.

But Sakkari improved in the second to tie the match, before overcoming two breaks of serve from her Belgian opponent to win six of the last seven games and earn a 2-6 6-4 6-4 success.

Sakkari will face Danka Kovinic in the semi-finals, after the 27-year-old's 6-4 6-4 triumph over Italian Jasmine Paolini.

Irina-Camelia Begu's run of 12 consecutive wins on clay came to an end as she was defeated 6-2 7-6 (8-6) by Ana Bogdan in an all-Romanian clash. 

Bogdan's opponent in the final four will be Mayar Sherif, who beat American Lauren Davis 7-6 (7-2) 6-3.

Korea Open finalist Jelena Ostapenko was knocked out in the first round of the Tallinn Open after letting a one-set lead slip against Kaia Kanepi.

Ostapenko looked to be cruising after winning the opener, but Kanepi levelled in the second despite the Estonian watching five set points come and go.

Kanepi then romped to victory with a stunning final set to defeat Ostapenko 4-6 6-4 6-0 and keep her hopes of winning her home tournament alive.

In second-round action, Beatriz Haddad Maia is through to the quarter-finals after a 6-1 7-5 success over Linda Noskova.

After Haddad Maia cruised to a one-set lead, the second was a much tighter affair before the Brazilian's class showed as she broke Noskova and then held serve to earn a straight-sets win.

Second seed Belinda Bencic also secured her place in the final eight with a 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 triumph over Katie Boulter.

At the Parma Ladies Open, top seed Maria Sakkari came from behind to beat Arantxa Rus and seal her quarter-final spot.

Rus saved five out of five break points as she won the opening set 6-3 to give her hope of an upset.

Those hopes were soon dashed though as world number seven Sakkari broke twice to take the second set 6-2, before clinching the match in the third to tee up a clash with Maryna Zanevska.

World number 33 Irina-Camelia Begu made it 12 consecutive wins on clay by overcoming Matilde Paoletti in straight sets and will face fellow Romanian Ana Bogdan in the next round after she beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2 3-6 6-3.

Fourth seed Sloane Stephens saw her tournament come to an end after she was defeated by Danka Kovinic.

Anett Kontaveit fought back to secure her place in the last 16 of the Tallinn Open in her native Estonia against a spirited Xiyu Wang.

The in-form Wang made life difficult for top seed Kontaveit initially, impressively taking the first set against the world number four.

Kontaveit then appeared to be cruising to victory when she took the second set 6-2 and found herself 5-1 up in the third, but Wang staged something of a revival.

Wang won four games on the trot to stun Kontaveit, only for the 21-year-old to lose her nerve as her opponent broke again and then served out the match 3-6 6-2 7-5, taking her through to face Tereza Martincova.

Beatriz Haddad Maia was also caused problems by a Chinese player, with Xinyu Wang taking the third seed to three sets.

Haddad Maia took the first set fairly comfortably but was blown away in the second before her composure returned in the decider, winning 6-3 1-6 6-4 to also progress to the last 16.

The other seed in action on Tuesday was Jil Teichmann, and she had no such issues seeing off Laura Siegemund 6-4 7-6 (9-7), although the day's most impressive win saw Donna Vekic thrash Maileen Nuudi 6-2 6-0.

At the Parma Ladies Open, second seed Martina Trevisan was stunned 7-5 6-0 by Sara Sorribes Tormo.

It was a bad day for seeds throughout the draw in Italy. Anna Bondar (fifth), Nuria Parrizas Diaz (seventh) and Lucia Bronzetti (eighth) all lost in straight sets.

Third favourite Irina-Camelia Begu did buck that trend, however. She benefited from Viktoriya Tomova retiring, although the Romanian was already a set and 5-1 up.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich was the top seed to advance in Tuesday's action at Tennis in the Land, treating the Cleveland crowd to a two-and-half-hour battle before prevailing 4-6 6-3 6-3 against Sara Sorribes Tormo.

In a close contest, Belarus' Sasnovich took advantage in the big moments, winning five of her 10 break point opportunities, while Sorribes Tormo could only convert two-of-nine.

While seventh seed Sasnovich was the highest-seeded winner on the day, fifth seed Irina-Camelia Begu fell victim to a shock 6-3 6-2 upset from world number 415 Sofia Kenin.

Kenin, a wildcard, now advances to the quarter-finals after winning two matches in a row for the first time since January, and prior to this week she had lost her previous nine matches.

Alize Cornet will likely meet second seed Martina Trevisan in the quarter-final after a strong 6-3 7-6 (7-1) triumph against Denmark's rising 19-year-old talent Clara Tauson.

Liudmila Samsonova needed only 59 minutes to breeze past Iryna Shymanovich 6-1 6-0, and it was similarly smooth sailing for Magda Linette as she defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-2.

Meanwhile, at the Granby Championships in Canada, only one match was able to finish before the rain halted the rest of the day's play.

Spain's Nuria Parrizas-Diaz was too much for England's Harriet Dart, winning 6-2 6-4, while top seed Daria Kasatkina will just need to add the finishing touches when she resumes her match against Magdalena Frech, leading 6-3 5-0.

Irina-Camelia Begu ended her five-year wait for another WTA title by beating home favourite Lucia Bronzetti to claim the Palermo Open crown.

The Romanian captured her fifth trophy on the tour – and a first since triumphing in her native Bucharest in 2017 – as she prevailed 6-2 6-2 in one hour and 33 minutes on Sunday.

This was Begu's ninth career final and her experience showed against Bronzetti, who was appearing in her maiden championship match.

The 31-year-old Begu broke her opponent's serve six times on the way to becoming the second Romanian to triumph on the WTA Tour this year, after Simona Halep captured a title in Melbourne in January.

Nerves were evident early on as the opening three games went against serve, before Begu held in the fourth to take command.

The sixth seed had been on court for over three hours as she overcame fourth seed Sara Sorribes Tormo in a thrilling late-night semi-final on Saturday.

She was well on top against Bronzetti, though, breaking again and winning 80 per cent of points when landing her first serve as she took the opening set.

World number 78 Bronzetti had taken out France's Caroline Garcia and Italian compatriot Jasmine Paolini to reach her maiden WTA final.

However, she had little answer to Begu, who broke twice early in the second set to establish a commanding 3-0 advantage.

Bronzetti broke back to reduce the deficit to 3-2, but the world number 45 pulled away again before a thumping ace sealed the deal.

Irina-Camelia Begu came from a set down to defeat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6 6-3 6-4 to set up a final against Lucia Bronzetti at the Palermo Ladies Open.

A contest that lasted three hours and 12 minutes, finishing just 20 minutes shy of 2am local time, began well for Sorribes Tormo, with the fourth seed taking the opening set.

The Romanian came storming back in the second though and was forcing her opponent all the way back to the advertising curtain with a series of deep shots, while also impressing on her own serve, getting 90 per cent of her first serves in across the set.

Begu ultimately served out to take it 6-3 as the local time went past midnight, but there was plenty more to come as a third set that moved at a glacial pace in the early hours of Sunday morning kept the more dedicated fans in the stands away from their beds.

An hour after the second set had concluded, the score in the third was just 3-2 to Begu after the sixth seed forced a break against Sorribes Tormo, who was warned with a time violation during the game.

That seemed to be a turning point as one break became two, before the Spaniard broke back to initially frustrate Begu, only for the Romanian to serve out victory at the second time of asking.

She will face Bronzetti in Sunday's final after the world number 78 also came from behind to win her semi-final with compatriot Jasmine Paolini.

It was a remarkable turnaround considering Paolini won the opening set 6-0, with Bronzetti only winning 33 per cent of points on her own first serve compared to Paolini's 79 per cent on hers.

However, Bronzetti found several more gears in the second set, winning 83 per cent on her first serve this time, and she carried that form into the third, recovering brilliantly to take the match 0-6 6-3 6-3.

Irina-Camelia Begu issued an apology after a racquet she threw into the ground bounced into the crowd and struck a child at the French Open.

The Romanian was playing in a second-round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova and was down a break in the third set when the incident happened.

The match was suspended as the young boy, who was sitting near the umpire's chair, was left in tears and being comforted by his parents.

Begu was issued a warning but avoided a default and went on to win the match 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4.

She later posed for pictures with the boy and said sorry for her moment of frustration at a post-match news conference.

"Well, it's an embarrassing moment for me, so I don't want to talk too much about it. I just want to apologise," she said.

"My whole career I didn't do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. So I'm just going to say again, sorry for the incident and it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

"It was a difficult moment because I didn't want to hit that racquet. You hit the clay with the racquet, but you never expect [it] to fly that much."

A statement circulated by the French Tennis Federation from tournament referee Remy Azemar said: "The grand slam supervisor spoke with the parents who were with the child. The parents confirmed that the child was fine and not injured."

It said the racquet had "brushed a young spectator".

The incident was reminiscent of the 2020 US Open when men's world number one Novak Djokovic was defaulted when a ball he struck in anger hit a line judge.

Begu faces local favourite Leolia Jeanjean in round three.

Ekaterina Alexandrova said the "rules were against" her after she lost to Irina-Camelia Begu at the French Open, where her Romanian opponent accidentally hit a child in the crowd with her racket.

The incident occurred in the third set of the second round match on Thursday, with Begu slamming her racket in frustration after a lost point, inadvertently bouncing it off the court's surface and into the crowd, where it struck the youngster.

Begu has since apologised, calling it "embarrassing".

There was a short break in play as officials and supervisors checked on the crying child, before ultimately deciding to give Begu a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Once play resumed, Begu immediately broke Alexandrova's serve, and won six of the next eight games to seal a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4 victory.

In an Instagram post after her loss, Alexandrova expressed her disappointment, suggesting the rules had been against her.

"So disappointed to leave [Roland Garros] like that, I was trying to do my best, but seems like the rules were against me today," she wrote. "This shouldn't be happening. 

"I hope after today's match rules will be improved for everyone's safety. We are responsible for our racket."

Speaking to the media after her win, Begu was apologetic for her actions.

"Well, it's an embarrassing moment for me. I just want to apologise," she said. "My whole career I didn't do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. 

"So I'm just going to say again, sorry for the incident and, yeah, it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

She added: "It was a difficult moment because I didn't want to hit that racket, you know. 

"You hit the clay with the racket, but you never expect [it] to fly that much. 

"It was, as I said, embarrassing moment for me, and I just want to end it and not talk about it."

Maria Sakkari is handling the pressure of playing as top seed in a WTA Tour-level tournament for the first time, as she put herself to within one win of the final at the St Petersburg Ladies Open.

The Greek world number seven saw off a stern test from Elise Mertens on Friday, winning 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 to reach the semi-finals.

Sakkari had to salvage three set points in the opener, but eventually came out on top in the tie-break at the first time of asking.

Even with a comfortable lead in the second set, she failed to take the first three match points on offer, but got the fourth over the line to progress to her first semi-final of the season.

Sakkari, 26, previously reached the St Petersburg semi-final in 2020, where she lost to Elena Rybakina.

"When you're down in the score, you try to play more aggressively and [Elise] was playing really good in the last couple of games," Sakkari explained. 

"She came up with good serves and solid shots from the baseline. I just fought hard."

Next up

Irina-Camelia Begu stands in the way of Sakkari and a place in the final. 

The unseeded Romanian overcame two-time grand slam champion Petra Kvitova in the last 16 and defeated Tereza Martincova 6-4 6-2 in her last-eight tie.

It took just 85 minutes for Begu to secure her place in a fourth semi-final of her career at WTA 500 level or higher, but the first since 2017 in Moscow.

Kontaveit continues remarkable indoor run

World number nine Anett Kontaveit will face Jelena Ostapenko in the other semi-final, after ousting Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Belinda Bencic 7-6 (9-7) 6-2.

After her defeat of Bencic, second seed Kontaveit has now won 18 successive matches at indoor tournaments. She is the first player since Justine Henin in 2010 to go on such a streak.

Last year, the Estonian won titles in Ostrava, Moscow and Cluj-Napoca, which form part of this run.

Ostapenko, meanwhile, beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 to take her place in the last four. The 2017 French Open champion has only lost to top-10 players so far in 2022 (Paula Badosa and Barbora Krejcikova).

Emma Raducanu collected her first WTA Tour victory as she defeated Polona Hercog at the Transylvania Open in Romania.

Raducanu, who was the surprise US Open champion in September after not dropping a set throughout the tournament, appeared at just her fourth tour-level tournament and came to Cluj as third favourite.

The 18-year-old had lost opening-round matches at previous events in Nottingham, San Diego and Indian Wells.

However, world number 23 Raducanu finally recorded her first victory as she overcame a first-set scare to triumph over Hercog 4-6 7-5 6-1.

In the opening match of Tuesday's fixtures, sixth seed Marta Kostyuk cruised past Bernard Pera 6-3 6-4 to secure her last-16 berth.

Irina-Camelia Begu, ranked one behind Kostyuk for the tournament, did not enjoy similar fortunes as Romanian compatriot Irina Bara triumphed 7-6 (7-2) 0-6 6-4.

Jaqueline Cristian survived a marathon slog against Kaja Juvan as she came from a set down to win 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 7-6 (7-3) and book a second-round meeting with Ajla Tomljanovic.

Number one seed Simona Halep – who departed at the quarter-final stage of the Kremlin Cup last week – plays her first game on home turf on Wednesday against Elena-Gabriele Rusa and could meet Raducanu in the semi-final stages.

Meanwhile, Liudmila Samsonova, the third favourite at the Courmayeur Open, cruised past Stephanie Wagner 6-3 6-0 while seventh seed Jasmine Paolini comfortably dispatched Martina Di Giuseppe 6-4 6-1.

Shuai Zhang, who is the third seed in Italy, also enjoyed a routine victory as she eased past Jessica Pieri 6-1 6-3 after fourth favourite Petra Martic crashed out 3-6 4-6 to Saisai Zheng.

Elina Svitolina required a third-set tie-break to progress at the Indian Wells Open, while former world number one Victoria Azarenka handled an old rival in straight sets and Simona Halep fell victim to an upset. 

Svitolina – the fourth seed – dropped the first set to 32nd seed Sorana Cirstea before fighting back to reach the round of 16 at the WTA Premier 1000 event on Sunday.

Two-time grand-slam champion Azarenka joined Svitolina in the next round after knocking out seventh seed Petra Kvitova, but 11th seed Halep became Aliaksandra Sasnovich's latest conquest. 

 

SVITOLINA SURVIVES CIRSTEA SCARE

Svitolina needed two hours, 32 minutes to outlast Cirstea 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) and remain unbeaten in three career matches against the Romanian. 

The Ukrainian was on the defensive throughout the opening set, facing 11 break points on her serve and managing to save eight of them before Cirstea finally won out. 

Svitolina tightened things up from there, saving four of five break points the rest of the match. 

"It was a very tough match today, and I was fighting and trying to find my game," said Svitolina, who will face Jessica Pegula next. "It was a bit of a rollercoaster.

"I wish I could play a little bit better in the first set, I had chances to grab that set, but unfortunately it didn't play the way I wanted. I had to fight for every point, and Sorana played a great match, I think. I'm happy that I could win today."

 

AZARENKA TAKES DOWN KVITOVA

Azarenka won her first two Tour-level matches against Kvitova in 2008 and 2009 but had prevailed only once in six meetings since then before Sunday's 7-5 6-4 triumph. 

The two-time Indian Wells champion converted break-point chances when she needed them, six of 11 in all, and had 18 unforced errors to Kvitova's 26. 

"It was important to just stay there, really take my opportunities, not to let her," Azarenka said after taking down two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova. "If she gets in the groove in couple points, not to kind of let her extend that streak, if you want to call it that.

"I was trying to still create opportunities for myself, be more aggressive, and honestly just believing also that what I'm doing is right and see how I can execute that. So intention was good. Execution followed after."

 

ANOTHER UPSET FOR SASNOVICH

After knocking off US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the second round, Sasnovich ushered out another grand slam winner in Halep 7-5 6-4 and will next face Azarenka.

The world number 100 had 22 winners to 16 for Halep and won 61.8 per cent of points on her serve as she reached the round of 16 at Indian Wells for the first time. 

In other matches Sunday, ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fell to 23rd seed and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez 5-7 6-3 6-4, while second seed Iga Swiatek dropped only one game in a 6-1 6-0 demolition of Veronika Kudermetova. 

Jelena Ostapenko and Shelby Rogers also advanced. 

Anett Kontaveit ended a four-year title drought by beating Irina-Camelia Begu to win the inaugural Tennis in the Land event on Saturday.

Kontaveit had failed to win a tournament since her maiden WTA Tour triumph in 's-Hertogenbosch back in 2017 before defeating Begu 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

The world number 30 from Estonia had lost two finals this year, but she was not to be denied in Cleveland.

Begu fought back from 5-2 down in the first set to force a tie-break, but one mini-break was enough for second seed Kontaveit to take a big stride towards an elusive title.

The composed Kontaveit did not face a break point in a tight second set, not allowing her Romanian opponent a look-in as she served superbly.

Kontaveit only had one break-point opportunity of her own, but grasped it to lead 2-1 and went on to seal a confidence-boosting triumph ahead of the US Open.

Sam Stosur will be Kontaveit's opponent in the first round at Flushing Meadows, while Begu faces Andrea Petkovic.

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