Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic eased to a straight-sets win over Sara Sorribes Tormo to maintain her good form and book a place in the Ostrava Open quarter-finals.

Third seed Bencic needed just 88 minutes to see off her 36th-ranked opponent as she made it 15 victories from her past 18 matches.

Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova is also through to the last eight on home soil after battling past French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6).

Martincova is into her fifth quarter-final of the season and will take on number four seed Maria Sakkari, who saw off Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 6-2 earlier on Thursday.

Also through to round three is Elena Rybakina following a hard-fought 6-3 2-6 6-1 win over qualifier Magda Linette, while Jil Teichmann – who shocked former world number one Angelique Kerber in the previous round – advanced in three sets against Alison Riske.

She will face Petra Kvitova for a place in the semi-finals. 

Top seed Aslan Karatsev exited the Astana Open at the last-16 stage with a straight-sets defeat to Emil Ruusuvuori on Thursday.

World number 84 Ruusuvuori saved a set point in the first-set tie-break on his way to a 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 victory and will now face Ilya Ivashka for a place in the semi-finals.

There was nearly another upset as home hopeful Alexander Bublik, seeded second, had to recover from a set down to overcome Miomir Kecmanovic 2-6 6-3 7-5.

Carlos Taberner awaits Bublik in the next round after the Spaniard beat Egor Gerasimov 5-7 7-6(5) 7-5.

Kwon Soon-woo and James Duckworth saw off Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic respectively in straight sets to remain a course for glory.

At the Moselle Open in Metz, meanwhile, Gael Monfils took out Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(2) 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals on home soil.

Tournament favourite Hubert Hurkacz made light work of 2016 champion Lucas Pouille with a 6-2 6-3 victory to set up a meeting with Andy Murray in the quarter-finals.

Elsewhere on Thursday, German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk proved too strong for Karen Khachanov and will now face Marcos Giron, who upset fourth seed Alex de Minaur.

Former world number one Naomi Osaka unsurprisingly withdrew from next month's Indian Wells Masters, having flagged a break from tennis following her US Open meltdown.

The tournament confirmed 2018 champion Osaka's absence on Wednesday, with the Indian Wells Masters scheduled to take place from October 4-17 after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Osaka's US Open title defence came crashing down in a remarkable 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 third-round capitulation at the hands of eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez earlier this month.

Up a set and serving for the match at 6-5 on Arthur Ashe Stadium, four-time major champion Osaka lost her cool and composure after throwing her racquet three times in an unsuccessful second-set tie-break.

Amid boos in New York, Japanese star Osaka was also warned after hitting a ball into the crowd at Flushing Meadows.

After the surprise exit, Osaka told reporters she planned to "take a break from playing for a while."

She added: "I feel like for me recently, like, when I win I don't feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don't think that's normal. I didn't really want to cry.

"I feel like… this is very hard to articulate. I feel like I'm kind of at this point where I'm trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match [tearing up]. Sorry."

It comes following a difficult couple of months due to mental health concerns as a result of "long bouts of depression" since winning the 2018 US Open.

Osaka withdrew from May's French Open having won her first-round match, after she was fined and threatened with further punishment – and possible expulsion from the grand slam – for skipping obligatory media duties.

She subsequently pulled out of Wimbledon before returning for the Olympic Games, though she suffered a surprise loss on home soil in Tokyo and was reduced to tears during a news conference in Cincinnati.

 

Andy Murray is building confidence after he claimed back-to-back wins for the first time since Wimbledon by defeating Vasek Pospisil at the Moselle Open.

Murray followed up Tuesday's triumph against Ugo Humbert with a straight-sets victory over the Canadian, reaching the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-3 success.

The last eight will see Murray face either Lucas Pouille or top seed Hubert Hurkacz, who he lost to in Cincinnati last month.

However, Murray has since played an exceptional five-setter with Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open and the former world number one and three-time grand slam champion is feeling increasingly positive about his game.

"This period has been the most tournaments I've played [recently] and my body feels good and I'm starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match," Murray said in his on-court interview. 

"[I'm] starting to see the points and how I want to play them again, which is great. There have been times in the past year where I've been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing and stuff, which for me was always a strong part of my game and it made me feel quite uncomfortable on the court when I was feeling that way.

"I'm starting to get that back and the results are coming and my tennis is getting better."

The two other last 16 matches saw second seed Pablo Carreno Busta defeat Mikael Ymer 7-5 6-2, while fifth seed Lorenzo Sonego fell victim to a comeback from teenager Holger Rune, who prevailed 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4.

Pouille came from behind to set up his clash with Hurkacz with a three-set win over qualifier Brayden Schnur, and Peter Gojowczyk was victorious in another first-round match.

At the Astana Open, defending champion John Millman came through a marathon match with Jaume Munar to reach the quarter-finals. The Australian took victory 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 after three hours and nine minutes.

Seventh seed Laslo Djere needed three sets to see off Lorenzo Musetti but eighth seed Ilya Ivashka had little difficulty beating Timofey Skatov in straight sets.

There were also wins for James Duckworth, Kwon Soon-woo, Emil Ruusuvuori and Carlos Taberner.

Iga Swiatek coasted through to the quarter-finals of the Ostrava Open after defeating Yulia Putintseva as Paula Badosa faltered against Anett Kontaveit.

Favourite Swiatek provided an astute performance to ease past Putintseva 6-4 6-4 to secure a potential quarter-final tie with Elena Rybakina.

Petra Kvitova, who is second seed in Croatia, did not enjoy as comfortable a victory but battled past Anastasia Potapova 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 to confirm her last-eight berth.

The ninth ranked Badosa, however, was not as fortunate as she was dumped out by Kontaveit, who cruised to a 6-3 6-4 win over the world number 27 in just over an hour.

Jelena Ostapenko set up a last-16 clash with fourth seed Maria Sakkari as she defeated Anna Blinkova 6-4 6-0, while Alison Riske recovered from a second-set setback to defeat Fiona Ferro 6-4 1-6 6-4.

Riske will now meet Jil Teichmann, who shocked former world number one Angelique Kerber, and whoever wins will be rewarded with a tie against world number 10 Kvitova.

Simona Halep has confirmed she has parted company with her long-time coach Darren Cahill.

Halep, who was the year-end number one in 2017 and 2018, has been coached by Cahill for the past six years.

She won the 2018 French Open, her first grand slam title, under his guidance before Cahill left the team for a spell to spend more time with his family.

Cahill – who also guided Halep to the 2018 Australian Open final – returned to coach the Romanian ahead of the 2019 WTA Finals, following on from her success at Wimbledon.

The 29-year-old has endured an injury-hit 2021 and was knocked out of the US Open in the fourth round by Elina Svitolina.

In a post on her official Twitter account, Halep announced: "After six wonderful years working together, Darren Cahill and I have decided that it's time to end our working relationship.

"Thank you D for everything, for making me a better tennis player and a better person."

Former world number one Angelique Kerber was stunned by Jil Teichmann as she lost 6-2 6-3 in Tuesday's Ostrava Open first-round tie.

World number 42 Teichmann raced to a memorable victory against the three-time grand slam winner in just over an hour as the left-hand collected her sixth win against a top-20 player this season.

Half of those wins have come this year as well, with the Swiss beating Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic and Karolina Pliskova in a breakthrough Cincinnati campaign.

Fifth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova cruised through after negotiating a difficult first set against Ana Konjuh to win 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in just over an hour-and-a-half.

Tereza Martincova's victory over fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova did not come as easily, though, with the former edging to a 5-7 6-4 7-6 (9-7) win in more than a three-hour slog.

Martincova, who is ranked 61st in the world, miraculously recovered from 5-0 down in the tie-break to save a match point before securing her first main-draw win in Croatia.

Yulia Putintseva experienced similar difficulties against Shuai Zhang, as she also battled out in a three-hour marathon and saved a match point to eventually succeed 5-7 7-6 (9-7) 6-4.

Andy Murray battled through to the second round of the Moselle Open with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory over sixth seed Ugo Humbert on Tuesday.

Murray chose to play in the event as a wildcard to improve his world ranking and avoid tougher first-round encounters, such as facing Stefanos Tsitsipas at the U.S. Open, and he recovered from going behind in the opening set to ease through his first-round tie.

Humbert, who is ranked 26th in the world, came into the clash 87 places ahead of the two-time Wimbledon winner but failed to make home advantage count as the Scot dispatched of him in just over two hours.

Karen Khachanov, who is the seventh seed in Metz, avoided a similar first-set scare to overcome Alexandre Muller 4-6 6-1 6-3, while Marcos Giron edged past Arthur Rinderknech 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

That win sets up a second-round tie with fourth seed Alex de Minaur, with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina sneaking past Gilles Simon 4-6 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 in Tuesday's other match.

Frenchman Benoit Paire crashed out of the Astana Open to world number 97 Egor Gerasimov as he lost 7-5 6-4.

John Millman, the fifth seed, did not endure similar struggles as he recovered from losing the first set to ease past Dmitry Popko 3-6 6-1 6-4.

Meanwhile, Ilya Ivashka coasted past Elias Ymer 6-2 6-4 in just over 90 minutes to secure his second-round berth in the Czech Republic.

Novak Djokovic may have missed out on completing a Grand Slam in 2021 but his "crazy" achievements across the year have received praise from Roger Federer. 

Djokovic fell at the final hurdle in his bid to secure a clean sweep of the majors, losing in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev at the US Open.

The Serbian's defeat at Flushing Meadows means Rod Laver remains the last man to claim all four majors in one year, the Australian doing so for a second time in 1969 having previously managed the feat seven years earlier. 

Neither Federer, who missed out on playing in New York due to knee surgery, nor Rafael Nadal have done so in their stellar careers, though the Swiss is certain a calendar slam is still possible.

"Will it actually happen again, that a player will win all four grand slams in their career? I think so," Federer said.

"We have seen with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and of course with me as well that this is possible.  

"It is extremely hard, of course. But I have the feeling, more than ever, that we can dominate on all kinds of ground where we have all found our own game.  

"The problem is mentally and physically it is not getting any easier for any of us. So, what Novak was able to accomplish this year has to be highly rated. It was absolute top class. It was crazy." 

Federer confirmed he would be out for "many months" when revealing he would require a third procedure on his problematic right knee in the space of 18 months.

However, the 40-year-old – who sits tied with long-time rivals Djokovic and Nadal on 20 grand slam singles titles – has suffered no setbacks in his recovery so far, putting him on course for a competitive return to the ATP Tour in the 2022 season.

"I'm feeling actually really good, considering, you know, that things are not as I hoped they would be, but I'm recovering well and the rehab is going really good, I must say," Federer said. 

"I've had no setbacks. You know, every day is a better day. I'm feeling strong and excited for what's to come."

Federer has not played since losing in straight sets to Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon quarter-finals back in July.

Lorenzo Sonego made an impressive start at the Moselle Open as the fifth seed defeated Marton Fucsovics in straight sets. 

The Italian recorded his 25th win of the year on the ATP Tour on Monday, winning 6-3 6-2 in 73 minutes while not even conceding a break point to Fucsovics. 

"I was really focused," said Sonego. "Marton is a great player and it was a tough match. I liked my tennis and I am really happy.  

"I am confident because this year has been my best. I am now number 24 in the world, which is my best ranking. I have played my best tennis this year." 

Vasek Pospisil also moved through, beating home wildcard hope Gregoire Barrere 6-3 6-4. 

Hubert Hurkacz is the top seed at the ATP 250 event in Metz, with Gael Monfils and Andy Murray among the other stars yet to play their first match. 

At the Astana Open, which has the same ranking points available, Miomir Kecmanovic was a 6-4 6-2 winner over Fernando Verdasco. 

Seventh seed Laslo Djere, meanwhile, had to battle hard to end a four-match losing streak on the ATP Tour. He edged into the last 16 with a gruelling 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over Colombia's Daniel Elahi Galan. 

The highest-ranked players in the tournament are Russian Aslan Karatsev and home hope Alexander Bublik. 

Second seed Bublik will start his campaign against Kecmanovic, whose victory over Verdasco was his first win since the Tokyo Olympics in July. 

Paula Badosa got her campaign off to a winning start as the Ostrava Open began on Monday. 

Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova, Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari are among the top names at the WTA 500 event, though they are all yet to begin their campaigns. 

World number 27 Badosa was the only seed in action, and she started her week in smooth fashion with a 6-2 6-2 triumph over Russian qualifier Varvara Gracheva. 

In a dominant performance, Badosa did not even concede a break point as she triumphed in 73 minutes to gain some revenge for her defeat to Gracheva at the US Open earlier this month. 

Fellow Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo joined Badosa in claiming a first-round victory, though she had to work much harder to see off Anastasia Zakharova. 

While Sorribes Tormo triumphed 6-3 6-3, she was given a stern examination by Zakharova, who forced nine break points in the contest but paid the price for converting just two. 

The prize for Sorribes Tormos is a testing last-16 tie against Olympic gold medallist Bencic. 

Caroline Garcia, meanwhile, was a day one casualty as she lost in straight sets to Anastasia Potapova. 

Potapova will now take on two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who will be playing in front of her home fans in the Czech Republic. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, having previously declared he would only do so if the ATP Tour made it mandatory.

Greek world number three Tsitsipas revealed last month he would not get a jab due to concerns over side effects.

The ATP Tour has persisted in encouraging players to get vaccinated, with Novak Djokovic the most high profile to have stated he was opposed to it, and Tsitsipas has now backtracked on his original stance.

"I will get vaccinated this year," the 23-year-old told Greek outlet Antenna TV. "So I can go to restaurants and shops. I support all those who get vaccinated.

"I am not a doctor; I am a tennis player, so I may not have the most substantiated opinion when it comes to medical issues."

The French Open runner-up was subject to backlash in his homeland following his initial comments on the vaccine, with a series of top figures questioning his thought process.

"The COVID-19 vaccine has not been tested enough because it is new and has some side effects," said Tsitsipas.

"I know some people who've had them. I'm not against it, I just see no reason for someone in my age group to be vaccinated [yet].

"For us young people I think it's good to pass the virus because we'll build immunity.

"I don't see it as something bad. As I said, it isn't obligatory, everyone has freedom to decide for themselves what's right and what's not. At some point we should all do it, I'm not saying the opposite.

"The time will come when we will not be given many options, but until then I want to see a better version of the vaccine that gives us more pluses than minuses."

Tsitsipas is set to play for Team Europe at the Laver Cup this week after missing Greece's Davis Cup tie with Lithuania due to a foot injury.

Jasmine Paolini battled to a straight-sets victory over Alison Riske in Sunday's Portoroz final to win her maiden WTA singles title.

World number 87 Paolini had already eliminated three seeded players to reach her first final and she recovered from a slow start to see off another 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Third seed Riske led 5-2 in the first set after breaking her opponent's serve three times in the opening seven games, but Paolini dug deep and took four games on the spin.

The Italian used that momentum in the tie-break to open up a 5-2 advantage before getting over the line with her second set point.

After a gruelling 63-minute opening set, Paolini found the second a more straightforward affair as she broke for 3-2 and reeled off the remaining games, the last of those points coming via an error-forcing forehand.

Paolini, who won two-thirds of her second-service points and converted six of her 10 break points, is glad her hard work has paid off with a first singles success at the age of 25.

"It's been an amazing week here in Portoroz," she said in her on-court interview. "I feel just very happy, it's a big achievement for me, to win my first title. It's special to do it on the hard court.

"It wasn't easy to go through to the final. I'm proud of myself because I never gave up.

"I'm working really hard in the past couple of months. I understood more about my game, I think. I just want to keep this level for all the season that is almost finished, and to stay strong and keep this level."

Teenager Clara Tauson defeated Jelena Ostapenko to claim her second WTA Tour title of the year at the Luxembourg Open. 

Tauson, the last player to defeat US Open champion Emma Raducanu, had already knocked out Olympic silver medallist Marketa Vondrousova en route to the final before taking another big scalp in Sunday's showdown. 

The defending champion from 2019, Ostapenko could not stop the 18-year-old Dane prevailing 6-3 4-6 6-4. 

Tauson, who defeated Raducanu to win a Challenger event in Chicago prior to the final grand slam of the year in New York, where she was beaten by Ash Barty, struck eight aces and made just one double fault throughout the match. 

Two breaks of serve saw her take the first set in just 30 minutes, though Ostapenko rallied in the second to force a decider. 

However, the world number 70 had too much for her rival with the trophy on the line, immediately coming from a break down to haul herself level before breaking to take the match at the second opportunity. 

Ostapenko was hunting a fifth career title, but the 2017 French Open champion has made it to just one other final in 2021, triumphing at Eastbourne prior to Wimbledon. 

Danish teenager Clara Tauson set up a Luxembourg Open final showdown with Jelena Ostapenko, showing off the prowess that saw her beat Emma Raducanu in Chicago prior to the US Open.

Raducanu recovered from that setback in the final of August's Challenger tournament in the Windy City, charging to a shock Flushing Meadows triumph, but fellow 18-year-old Tauson awaits her big breakthrough at the majors.

Tauson took down a former French Open runner-up and current Olympic silver medallist in reaching the Luxembourg final, beating Marketa Vondrousova in three sets, and now must overcome a player who has been champion at Roland Garros in Ostapenko.

She prised the vital break of serve in the ninth game of the decider against Vondrousova, upping the power in her shots, before serving out for a 6-4 2-6 6-4 victory.

Tauson will be going for a second title of the year, having won the Lyon Open in March.

Defending champion Ostapenko raced to a 6-1 5-1 lead over Liudmila Samsonova but then began to misfire and had to scramble from the brink of being taken to a third set.

Ostapenko eventually prevailed 6-1 7-6 (7-4), having trailed 4-1 in the tie-break, and she will attempt to scoop a fifth WTA title on Sunday. Her most recent came at Eastbourne in the week before Wimbledon.

At the WTA tournament in the Slovenian town of Portoroz, Sunday's final will feature American Alison Riske and Italy's Jasmine Paolini.

Riske denied Slovenian Kaja Juvan a place in a home final, earning a 6-0 6-4 win in their semi-final, while Paolini sprang a shock by beating Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 1-6 6-3 6-4.

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