Renata Zarazua became the first Mexican woman to reach a WTA Tour semi-final since 1993 after continuing her fairytale run at the Mexican Open.

Local wildcard Zarazua upstaged Tamara Zidansek 6-2 3-6 6-2 en route to the final four of the WTA International tournament in Acapulco on Thursday.

World number 270 Zarazua, 22, will face teenage qualifier Leylah Fernandez for a spot in the final.

Canadian 17-year-old Fernandez moved through to her maiden WTA semi-final after ousting fellow teen Anastasia Potapova 6-3 7-5.

Elsewhere, seventh seed Heather Watson prevailed 6-3 1-6 6-1 against American Christina McHale.

Next up for Watson is Wang Xiyu, who eased past sixth seed Zhu Lin 6-2 6-2.

Heather Watson moved into the Mexican Open quarter-finals, while teenager Leylah Fernandez continued her run on Wednesday.

Watson, the British seventh seed at the WTA International event, was too good for Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.

Zhu Lin was the other seed to advance, getting past Katie Boulter 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 in one hour, 48 minutes.

Another seed fell in Nao Hibino, who was crushed by Canadian 17-year-old Fernandez 6-3 6-0 in just over an hour.

Renata Zarazua, Tamara Zidansek, Anastasia Potapova, Christina McHale and Wang Xiyu also moved into the last eight.

Maria Sharapova insists there will be no farewell tour after she announced her retirement from tennis, with the Russian stating Kobe Bryant's death proved pivotal in her decision to bow out.

Sharapova – a five-time grand slam champion – confirmed her retirement on Wednesday, having struggled with injuries in recent years, while she also served a 15-month ban for testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

The 32-year-old, who finishes her career at 373 in the WTA rankings and with 36 singles titles to her name, won her first grand slam at Wimbledon in 2004, aged 17.

Despite being one of the biggest names in tennis, Sharapova dismissed any idea of prolonging her time on the court, meaning her last appearance will be the defeat to Donna Vekic in the Australian Open in January.

"I don't feel I need to go on the court for the entire world and every fan to know that this is my last time on the court," Sharapova said in an interview with the New York Times.

"Even when I was younger, it was not the way I wanted it to end. As I think you've seen throughout my career, my perseverance has been my greatest tool, my greatest strength.

"But I've started feeling like it was becoming a weakness, because the stubbornness that was keeping me going was keeping me going for wrong reasons."

Having decided she should soon call it a day while flying from Australia to Los Angeles following her defeat to Vekic, Sharapova added that the death of basketball icon Bryant – who she said had been an "incredible sounding board" for her during her career – on January 26 made her mind up.

"We were supposed to see each other like three days after the crash," Sharapova said.

"I think we all seem at times in our journey like larger than life because of what we do, but everyone at the core is incredibly fragile.

"And if anything it just opens up your eyes to what really matters in life, so that was a moment where I had a really good think about my future as well."

Sharapova acknowledged it is difficult to leave her tally of grand slam titles at five, yet she has no regrets over calling time on her career.

"Look, would I have loved to have a sixth, a seventh, an eighth Grand Slam trophy?" she added. "That number sounds better, but I could have had zero, and I got myself to a pretty incredible place."

Venus Williams' tough start to 2020 continued as she squandered seven match points in a first-round loss at the Mexican Open, while Sloane Stephens was also beaten.

Williams made an early exit at the Australian Open and the American veteran went down to Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in Acapulco on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old wasted seven match points during the second set before bowing out after two hours, 38 minutes.

Williams, a two-time champion of the event, also served 13 double faults as she lost a fourth straight match – a run dating back to last year.

It was a tough day for the seeds at the WTA International event, where Williams was joined by Stephens and Lauren Davis in losing.

Stephens, the top seed and 2016 champion, suffered her fourth straight loss to begin 2020, going down to Mexican wildcard Renata Zarazua 6-4 6-2.

The fourth seed, Davis was edged by fellow American Christina McHale 6-2 1-6 6-4.

The only seed to advance was Zhu Lin, while there were also wins for Sara Errani, Katie Boulter, Katie Volynets, Leylah Fernandez and Caroline Dolehide.

Wang Yafan's Mexican Open title defence came to an end in the first round, while Coco Vandeweghe also made an early exit on Monday.

Last year's champion, second seed Wang Yafan fell to Wang Xiyu 6-4 7-6 (10-8) in her opener in Acapulco.

Wang Yafan could convert just four of 12 break points, while Wang Xiyu capitalised on five of her eight.

A two-time grand slam semi-finalist, Vandeweghe suffered her fifth defeat in nine matches in 2020 with a 4-6 6-4 6-4 loss to seventh seed Heather Watson at the WTA International event.

Of the four seeds in action, Nao Hibino joined Watson in advancing, while Marie Bouzkova went down to Tatjana Maria to be one of two casualties alongside Wang Yafan.

Tamara Zidansek, Anastasia Potapova and Kateryna Bondarenko also progressed on Monday.

Sofia Kenin lost her first WTA Tour match since winning the Australian Open triumph to crash out of the Dubai Tennis Championships in the first round.

Kenin claimed her maiden grand slam title in Melbourne and then helped the United States to a place in the Fed Cup Finals with a 3-2 win over Latvia.

However, despite winning a tight opening set on Tuesday, she was defeated 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-3 by St Petersburg Ladies Trophy runner-up Elena Rybakina, whose reward is a second-round tie against Katerina Siniakova, who overcame Karolina Muchova 6-4 4-6 6-0.

"I didn't get nervous at all because I knew it was going to be tough," Rybakina, who was playing her sixth match in eight days, said.

"Actually, I prepared myself like it's a good practice. I didn't expect to win. I tried to do my best, but I was not nervous. I didn't think about her winning the Australian Open because I know that now anyone can beat anyone."

Kenin's defeat was not the only shock, however, with Belinda Bencic's defence of her title proving to be short-lived as she let a brilliant start slip in a remarkable loss to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

World number four Bencic was in complete control as she took the first 19 points but was unable to prevent Pavlyuchenkova building momentum in an extraordinary turnaround.

After losing seven of the first eight games, the Russian won 12 of the final 13 to cap a brilliant 1-6 6-1 6-1 triumph – her 15th win against top-five opposition and her second of 2020.

Bencic's capitulation followed on from another surprise result, with Jennifer Brady claiming a 6-2 6-1 victory over Elina Svitolina.

Brady – who stunned world number one Ash Barty in Brisbane last month – needed just an hour to send the world number six, who won in Dubai in 2017 and 2018, packing.

Kristina Mladenovic cruised past Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets to tee up a tie with second seed Karolina Pliskova.

Veronika Kudermetova got the better of Dayana Yastremska, while Petra Martic dispatched Hsieh Su-wei and Aryna Sabalenka saw off Maria Sakkari 6-2 4-6 6-1.

Kiki Bertens outclassed Elena Rybakina to retain her St Petersburg Ladies' Trophy title and Magda Linette won the Thailand Open on Sunday.

Bertens became the first player to win back-to-back titles in St Petersburg, easing to a 6-1 6-3 victory over eighth seed Rybakina.

World number eight Bertens, who was due to face the returning Kim Clijsters in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships before withdrawing this weekend, was in tears after losing just one set this week to claim a 10th WTA title.

She saved all five break points she faced, securing a first title this year.

"I never expect any match to be easy. It didn't feel easy, of course, even though the scoreline was. At the end, I felt a little bit nervous, but I was just happy to close it out," second seed Bertens said. 

"I just tried to approach every point the same, no matter what the score is. Sometimes, on a break point, you go for a little more on serve, and that's what I did today."

Linette sealed the second WTA Tour title of her career with a 6-3 6-2 defeat of qualifier Leonie Kung in Hua Hin.

Teenager Kung, playing in the main draw of an event at this level for only the second time, failed to break Linette's serve and was made to pay for being unable to hold on three occasions.

Kiki Bertens will defend her St Petersburg Ladies' Trophy title on Sunday after defeating Russian number one Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1 4-6 6-1.

World number eight Bertens, who has been confirmed as Kim Clijsters' first opponent in next week's Dubai Tennis Championships, required a decider on Saturday to secure a third successive win over a Russian opponent.

But despite relinquishing control in the second set, Bertens did not let up in the third as she ultimately cruised through to reach her first singles final since October.

Eighth seed Elena Rybakina will be Bertens' opponent in the final, with the 20-year-old advancing to the biggest final of her career so far with a 3-6 7-5 6-1 defeat of Maria Sakkari.

Elsewhere, in the Thailand Open, teenager Leonie Kung got the better of Nao Hibino to make the final in what is just her second WTA Tour main draw event.

The 19-year-old had to come from a break down in the decider on Saturday but ultimately triumphed 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Kung will face world number 42 Magda Linette in the final, with the Pole having overcome Patricia Maria Tig in her semi-final.

Belinda Bencic started her bid for glory at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy with a battling win over home hope Svetlana Kuznetsova, while Johanna Konta suffered elimination.

Top seed Bencic came out on top 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 against the Russian veteran in one hour and 44 minutes to move into the quarter-finals.

The world number five, runner-up at this event in 2016, struggled for momentum in a first set where she was broken three times, but Kuznetsova could not serve out the opener at 6-5.

Bencic then claimed the tie-break after racing to win the first five points and tightened things up in the second set, where one solitary break in the seventh game proved decisive.

There was an upset on Wednesday as fourth seed Konta was dumped out by French qualifier Oceane Dodin, who triumphed 6-3 6-4.

Dodin controlled the encounter with her serve, with Konta unable to break in the match and only forcing two opportunities to do so as the Briton fell to her third consecutive first-round loss in 2020.

"I don't have any pressure right now," said world number 159 Dodin, who has struggled with health issues including vertigo during the past two years.

"I'll give it my best and we'll see what happens."

Alize Cornet and Anastasia Potapova also progressed, with Fiona Ferro to play Elena Rybakina in the last contest of the day.

Top seed Elina Svitolina made a comfortable start to her campaign at the Thailand Open, defeating Bibiane Schoofs 6-2 6-4 in 79 minutes.

Wang Qiang, having already played her first-round match, defeated Katarzyna Kawa 6-3 6-4 to move into the quarter-finals, where she will meet Leonie Kung, who was a 6-3 6-1 winner over seventh seed Zhu Lin.

Zhu was the only seed to fall as Zheng Saisai and Nao Hibino also moved into the last eight, while Magda Linette won her first-round contest against Kateryna Bondarenko in straight sets to mark her 28th birthday in style.

Elena Rybakina continued her strong start to 2020 by winning the Hobart International title on Saturday.

The Kazakh, 20, proved too good for Zhang Shuai 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 to claim her second WTA Tour crown.

Rybakina is in impressive form to begin the year, having also reached the final in Shenzhen this month.

She delivered in the decider this time, converting all three break points she created on her way to victory in one hour, 33 minutes.

Rybakina will hope to carry her good form into the Australian Open, facing Bernarda Pera in the opening round.

Ash Barty produced a superb comeback to reach the final of the Adelaide International, where she will face Dayana Yastremska in an enticing clash before she bids to win the Australian Open.

The world number one was forced to come through a testing last-four encounter with American Danielle Collins but got a victory that ensures she will remain top of the rankings after the first major of 2020.

Her power posed Barty plenty of problems and another shock appeared on the cards when Collins, who defeated Sofia Kenin and Belinda Bencic en route to the semis, claimed the first set.

Collins struggled on serve in the second set, however, and Barty was ruthless in capitalising as she raced into a 5-0 lead.

Powerless to prevent Barty forcing a decider, Collins demonstrated admirable resilience in the third set.

Barty broke for a 4-3 lead with a return winner, but Collins' vicious backhand saw her hit straight back.

The same shot proved her downfall in the decisive tie-break, though, a backhand error securing the match for Barty, who will turn her attention to one of the WTA Tour's rising stars in Yastremska.

Ranked 24th in the world, the 19-year-old overcame world number 12 Aryna Sabalenka, adding the Belarusian to a list of scalps that has this week also included Angelique Kerber.

Sabalenka saw off Simona Halep in the quarter-finals but Yastremska had too much for her as the Ukrainian completed a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) success.

"Especially in the beginning of the year, I think it brings me some confidence before the grand slam, so it's nice to be in the finals," Yastremska said after reaching her first WTA Premier final.

"Here I started really to feel, with each game, that I'm playing better and better."

Meanwhile, at the Hobart International, Zhang Shuai overcame Veronika Kudermetova to set up a final with Elena Rybakina, who beat 2015 champion Heather Watson.

Garbine Muguruza hopes to be fit for the Australian Open after withdrawing from the Hobart International due to a viral illness.

Former world number one Muguruza withdrew from her quarter-final against Veronika Kudermetova on Thursday.

The two-time grand slam winner is scheduled to face a qualifier in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday. She is in the same quarter of the draw as Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina and Angelique Kerber.

Muguruza tweeted: "I'm sorry I could not play today. I've had a fever for several days and this morning my body said 'enough'.

"I'll rest today and hope to travel to Melbourne tomorrow. I hope to be able to play [the Australian Open].

"I want to thank all the fans in Hobart for their support and love. I hope to return soon."

Heather Watson beat top seed Elise Mertens 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-5 to reach the semi-finals, while Kudermetova will take on Zhang Shuai.

At the Adelaide international Simona Halep suffered a 6-3 6-2 quarter-final loss to Aryna Sabalenka.

Second seed Halep lasted just one hour and nine minutes against Sabalenka, who reeled off seven straight games to take the first set and move 5-0 up in the second.

The Wimbledon champion won the next two games but was unable to hold serve to stay in the match.

Sabalenka will take on Dayana Yastremska, who beat Donna Vekic 6-4 6-3, in the semi-finals.

Top seed Ash Barty repeated her French Open final victory over Marketa Vondrousova to reach the final four in Adelaide.

Barty hit 20 winners and saved six of seven break points to secure a 6-3 6-3 triumph and advance to a meeting with Danielle Collins after the American overcame Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-1.

Three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber suffered a back injury that forced her to withdraw from the Adelaide International on Wednesday with the Australian Open just around the corner.

Kerber, who won the Australian Open in 2016, had lost the first set to Dayana Yastremska 6-3 and was a break down in the second when she required on-court medical assistance.

After being put through a series of stretches, the former world number one decided she was unable to carry on and retired, allowing Yastremska to reach the last eight of the competition, where she will meet Donna Vekic after her 2-6 7-5 6-1 win over Maria Sakkari.

The most impressive win of the day belonged to Marketa Vondrousova, however, as last year's French Open runner-up claimed a stunning 6-0 6-0 victory over home hope Arina Rodionova, setting up a meeting with another Aussie in the quarters – world number one Ash Barty.

Vondrousova, 20, is taking part in her first tournament since Wimbledon after undergoing wrist surgery in September and will be out for revenge against Barty, who beat her at Roland Garros in June.

Fourth seed Belinda Bencic came through a tight tussle with Julia Goerges to emerge a 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) victor, with her last-eight opponent Danielle Collins having significantly less difficulty against fellow American Sofia Kenin – the unseeded 26-year-old winning 6-3 6-1.

The fourth quarter-final will see Aryna Sabalenka go head-to-head with Simona Halep, after the Belarussian sixth seed eliminated Bernarda Pera 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Elise Mertens remains on course for a third Hobart International title after the top seed dropped single game in her 6-1 6-0 defeat of Viktoria Kuzmova, setting up a quarter-final with Great Britain's Heather Watson, a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 winner against Fiona Ferro.

Aussie wildcard Lizette Cabrera claimed a 4-6 6-4 6-4 upset over Kristyna Pliskova, while second seed Garbine Muguruza edged past Ons Jabeur 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) and will face Veronika Kudermetova.

Shuai Zhang, Lauren Davis and Elena Rybakina are also into the quarter-finals following respective triumphs over Kateryna Kozlova, Magda Linette and Alize Cornet on Wednesday.

Ash Barty escaped a scare against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to secure a first singles win of the year and Simona Halep also reached the quarter-finals of the Adelaide International.

Home hope Barty benefited from a bye into the second round, but no one could accuse her opponent of allowing her an easy stroll into the last eight, the world number one eventually coming out on top 4-6 6-3 7-5 after two hours and nine minutes on court.

The French Open champion was beaten by Jennifer Brady in her opening singles contest of 2020 at the Brisbane International last week and was in danger of falling at the first hurdle again on Tuesday.

Barty raised her game after losing the first set before a thrilling decider swung back and forth with a total of five breaks of serve, including when the top seed was twice serving for the match at 5-2 and 5-4. 

But the Australian bounced straight back with a break of her own to move 6-5 in front and then served it out at the third attempt to set up a meeting with either eighth seed Marketa Vondrousova or Arina Rodionova, the Australian qualifier who surprisingly saw off Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-2 in the first round.

Joining Barty in the quarters is Wimbledon champion Halep, who dealt with another Australian in the form of wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 7-5 in her first singles contest of the season.

The second seed from Romania, who struck 19 winners and made only 11 unforced errors, will now face Aryna Sabalenka or Bernarda Pera in the final eight after they defeated Su-wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova, respectively.

Maria Sakkari, Donna Vekic and Julia Goerges came through first-round ties.

Top seed Elise Mertens eased into round two of the Hobart International, thrashing Christina McHale 6-1 6-1, and Garbine Muguruza advanced with a 6-1 7-5 defeat of Wang Yafan. 

Caroline Garcia, the eighth seed, was send packing by Australian outsider Lizette Cabrera on a day which also saw Elena Rybakina, CiCi Bellis, Alize Cornet, Ons Jabeur and Zhang Shuai go through.

Former world number one Serena Williams claimed her first WTA Tour title in three years after winning the Auckland Open on Sunday.

Not since winning the 2017 Australian Open had Williams clinched silverware – the 23-time grand slam champion a runner-up at Wimbledon (2018 and 2019) and the US Open (2018 and 2019), while she retired in the 2019 Rogers Cup final.

However, Williams ended her drought by defeating fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-3 6-4 in the women's final in New Zealand.

"It feels good. It's been a long time. I think you could see the relief on my face," Williams said during her on-court interview before announcing she will donate her prize money (and a dress from each of her matches) to the bushfire relief effort in Australia.

Williams was almost flawless against Pegula, stepping up her preparations for the upcoming Australian Open with two aces and just one break of serve to capture her 73rd WTA crown – a record stretching across four decades after winning her first in 1999.

After a sluggish start, which saw the top seed fall 3-1 behind in the opening set, Williams eventually found her range en route to the 38-year-old's first trophy as a mother.

After snapping a sequence of five defeats in finals since her 2017 triumph at the Australian Open, Williams will look to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 slam titles at Melbourne Park.

Meanwhile, defending champion and second seed Karolina Pliskova won the Brisbane International for a second straight year after outlasting Madison Keys in three sets.

Pliskova prevailed 6-4 4-6 7-5 over eighth seed Keys for her third victory at the WTA Premier event in Brisbane.

Page 4 of 5
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.