Belinda Bencic eased to a 6-0 6-2 final victory over Daria Kasatkina to claim the Adelaide International 2 crown on Saturday.

Both Bencic and Kasatkina did not have to play a semi-final after their respective opponents, Veronika Kudermetova and Paula Badosa, both pulled out with injuries.

Bencic romped to victory in the final though, dropping just two games against her Russian opponent to lift her first title in Australia.

The match lasted just 67 minutes, as the 2021 runner-up converted five of her seven break point opportunities while not facing a single break point herself.

Bencic rattled off eight games in a row to start the final, and though Kasatkina did save some face with a couple of holds late on, the world number 13 finished the job to win in straight sets ahead of the start of the Australian Open next week.

"I'm happy I could show my work here on the court," Bencic told reporters at a post-match news conference. "I thought I played some great matches from the start of the tournament and also against different kind of opponents so I really could test myself out there in every way and just go confidently into the Australian Open."

At the Hobart International, Lauren Davis ended a six-year title drought with a 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 triumph over Elisabetta Cocciaretto in an all-unseeded final.

In the opening set, every game went to serve until the tie-break, when Davis found three crucial breaks to take the advantage heading into the second stanza.

But the second set was not the same tight affair as Cocciaretto, playing in her first Tour-level singles final, collapsed to a 5-0 deficit to leave her staring down the barrel of defeat.

Davis, who herself was playing in a first Tour-level final since winning the trophy in Auckland in 2017, overcame losing the next two games to take the title having not lost a set at the tournament.

Davis was delighted after the match, saying: "I have a lot of emotions going through my body right now. I'm just really happy, really excited. I really had to play my best in order to win today."

Belinda Bencic will play Daria Kasatkina in the final of the Adelaide International 2, though neither of them had to play a semi-final.

Bencic was due to go up against Veronika Kudermetova in the second scheduled semi-final on Friday, only for the Russian to withdraw due to a hip injury.

It was a similar story for Kasatkina, who received a walkover after Paula Badosa pulled out of their match, citing a thigh problem.

While Bencic and Kasatkina will now get the chance to claim a trophy early in the season, the focus for Badosa and Kudermetova will be on regaining fitness in time for the Australian Open, which starts next week.

Badosa was confident she can recover for the upcoming major, where she has been drawn against American Caty McNally in the first round.

"I'm really disappointed that I had to withdraw because I was really looking forward to the match," Badosa told reporters.

"When I was playing [against Beatriz Haddad Maia], it was a very tough match, especially physical, so I felt a little bit in my abductor. I felt like I pulled it a little bit.

"I feel a little bit worse, so I have the Australian Open ahead, and I hope I can recover for that."

Badosa needed two hours and 35 minutes to get past the Brazilian on Thursday, having knocked off Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi in the earlier rounds.

"I played three really good matches," the Spaniard said. "I think that helps me, as well, on my confidence for the tournaments ahead. Now it's something that I cannot control, so it is what it is."

At the Hobart International, Elisabetta Cocciaretto set up a showdown with Lauren Davis.

Sofia Kenin, the 2019 champion, fell 7-5 4-6 6-1 to world number 67 Cocciaretto, who has reached her first Tour-level singles final.

"It’s unbelievable for me to be here in the final of such a great tournament, and I’m really happy about my performance," Cocciaretto said.

"[Kenin is] a very good player, I was a junior when she won the grand slam [2020 Australian Open], so for me it's an honour to play against her."

Davis, meanwhile, saw off Anna Blinkova in straight sets. She has not featured in a Tour-level final since clinching the trophy in Auckland in 2016.

Veronika Kudermetova saved five match points as she beat Danielle Collins to reach the Adelaide International 2 semi-finals before Belinda Bencic knocked Caroline Garcia out.

Sixth seed Kudermetova showed great defiance to defeat American Collins 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 on Thursday.

Kudermetova fended off five match points when serving to stay in the tournament at 6-5 down in the second set and duly forced a tie-break.

Collins, runner-up to Ash Barty in the Australian Open final last year, took a 3-0 lead in the breaker, but back came her Russian opponent to level the match.

The world number nine dominated the deciding set to seal a meeting with Bencic in the last four.

Eighth seed Bencic got the better of WTA Finals champion Garcia 6-2 3-6 6-4.

Garcia broke straight back after going 3-1 down in the final set, but Bencic broke for the fourth time in the match to go through.

Paula Badosa and Daria Kasatkina will contest the other semi-final after beating Beatriz Haddad Maia and Petra Kvitova respectively. 

Elisabetta Cocciaretto saved two match points as she came from a set down to beat Bernarda Pera 5-7 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the Hobart International. 

The 21-year-old Italian will now face 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, who also stormed back to defeat Anhelina Kalinina 4-6 6-3 6-1.

Lauren Davis and Anna Blinkova will do battle in the other semi-final following wins over Wang Xinyu and Yulia Putintseva respectively. 

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.

Caroline Garcia came out on top in an almighty battle with Daria Kasatkina to complete the WTA Finals semi-final line-up on Saturday.

The winner of the Tracy Austin Group match in Fort Worth knew they would face Maria Sakkari in the last four and it was world number six Garcia who got the job done.

Frenchwoman Garcia won 4-6 6-1 7-6 (7-5) in a topsy-turvy contest that was finally settled in two hours and 27 minutes.

Kasatkina won four games in a row to take the opening set, but sixth seed Garcia stormed back to level the match in emphatic fashion as her aggressive approach paid off.

Russian Kasatkina twice came from a break down in a tense decider and fended off six break points in the ninth game of the final set to hold for a 5-4 lead, but Garcia held her nerve in the tie-break to advance.

Garcia and Sakkari will do battle for a place in the final on Sunday, with the winner facing either Iga Swiatek or Aryna Sabalenka.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Garcia- 42/48
Kasatkina - 16/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Garcia - 4/2
Kasatkina - 1/8

BREAK POINTS WON

Garcia - 6/14
Kasatkina - 5/7

Eighth seed Daria Kasatkina claimed her first win at this year's WTA Finals after fighting back for a comprehensive straight-sets victory over Coco Gauff in Fort Worth on Thursday.

Kasatkina trailed 4-1 in the first set but rallied to win the opening frame in a tiebreak, before dominating the second set to win 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 in one hour and 40 minutes.

The victory is Kasatkina's 41st of the year and 25th on the hard-court surface this season. Kasatkina is 29-0 this season when she wins the first set.

Gauff has now suffered two singles losses and two doubles defeats in Fort Worth this week, producing an erratic performance, where she committed 34 unforced errors compared to the Russian's 10.

Kasatkina had to earn the victory, with the first set lasting 66 minutes, as the eighth seed rallied from 3-0 down in the tiebreak to take the frame with her third set point.

The second set was more dominant, with Kasatkina claiming it in 35 minutes, although it included five straight broken games. Kasatkina converted her first match point from another Gauff error.

BREAK POINTS WON
Kasatkina - 6/10
Gauff - 5/8

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Kasatkina - 2/2
Gauff - 1/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Kasatkina - 10/10
Gauff - 25/34

Iga Swiatek continued her hoodoo over Daria Kasatkina as she breezed through their opening match at the WTA Finals.

Swiatek needed just an hour and 23 minutes to see off Kasatkina 6-2 6-3 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The world number one was in command throughout, her movement and intensity too much for Kasatkina in the Tracey Austin Group encounter.

Swiatek saved all three of the break points she faced and converted four of the seven chances she created for herself.

She sent down 23 winners, her highest tally in a single WTA Finals match, to complete her fifth win over Kasatkina this season.

The Pole is the first player to win five or more matches against the same opponent in a single season since Petra Kvitova against Lucie Safarova in 2014.

With her 46th such win of the year (excluding Billie Jean King Cup matches), she is the first player to win 46-plus WTA main draw matches in straight sets in a season since Serena Williams (66) and Agnieszka Radwanska (46) in 2013.

BREAK POINTS WON

Swiatek - 3/7

Kasatkina - 0/3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Swiatek - 23/18

Kasatkina - 4/9

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Swiatek - 1/3

Kasatkina - 1/1

There will be one racing certainty when the WTA Finals gets under way: a new champion will be crowned.

Iga Swiatek heads the list of contenders to carry off the trophy in Fort Worth, Texas, having enjoyed a spectacular season.

Ascendant Americans Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff will be chasing a home victory, while Tunisia's Ons Jabeur has reached finals at Wimbledon and the US Open so loves the big occasion.

Ahead of the tournament getting under way on Monday, Stats Perform has taken a look at the eight-player field.

Swiatek still the player to beat

With no past winner in the line-up, there is every reason to look to the world number one, Swiatek, as favourite.

The 21-year-old Polish player has eight titles this year, lifting trophies at Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome, the French Open, the US Open and San Diego.

Indeed, she is the only grand slam singles winner in the draw, with Ash Barty having retired and Elena Rybakina absent after no ranking or race points were awarded at Wimbledon, where she was a surprise champion.

Rybakina's absence calls into question the meritocracy of this year's tournament, which is intended to showcase the top performers on tour, yet there can be no doubt the season's premier performer is in the draw.

French Open and US Open winner Swiatek's remarkable run of 10 straight-sets victories in finals (dating back to the 2020 French Open) was finally ended by Barbora Krejcikova, who sprang a shock by winning in Ostrava in early October.

But by getting back to winning ways a week later in San Diego, scrapping for a three-set victory over Donna Vekic in the title match, Swiatek produced a typically impressive response, beating Qinwen Zheng, Gauff and Pegula on her way through the draw to improve to 64-8 in her win-loss record for the year.

Here is a measure of her dominance this season: Swiatek headed the 'Race to the WTA Finals' rankings with 10,335 points, with the players in second (Jabeur) to eighth place (Daria Kasatkina) having tallies ranging between 4,555 and 2,935 points.

Is Pegula the chief rival to Swiatek?

She might not have been the player that would have sprung to mind even a month ago, but Pegula's victory at the Guadalajara Open this month was an eye-opener.

Beginning by saving match points in a thrilling three-setter against Rybakina, Pegula took down grand slam winners Bianca Andreescu, Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka before swatting aside Maria Sakkari in the final.

Pegula has reached quarter-finals at the Australian, French and US Opens in 2022, and she has a tour-high 39 wins in WTA 1000 events since the beginning of last year.

She is up to third in the WTA rankings, one ahead of Coco Gauff, with the United States now having two women in the top five for the first time since October 2010, when Serena Williams was number two and sister Venus sat fourth.

As Pegula said after the Guadalajara final: "I'm definitely a very ambitious person. A little bit of a perfectionist, as well. I don't think you could win if you weren't ambitious, especially at this level.

"I feel like it's going to give me more motivation going forward knowing I can win these big titles. I think it will give me a lot of confidence ending the year, going into next year."

These are spirited words. She heads into the tournament with a 0-4 record against Swiatek in 2022, however.

Who's in, who's out, what's it all about?

As well as Swiatek and Pegula, the field for the eight-day tournament includes Caroline Garcia, Aryna Sabalenka and Sakkari, who have all featured at the WTA Finals in the past.

Four players make their debuts, including Pegula, who is joined as a newcomer by Jabeur, Gauff and Daria Kasatkina.

Gauff, 18, has become the 14th player aged under 19 to reach the WTA top five since the rankings were introduced in 1975.

She would not be the youngest WTA Finals champion, were she to lift the title, as Monica Seles has a tight grip on that record, having triumphed at the age of 16 years and 11 months at the 1990 edition.

Last year's champion Garbine Muguruza is absent. The Spaniard was expected by many to push on and enjoy a stellar 2022 season, but it did not play out that way, with the former French Open and Wimbledon winner sliding to 57th in the world rankings after a dismal campaign.

It goes to show that whoever prevails in Fort Worth, we should be cautious about treating the outcome as an indication of what to expect in the new year.

The top seed in action on Tuesday at the Guadalajara Open made it through her opening match unscathed as Maria Sakkari defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-4 6-4.

Sakkari is one of the players needing a strong result in the tournament to break into the top-eight of the world rankings to qualify for the upcoming WTA Finals, entering the week at 10th, but only needing to make up one spot, with number eight Simona Halep out due to injury.

With her victory over Kostyuk, Sakkari avoided notching four consecutive losses for the first time this season, and will likely only need one more win to move into WTA Finals contention.

Her next opponent appears to be world number 16 Danielle Collins, who had no issue dispatching American compatriot Caroline Dolehide 6-4 6-1 to book her second-round fixture against Magdalena Frech after the Polish qualifier beat Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-4.

World number seven Daria Kasatkina also should be locked into the WTA Finals after cruising past China's Lin Zhu 6-1 6-2, while 18th-ranked Beatriz Haddad Maia's season is over after a disappointing 7-5 6-2 upset loss to Katerina Siniakova.

Petra Kvitova needed to reach the final to have a chance of qualifying, but after a strong first set she fell 3-6 6-2 6-0 against Canada's Bianca Andreescu. In a good day for the Canadians, Eugenie Bouchard also beat Kayla Day 7-5 6-3 as the former world number five fights her way back up the rankings after a long injury layoff.

Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated Russia's Anastasia Potapova 6-2 6-1, while Latvia's top talent Jelena Ostapenko cruised past America's Lauren Davis 6-1 6-3.

Madison Keys was too strong for Magda Linette in a 6-3 6-3 triumph, and in an all-Czech matchup, Marie Bouzkova downed Tereza Martincova 6-2 7-5.

Croatia's Donna Vekic eliminated Brazil's Laura Pigossi 6-4 6-1, and Italy's Martina Trevisan showed why she is top-30 in the world with a convincing 6-4 6-3 straight sets win against Japan's Nao Hibino.

In the last match of the night, world number 10 Caroline Garcia survived an early scared to come from behind and defeat Rebecca Marino 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

Donna Vekic produced a spectacular second set to shock world number seven Maria Sakkari 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in the first round of the San Diego Open on Tuesday.

After a hard-fought first set where both women were able to convert one of their four break point opportunities, Vekic took control in the tie-breaker and carried that momentum in the second set.

Vekic won 65 per cent of her service points in the second set, while Sakkari could only muster a 47-per-cent success rate, despite having a significant edge in first-serve accuracy (79 per cent to Vekic's 53 per cent).

The Croatian only had two break point opportunities, and that is all she needed, taking both to run away with one of the biggest wins of her career.

Vekic will play Karolina Pliskova in the second round after the Czech defeated America's Caroline Dolehide 6-3 6-4.

Pliskova, ranked 22nd in the world, had no issue with the world number 181 in one of Tuesday's biggest mismatches, nabbing a break-to-love in the first set before taking a quick double-break to begin the second.

World number 11 Daria Kasatkina was too strong for Leylah Fernandez, cruising to a 6-2 6-2 victory in exactly one hour.

Sloane Stephens earned a shot against world number five Aryna Sabalenka in the second round after getting the better of Switzerland's Jil Teichmann 6-1 7-6 (7-2).

World number 13 Garbine Muguruza was clearly not at 100 per cent, retiring hurt after losing the first five games of her match against China's Qinweng Zheng, and Coco Gauff will resume her contest against Robin Montgomery leading 6-3 3-2 after rain halted the action for the day.

Anett Kontaveit and Maria Sakkari were both knocked out of the Ostrava Open on Thursday as several top seeds tumbled.

Third seed Kontaveit, who won this competition last year, retired when a set down to Tereza Martincova, while world number seven Maria Sakkari was defeated 5-7 7-5 7-5 by 21-year-old American Alycia Parks in a big upset.

Parks lost the opener but found two crucial breaks of serve when 6-5 up in both the second and third sets to eliminate the fourth seed.

The withdrawal of Belinda Bencica – seeded sixth – with a foot injury put Barbora Krejcikova into the quarter-finals, while Ekaterina Alexandrova will also be in the last eight after overcoming fifth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-1 7-6 (7-1).

The tournament favourites were in much better form at the Jasmin Open in Tunisia, as the top two seeds sealed their places in the quarter-finals with straight-sets wins.

Favourite Ons Jabeur cruised to a 6-1 6-3 victory over Evgeniya Rodina, converting four of her seven break points to safely advance to the next round of her home tournament.

And number two seed Veronika Kudermetova eased past Magdalena Frech 6-3 6-4 to set up a quarter-final meeting with Diane Parry.

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.

Daria Kasatkina has a chance to win her second tournament this month after blowing past Diane Parry 6-2 6-0 in the semi-final of the Granby Championships.

Kasatkina, who beat Shelby Rogers in the final of the Silicon Valley Classic a couple of weeks ago, dominated Parry from the jump with her powerful serve.

Parry did not stand a chance when Kasatkina would land her first serves fair, with the Russian converting 88 per cent (15-of-17) of those opportunities in the opening frame, before winning 92 per cent (12-of-13) of her total service points in the second set.

Kasatkina, who has now collected three straight-sets wins in a row, will face Australia's Daria Saville in the final after her semi-final opponent, Marta Kostyuk, withdrew due to injury.

Meanwhile, at Tennis in the Land, Liudmila Samsonova continued her red-hot form with a 6-1 6-2 semi-final victory over Bernarda Pera to book her place in the final.

Samsonova, who is yet to drop a set at the tournament, dominated both with her serve and in her return game, winning 89 per cent (32-of-36) of her service points and 56 per cent (24-of-43) of her return points. She created nine break point opportunities, while allowing zero.

She will play Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the final after the Belarusian outlasted France's Alize Cornet 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-3 in a match that lasted two hours and 53 minutes.

Sasnovich shot herself in the foot early with four double faults in the opening set, but cleaned it up as the match wore on, committing just two the rest of the way.

World number 10 Daria Kasatkina showed why she is the highest ranked player at the Granby Championships, defeating fifth seed Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3 6-2 in convincing fashion.

Kasatkina, who is enjoying a career-high ranking, got the job done in straight sets despite struggling with her serve, committing all nine of the match's double faults.

While she was only able to win a below-par 58 per cent of her service points, she also won 58 per cent of her return points, and it was that ability to deal with the Spaniard's serve that proved to be the difference.

Kasatkina will play France's Diane Parry in the semi-final after she got the better of Germany's Tatjana Maria 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) in a near three-hour tussle.

Parry only had one ace compared to Maria's 10, but she excelled in the longer rallies, with her return success rate jumping up from 16 per cent to 47 per cent when she was able to see a second serve.

Australia's Daria Saville will contest the other semi-final after her 6-3 6-0 domination of China's Xiyu Wang, and she will play Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk after she defeated Canada's Rebecca Marino 6-2 4-6 6-2.

Meanwhile, Liudmila Samsonova continued her terrific run at Tennis in the Land as she beat Magda Linette 6-4 6-3.

Samsonova is yet to lose a set at the tournament, but will face her toughest test next when she meets Bernarda Pera in the semi-final.

Pera, who previously eliminated top seed Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets, came out on top against American compatriot Sofia Kenin 6-2 5-7 6-3, despite creating one fewer break point opportunity.

Alize Cornet is also yet to lose a set on her run to the semi-final, proving too strong for Shuai Zhang 6-4 6-2.

Cornet will play Aliaksandra Sasnovich for a place in the final after the Belarusian pulled away in the second set of her 6-4 6-1 win against American Madison Brengle.

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.

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