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Jabeur rallies past Pegula, Sakkari wins again at WTA Finals Coco Gauff eliminated at WTA Finals; Iga Swiatek into semis Alcaraz, Djokovic advance, Musetti upsets Ruud in Paris

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FORT WORTH, Texas – Once Jabeur is not used to the idea of ​​playing so soon after losing her WTA Finals debut.

She also took some getting used to.

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Tunisia rallied for a three-set win over Jessica Pegula on Wednesday night, bolstering the US Open finalist’s hopes of qualifying from the group stage in the season-ending tournament.

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Jabeur won the last three games in each of the second and third sets 1–6, 6–3, 6–3, having lost seven games in a row at the start of the match.

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The defeat would have knocked Jaber out of the semi-finals as Maria Sakkari beat Arina Sobolenko 6-2, 6-4 in a late match against players who had won their opening matches.

Jabeur won the first set in the first set of the round robin against Sobolenko before the runner-up staggered on the indoor hard court at Dickies Arena.

“It was hard because I usually get depressed for the next two days when I lose,” said Jabeur, the first Tunisian to win a WTA final match. “I didn’t have much time here, and to be honest, it was very hard to fall asleep on the first day.”

It was only Jabeur’s second victory in the last nine matches against a top 10 opponent who also beat Pegula in the May final on clay in Madrid.

No. 3 Pegula, another WTA finalist who was scheduled to play doubles with American Coco Gauff for the first time in the final match of the day, has lost nine matches in a row to top five opponents.

Pegula temporarily kept her semi-final hopes alive by winning the set, but after losing the tournament 0-2, she has little chance.

The event was moved to Texas from China over safety concerns for Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former government official of sexual assault.

Coronavirus restrictions have also played their part, and WTA Tour Chairman and CEO Steve Simon is hopeful that the tournament will return to China.

Jaber, the first African woman to reach a WTA final since Amanda Koetzer in 2001, rose from a love-40 to play the first game of the third set with five deuces, then Pegula saved two break points to level 3-3.

Pegula was unable to repeat it again, losing for love on her serve, giving Jabeur the chance to close the match.

After losing the first set of the match, Pegula won seven in a row, leading 1-0 in the second set, before Jabeur, who made 11 unforced errors in the first set, saved the serve.

“She played very well and very fast,” said Jabeur. “I just had to find that click to change the rhythm and impose my game more than her game.”

After missing a set and two breaks, seventh seeded Sobalenko won four games in a row before Sakkari recovered to win the last three.

“She just moved well, hit the ball very well, hardly conceded,” Sobolenko said. “I made some mistakes and it was hard tonight. I tried my best, but she was too good today.”

Sakkari, who placed 5th, beat Sabalenko in the WTA Final for the second year in a row, taking her an hour and 37 minutes after a nearly three-hour match that had two tie-breaks a year ago.

Two of Sakkari’s three wins over the top 10 came this week after she won tiebreaks in both sets to beat Pegula.

Reigning doubles champions Barbora Kreichikova and Katerina Sinyakova beat China’s Yifan Xu and Zhaoxuan Yang 6-3, 6-3 to take the Czech duo to the semi-finals.

The opponents of Pegula and Gauff in the late doubles match were Desira Krawczyk from the USA and Demi Schurs from the Netherlands.

AP tennis: as well as

FORT WORTH, Texas. Tears welled in Coco Gauff’s eyes as she sat on the sideline of the WTA Finals during Thursday night’s shift after losing the round robin lead 7-6(6), 6-3 to Daria Kasatkina, ending hopes 18-year-old American to reach the semi-finals.

Gauff, who is in 4th place, lost 0-4 in her debut at the season-ending Women’s Top Tennis Tournament – 0-2 in singles and 0-2 in doubles with Jessica Pegula. Florida was the youngest participant in both tournaments in the WTA Finals since Anna Kournikova in 1999.

Earlier Thursday, Iga Swiatek beat Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2 to take control of an eight-point streak that started the final stretch of the match in which she won nine of 11 games.

“Pushed me out of my comfort zone,” Garcia said.

Swiatek has won all four sets she has played so far, losing just 10 games.

“This is the last tournament of the season, so I have nothing to lose. I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to do next,” Swiatek said. “So, yes, of course, I give my 100%, physically and mentally.”

The results mean Swiatek has secured a spot in the semi-finals and No. 6 Garcia will face No. 8 Kasatkina on Thursday for the other spot available in their group.

Kasatkina, whose best Grand Slam performance was in the semi-finals of the French Open in June, got off to a slow start on Thursday, trailing second-placed Gauff 4-1 in Paris. But Kasatkina began to strike Gauff more often on the right, in her weaker side, and this paid off.

Kasatkina quickly scored five out of six games to take a 6-5 lead; it was the score when Gauff used a white towel to dry his tears during his shift. Gauff briefly corrected the situation by making a break to force a tiebreak in which she took a 3-0 and 4-2 lead. But after Kasatkina kept her initial pair of set points, Gauff relented on the third with a right hand into the net. to close out an exchange of 24 strokes.

Gauff started the day 1-16 this season, dropping the first set, while Kasatkina came out 28-0 claiming it and those trends haven’t changed.

Swiatek’s win made her 14-1 against top-10 opponents in 2022, and all those 14 victories were in a row, the longest single-season unbeaten streak on tour in 15 years.

Garcia is the only WTA finalist to beat Swiatek this year – at the Polish Open in July when Garcia was just 45th – and scored 3 points early Thursday.

But then Swiatek raced to the end of that set and made a 2-0 break in the second.

Swiatek’s powerful forehand is probably her most dangerous shot, but her backhand did the job that day – making passing shots when Garcia hit the net, or closing out longer exchanges with winners – and her serve got stronger as she went on. how the match dragged on. farther, including finishing as an ace at 108 mph.

It was Swiatek’s 66th tour win. The 21-year-old from Poland also leads with eight titles, including the French Open and the US Open.

“She was definitely the best this year,” Garcia said. And she continues to prove it.

PARIS. Ranked No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the Paris Masters quarter-finals by beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday as Félix Auger-Aliassime reached the last eight, winning his 15th match in a row.

Alcaraz, the US Open champion, will play Holger Rune for a spot in the semi-finals after the Danish teenager beat Andrei Rublev 6-4, 7-5. For the first time, teenagers – both 19 years old – will meet in the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters.

Auger-Aliassime, who is in contention for a fourth title in a row, defeated French veteran Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-3 on an indoor hard court.

Lorenzo Musetti upset US Open runner-up Casper Ruud 4–6, 6–4, 6–4, while American Francis Tiafoe defeated Alex De Minor 6–3, 7–6 (5). In 2022, Tiafoe has 35 career-best victories.

Musetti, 20, will face Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals after the 21-time Grand Slam champion beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-1.

Djokovic extended his match-winning streak at tour level to 11 as he races for his seventh title in the tournament.

American Tommy Paul beat Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4, 6-4 and will then face number five Stefanos Tsitsipas, who eliminated French qualifier Corentin Moutet 6-3, 7-6 (3) to earn his 59th tour victory. year.


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