Swiatek defeats Gauff again, advances to Dubai final Alcaraz drops set but recovers to beat Fognini at Rio Open Serena Williams to receive honor at NAACP Image Awards

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates. Ranked No. 1 Iga Sviatek went undefeated against Coco Gauff, beating the American teenager 6-4, 6-2 to reach the final at the Dubai Championship on Friday.

The three-time Grand Slam champion improved to 6-0 against the 18-year-old Gauff, and each win was in straight sets. The Pole beat Gauff in last year’s French Open final.

Barbora Krejcikova, 2021 French Open champion, will face No. 3 Jessica Pegula of the United States in the other semi-final.

Last week, Swiatek beat Pegula to retain the Qatar Open title.

RIO DE JANEIRO. Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz was far from in top form against veteran Fabio Fognini but managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Rio Open on Thursday.

Alcaraz, who took first place, defeated the 35-year-old Italian 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4 in 2 hours and 47 minutes. The next opponent for the US Open champion will be Dusan Lajovic, who beat his Serbian compatriot Laszlo Djere 6-2, 6-4.

Alcaraz, 19, is playing his second tournament after being sidelined for four months with a right leg injury.

The Spaniard won the Argentine Open last Sunday, losing just one set in the tournament.

However, in Rio Alcaraz was far less dominant against both opponents he faced: No. 556 Mateus Alves, whom Alcaraz beat 6-4, 6-4, and No. 86 Fognini.

“It was a match of ups and downs,” Alcaraz said of his victory over Fognini. “In games like this against players like him, you shouldn’t miss an opportunity.”

Alcaraz took Fognini 3-0 up in the first set, but a series of unforced errors allowed the Italian to fight back and win in the tie-break.

In the third set, Alcaraz again had a 3-0 lead, but saw the Italian bounce back and set up a comeback, but the teen’s energy and strong forehands took over.

“I struggled a bit with my serve. I controlled the match well. But a lot of breaks in a row,” said Alcaraz. “I had chances to improve my serve game and I think I did.”

Earlier, Bernabé Zapata Miralles knocked out fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. His quarter-final will be against Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who beat Daniel Elahi Galán 6-2, 6-4.

Sebastian Baez will face Nicolas Jarry in the next round. Baez beat Juan Pablo Varillas 7-5, 7-6 (6) and Harry beat Pedro Martinez 6-2, 6-2.

The fourth quarter-final will be played by Cameron Norrie and Hugo Dellien. Second-placed Norrie could face Alcaraz in the final, as he did last Sunday at the Argentine Open, where Alcaraz won in straight sets.

LOS ANGELES. Serena Williams will be honored for her achievements in tennis, business success and efforts to improve society at the NAACP Image Awards this weekend.

The NAACP announced Thursday that Williams will receive the Jackie Robinson Sports award during a ceremony that will be broadcast live Saturday on BET. The award is given to athletes for excellence in athletics, as well as for their commitment to social justice, civil rights and participation in society.

Past honorees include Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Magic Johnson, Wilma Rudolph and the Harlem Globetrotters.

“From her record tennis court victories to her business acumen to her philanthropic work, she has set the bar for athletes around the world,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP. He said that Williams is “the quintessential example of black supremacy”.

Williams is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time. Winner of 23 Grand Slam titles in singles. She won Wimbledon in singles seven times.

In addition to tennis, Williams was the executive producer of the Oscar-nominated film King Richard, a biopic about her family. She launched her own venture capital firm and a fashion brand focused on women’s empowerment. She recently published a children’s book, The Adventures of Kai-Kai, and teamed up with two veterans to launch ruthless local pain relief and daily muscle care solutions designed to reimagine recovery.

Queen Latifah will host the 54th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California. The ceremony honors artists, athletes, and writers of color.


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