Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Gauff takes out No. 2 seed to reach Lexington quarters

Add Aryna Sabalenka to Coco Gauff's list of highly ranked victims.

Gauff, a 16-year-old U.S. sensation, topped Sabalenka, seeded second and ranked 11th, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4 in a ragged match today to reach the quarterfinals of the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky.

Gauff broke serve for 5-4 in the third set on a running forehand passing shot down the line in the first WTA tournament in North American in almost one year.

Both players broke serve seven times in the 2-hour, 48-minute battle. Sabalenka committed 14 double faults and Gauff 10 in their first career meeting.

Gauff already has wins over two top-10 players, No. 4 Naomi Osaka and No. 8 Kiki Bertens. Gauff won Linz (Austria) as a qualifier last October for her first career title. 

Gauff will return to the top 50 on Monday, rising at least three spots to No. 50. She attained a career high of No. 49 in February after advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Sabalenka reached the final of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., last August, then won the U.S. Open doubles title with Elise Mertens of Belgium.

Gauff is scheduled to play Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, seeded eighth and ranked No. 39, for the first time Friday.

Jabeur, 25, lost the first four games to qualifier Olga Govortsova of Belarus but recovered to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Jabeur, only 5-foot-6 (1.67 meters), had 10 aces to none for the 6-foot (1.82-meter) Govortsova, who was playing a five-hour drive from her adopted hometown of Huntsville, Ala. 

Jabeur won the French Open girls singles title in 2011 and reached her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Australian Open in January, ending former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki's career in the third round. 

Govortsova, a 31-year-old mother, was seeking her first WTA quarterfinal since 2014. She has plunged from a career-high No. 35 in 2008 to No. 135.

In the other quarterfinal in the bottom half of the draw, 49th-ranked Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic will meet 48th-ranked Jennifer Brady of Boca Raton, Fla., for the first time.

Bouzkova, who ousted third-seeded Johanna Konta of Great Britain in the first round, defeated Anna Blinkova of Russia 6-4, 6-2. Brady, a semifinalist as a qualifier at Dubai in February, bounced sixth-seeded Magda Linette of Poland 6-2, 6-3. 

The quarterfinals in the top half of the draw will be determined Thursday.

Top-seeded Serena Williams, 38, is set to face Venus Williams, 40, not before 9:30 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Serena leads the head-to-head series 18-12 with nine wins in the last 11 encounters.

San Francisco Bay Area product CiCi Bellis will meet American Jessica Pegula, the daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, not before 11 a.m. In their only previous meeting, Pegula prevailed 6-0, 6-4 in the first round at Auckland in January en route to the final, in which she lost to Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Serena survives, will face Venus in Lexington

Serena Williams, playing her first match in six months, came
within five points of losing to Bernarda Pera today. 2018 photo
by Mal Taam
   Serena Williams figured to have some trouble today.
   Not only was she playing her first match in six months, she faced left-hander Bernarda Pera for the first time. 
   The top-seeded Williams came within five points of losing but rallied to defeat the 60th-ranked Pera, a 25-year-old American born in Croatia, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round of the inaugural Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky.
   Fans are not allowed at the tournament, the first in North America in almost one year, because of the COVID-10 pandemic.  
   "It was a really calm atmosphere, really chill," the ninth-ranked Williams, a 38-year-old part-time resident of Silicon Valley, said on wtatennis.com. "I can't say I disliked it. It was different; I've been through so many things in my career. I think I won today because I was calm for once, so that was really helpful."
   Williams won the singles title in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2011, 2012 and 2014 before the tournament moved to nearby San Jose as the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in 2018.
   Williams is scheduled to face Venus Williams, 40, for the 31st time on Thursday. Serena Williams leads the head-to-head series 18-12 with nine victories in the last 11 matches.
   This will be the earliest meeting between the Williams sisters since their first one in 1998, a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory by Venus in the second round of the Australian Open. They were supposed to play each other in the second round of last year's Italian Open, but Serena withdrew with a left knee injury.
   In a matchup of former No. 1 players and Bank of the West singles and doubles champions, Venus Williams dispatched Victoria Azarenka, 31, of Belarus 6-3, 6-2.
   Venus Williams made her professional debut indoors in Oakland, Calif., at 14 years old in 1994. She reached the singles final of the Bank of the West Classic eight times, winning in 2000 and 2002. 
   Two teenage sensations, Coco Gauff and Leyla Fernandez, also advanced today.
   Gauff, 16, of Delray Beach, Fla., defeated qualifier Caroline Dolehide, a 21-year-old American who advanced to last year's U.S. Open doubles semifinals with Vania King, 7-5, 7-5.
   Gauff is playing in her first tournament since the Australian Open, in which she beat Venus Williams and defending champion Naomi Osaka en route to the round of 16.
   Fernandez, a 17-year-old qualifier from Canada ranked No. 120, ousted seventh-seeded Sloane Stephens, a Fresno, Calif., product who won the 2017 U.S. Open, 6-3, 6-3. 
  Fernandez, a 5-foot-4 (1.62-meter) left-hander, won last year's French Open girls singles title and reached the Acapulco final as a qualifier in the last week of February. The week after Acapulco, she upset Stephens 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 in the second round at Monterrey in the last tournament before the tours shut down.
   Stephens fell to 1-6 this year. She has tumbled from a career-high No. 3 in July 2018 to No. 37.
   Gauff, ranked No. 53, is set to face Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka, seeded second and ranked No. 11, for the first time on Wednesday at about noon PDT (Tennis Channel). Sabalenka reached the San Jose final last August, losing to China's Zheng Saisai. 
   Fernandez will meet U.S. wild card Shelby Rogers, a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 winner over Misaki Doi of Japan, on Thursday.
   CiCi Bellis, a 21-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton, dismissed American lucky loser Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-1, 6-2 in 62 minutes. Fourth-seeded Amanda Anisimova, an 18-year-old rising star from Aventura, Fla., withdrew with a shoulder injury.
   Bellis, a right-hander continuing her comeback from three operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow, will play hard-hitting American Jessica Pegula, who eliminated former world No. 2 Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 on Monday.
   Bellis and Pegula, the 26-year-old daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, will meet for the second time. Pegula prevailed 6-0, 6-4 in the first round at Auckland in January en route to the final, in which she lost to Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4.
   Also today, Anna Blinkova of Russia defeated qualifier Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, 2-6, 6-4, 3-1, retired.
   Ahn, who reached the round of 16 in last year's U.S. Open, was playing in her third three-set match in three days. Her two qualifying matches lasted 3 hours, 3 minutes and 2 hours, 1 minute. Today, Ahn quit after 2 hours, 7 minutes.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Bouzkova ousts third-seeded Konta in Lexington

Johanna Konta lost to Marie Bouzkova for the
second consecutive tournament. File photo
by Paul Bauman
   So far, little has changed for Marie Bouzkova and Johanna Konta since the WTA Tour shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Bouzkova, a 22-year-old Czech, dismissed the third-seeded Konta, 29, of Great Britain, in straight sets for the second consecutive tournament today.
   Bouzkova defeated the 15th-ranked Konta, who won the 2016 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the rain-delayed inaugural Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., the first WTA tournament in North America in almost one year. 
   In the last tournament before the shutdown, Bouzkova beat the second-seeded Konta 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals on hardcourts in Monterrey, Mexico, before losing to top-seeded Elina Svitolina, ranked seventh, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in Bouzkova's only WTA final.
   The 48th-ranked Bouzkova, a semifinalist as a qualifier in Toronto last August in her first Premier 5 appearance, will play either Anna Blinkova, a 21-year-old Russian ranked No. 61, or qualifier Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate who reached the round of 16 in last year's U.S. Open.
   In a late match, second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, the runner-up to Zheng Saisai in San Jose, Calif., last August, overpowered American Madison Brengle, who won Northern California Challengers in 2018 and 2019, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-1.
   Brengle, who has dropped from a career-high No. 35 in 2015 to No. 80, has had success against powerful players. She is 1-1 against Serena Williams and 3-1 against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, including a second-round victory there in 2017.
   The 11th-ranked Sabalenka, 22, of Belarus will meet either 16-year-old U.S. sensation Coco Gauff or U.S. qualifier Caroline Dolehide.
   Also today, unseeded American Jessica Pegula outlasted Vera Zvonareva, a 35-year-old wild card from Russia, 6-1 5-7, 6-4. Zvonareva, the Wimbledon and U.S. Open runner-up in 2010, has plunged from a career-high No. 2 that year to No. 267.
   Pegula, the 26-year-old daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, will play either fourth-seeded Amanda Anisimova, an 18-year-old rising star from Aventura, Fla., or CiCi Bellis, a 21-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton.
  Anisimova won her first professional title in the 2017 Sacramento, Calif., Challenger at 15. Bellis, the 2017 WTA Newcomer of the Year, will continue her comeback from three operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow. 
   In the final round of qualifying, the top-seeded Ahn defeated Jovana Jovic (born Jaksic), a 26-year-old Serb living in Sacramento, Calif., 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. 
   Tuesday's blockbuster schedule (Tennis Channel) features the top-seeded Williams. Times are EDT.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Unseeded Ferro upsets Kontaveit for Palermo title

   Continuing her rise in the WTA rankings, Fiona Ferro became the first post-pandemic champion today.
   The unseeded Frenchwoman beat fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 7-5 on clay to win the Palermo Ladies Open, the first WTA or ATP tournament since the tours shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   "I think it was my best match of the week," Ferro, who lost only one set in five matches, told reporters. "I was feeling relaxed. I don't know why because it was a final. I wasn't really feeling pressure. 
   "It was a tough match because she's a really consistent player who doesn't give you too many points. I had a good intensity throughout the match. I didn't miss a lot, made a lot of winners, so I'm really happy to have the trophy with me."
   Ferro, who lost the first five games in her three-set semifinal victory over hard-hitting Camila Giorgi of Italy on Saturday, reeled off the last four games of the final. 
   Kontaveit, a first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist in the Australian Open in January, saved one championship point at 5-6 by returning Ferro's second serve with a backhand passing shot down the line. In the same situation on Ferro's second championship point, Kontaveit's backhand return sailed long. 
   "At 3-5 in the second set, I just tried to fight for every point," Ferro, a member of France's Fed Cup championship team in 2019, said during the awards ceremony.
   It was the second meeting between Ferro and Kontaveit, who won in three sets in the second round of a minor-league tournament on hardcourts in Poitiers, France, in 2016.
   Ferro, 23, will crack the top 50 for the first time on Monday, rising nine spots to No. 44. She ended 2017 at No. 325, 2018 at No. 102 and 2019 at No. 63.
   Ferro, who won Lausanne on clay in July 2019, improved to 2-0 in WTA finals.
   The 24-year-old Kontaveit, who ousted top seed Petra Martic of Croatia in straight sets in the semis, will improve two notches to No. 20, six places off her career high in April 2019. She fell to 1-5 in WTA title matches.
   Two unseeded teams met in the doubles final. Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands and Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia topped Italians Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 19, and Martina Trevisan, a 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) left-hander, 7-5, 7-5.  
   WTA Lexington – Top-seeded Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, outlasted Gabriela Talaba of Romania 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-5 in 3 hours, 3 minutes in the first round of qualifying for the inaugural Top Seed Open on hardcourts in Lexington, Ky. Ahn, ranked No. 96, saved a set point at 4-5 in the opening set.
   That match was not the longest of the day in the first WTA tournament in North America in almost one year. Fifth-seeded Francesca Di Lorenzo from Columbus, Ohio, edged 2017 Wimbledon junior singles champion Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., in the Los Angeles area 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5) in 3 hours, 10 minutes.
   Ahn will face Jovana Jovic (born Jaksic), a 26-year-old Sacramento, Calif., resident from Serbia, for a berth in the main draw. Jovic beat 11th-seeded Mayo Hibi of Japan 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4).  
   Eighth-seeded Olga Govortsova of Belarus eliminated Katie Volynets, an 18-year-old wild card from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
   The main draw features:
   –Top-seeded Serena Williams, who needs one more Grand Slam singles title to tie Margaret Court's record of 24.
   –Venus Williams, who has won five Wimbledon and two U.S. Open singles crowns.
   –Two-time Australian Open singles champion Victoria Azarenka.
   –Sloane Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion who grew up in Fresno, Calif.
   –Amanda Anisimova, an 18-year-old rising star from Aventura, Fla.
   –Sixteen-year-old U.S. sensation Coco Gauff.
   –CiCi Bellis, a 21-year-old Bay Area product who was named the 2017 WTA Newcomer of the Year. 
   Venus Williams, 40, and Azarenka are scheduled to meet in the first round on Tuesday or Wednesday. The winner will face either Serena Williams or American Bernarda Pera.
   WTA Prague – Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania nipped sixth-seeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (3) in 3 hours, 15 minutes on clay in the second round of qualifying for the Prague Open. 
   Sasnovich, formerly ranked No. 30, reached the Palermo quarterfinals as a qualifier this week. Ruse will play third-seeded Tamara Korpatsch of Germany on Monday for a spot in the main draw. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Kontaveit beats top seed Martic to reach Palermo final

   Other than a late hiccup, Anett Kontaveit had little trouble ousting the top seed today in the Palermo Ladies Open.
   The fourth-seeded Kontaveit beat Petra Martic 6-2, 6-4 today to reach the final of the first WTA or ATP tournament since the tours shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Kontaveit, a 24-year-old Estonian, is scheduled to play unseeded Fiona Ferro of France in the clay-court tourney. Ferro, 23, overcame a horrid start to outlast unseeded Camila Giorgi of Italy 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in their first career meeting. Giorgi, who saved two match points in her quarterfinal victory over seventh-seeded Dayana Yastremska, won the first five games against Ferro.
   Kontaveit, who had her left thigh taped after the first set, broke serve to lead 3-1 in the second set and served for the match at 5-3 but was broken at 15.
   After Martic, a 29-year-old Croat ranked No. 15, took a medical timeout off the court for a right thigh injury, Kontaveit broke at love to even her record against Martic at 1-1. Martic won 7-6 (4), 6-1 on a hardcourt in Dubai in February.
   After returning the favor, Kontaveit said she did not expect to win so comfortably.
   "No, not at all," said Kontaveit, who will improve at least two spots to No. 20, down from a career-high No. 14 in April 2019. "Petra's a really great player. It was 6-2, 6-4, but there (were a lot of good points), and I really had to play my best tennis to come out on top today."
   Ferro broke serve on Giorgi's netted forehand to lead 2-1 in the third set and served for the match at 5-4.
   The 28-year-old Giorgi, the top-ranked Italian at No. 89, then broke on a deep forehand winner, but Ferro broke back on Giorgi's long forehand for 6-5. This time, Ferro held with a service winner for the match. She will rise at least six places to No. 47, cracking the top 50 for the first time.
   Three of the four Palermo semifinalists have reached one Grand Slam quarterfinal: Kontaveit (2020 Australian Open), Martic (2019 French Open) and Giorgi (2018 Wimbledon). Ferro's best Grand Slam result is the third round of last year's U.S. Open.
   Kontaveit and Ferro will meet for the second time on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Kontaveit won 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-2 in the second round of a $100,000 ITF hardcourt tournament in Poitiers, France, in 2016.
   Both Kontaveit and Ferro seek their second WTA singles title. Kontaveit, who's 1-4 in WTA finals, won 's-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands) on grass in 2017. Ferro won Lausanne on clay in July 2019, beating countrywoman Alize Cornet, in her only previous WTA final.  
   In a doubles semifinal today, unseeded Italians Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 19, and Martina Trevisan, a 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) left-hander, beat fourth-seeded Bibiane Schoofs and Rosalie Van Der Hoek of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-3. 
   Cocciaretto and Trevisan will face unseeded Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands and Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia for the title on Sunday.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Giorgi saves two match points in win; more Open exits

   Italy's last hope was down to her last point today.
   Twice.
   Unseeded Camila Giorgi, one of the hardest hitters on the WTA Tour despite standing only 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters), saved two match points and went on to defeat seventh-seeded Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Palermo Ladies Open.
   The 2-hour, 52-minute match ended at 1:27 a.m. local time in the first WTA or ATP tournament since the tours shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Giorgi, the top-ranked Italian at No. 89, escaped two match points at 4-5 in the second set with blistering returns-of-serve and broke serve with the help of three of Yastremska's 16 double faults (Giorgi had 12) to lead 4-3 in the third set.
   Losing earlier in the clay-court tournament were Italian wild cards Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 19, and Sara Errani, 33. Fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia conquered Cocciaretto 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, and unseeded Fiona Ferro of France eliminated Errani, a two-time Palermo champion (2008 and 2012), 6-4, 6-1.
   Ferro, ranked No. 53, is the only semifinalist who has not lost a set. Errani, who was suspended for 10 months in 2018 after failing a drug test, has tumbled from a career-high No. 5 in 2013 to No. 169.
   In Saturday's first semifinal, top-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia will meet Kontaveit, ranked No. 22, at 8 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Martic, ranked No. 15, advanced with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) victory over qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich, a Belarusian formerly ranked 30th, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3). 
   Martic beat Kontaveit 7-6 (4), 6-1 on a hardcourt in Dubai in February in their only previous meeting. Ferro and Giorgi will meet for the first time.
   Three of the semifinalists have reached one Grand Slam quarterfinal: Martic (2019 French Open), Kontaveit (2020 Australian Open) and Giorgi (2018 Wimbledon). The 23-year-old Ferro's best Grand Slam result is the third round of last year's U.S. Open.
   In a doubles semifinal today, Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands and Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia edged Greet Minnen and Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 1-6, 7-6 (4) [13-11]. 
   The other semifinal is set for Saturday. Fourth-seeded Bibiane Schoofs and Rosalie Van Der Hoek of the Netherlands will play Cocciaretto and countrywoman Martina Trevisan, a 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) left-hander.
   U.S. Open – Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, ranked fifth, and the Netherlands' Kiki Bertens, ranked seventh, said they will bypass the U.S. Open, Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, because of coronavirus concerns.
   Svitolina reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open last year. Bertens' best result in eight appearances at Flushing Meadows is the third round the past two years. She advanced to the semifinals of the French Open in 2016 and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2018.
   Defending champion Rafael Nadal, who needs one more Grand Slam singles title to tie Roger Federer's record of 20, and top-ranked Ashleigh Barty also have chosen not to play in the U.S. Open because of the pandemic. Federer, a five-time U.S. Open champion who will turn 39 on Saturday, is out for the year after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery for the second time this year in May.
   The women's field includes defending champion Bianca Andreescu; former champions Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka; multiple Grand Slam winners Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber; and this year's only Grand Slam titlist to date, Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin
   The men's field features seven top-10 players: No. 1 Novak Djokovic (a three-time U.S. Open champion), No. 3 Dominic Thiem, No. 5 Daniil Medvedev (last year's runner-up), No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 7 Alexander Zverev, No. 8 Matteo Berrettini and No. 10 David Goffin.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Martic, Kontaveit rally; Bellis gets U.S. Open wild card

   The top two remaining seeds in the Palermo Ladies Open lost the first set today but rallied to reach the quarterfinals.
   Top-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia defeated qualifier Liudmila Samsonova of Russia 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, and fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia beat Laura Siegemund of Germany 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Samsonova, 21, took a medical timeout for a left thigh injury at 1-2 in the second set.
   The 15th-ranked Martic, 29, reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in last year's French Open. She also advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and the third round in the Australian Open in 2019.
   Kontaveit, ranked No. 22 at age 24, reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Australian Open in January, losing to fourth-seeded Simona Halep.
   Also advancing today in the first WTA or ATP tournament since the tours shut down in March because of the coronavirus were seventh-seeded Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine and unseeded Camila Giorgi of Italy.
   Yastremska, ranked No. 25 at age 20, downed lucky loser Oceane Dodin of France 6-2, 6-4. Yastremska reached her first Premier final in Adelaide in January, falling to top-ranked Ashleigh Barty, and upset Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the second round at Qatar in February.
   Giorgi, one of three Italians in the quarters, held off qualifier Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Juvan, 19, ousted second-seeded Marketa Vondrousova, the French Open runner-up to Barty last year, in the first round.  
   In Friday's first quarterfinal, Martic is scheduled to meet another qualifier, Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus, at 7 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Martic leads the head-to-head series 3-1, but two of her victories went to 6-4 in the third set.
   After the Martic-Sasnovich match, Kontaveit will face Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto, a 19-year-old wild card, for the first time.
   In Friday's last two quarterfinals, unseeded Fiona Ferro of France will meet Italy's Sara Errani, a 33-year-old wild card and two-time Palermo champion, and rising star Yastremska will play Giorgi, the top-ranked Italian at No. 89.
   Ferro defeated Errani 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of qualifying in Rabat, Morocco, on clay last year in their only previous meeting.
   Yastremska and Giorgi, 28, have split two career meetings. Giorgi prevailed 6-7 (1), 6-2, 7-5 in the first round of qualifying in Strasbourg on clay in 2017, and Yastremska won 6-3, 6-3 in the first round at Wimbledon last year.
   In the doubles quarterfinals today in Palermo, Cocciaretto and countrywoman Martina Trevisan, a 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) left-hander, knocked off top-seeded Georgina Garcia Perez and Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 2-6 [10-5].
   Cocciaretto and Trevisan are set to play fourth-seeded Bibiane Schoofs and Rosalie Van Der Hoek of the Netherlands on Saturday.
   U.S. Open  – CiCi Bellis, a 21-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton, is one of eight women who received a wild card in the U.S. Open.
   Bellis, who underwent three operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow in 2018-19, will play in the U.S. Open for the first time since losing to Nao Hibino in the first round in 2017. Bellis burst onto the scene in the 2014 U.S. Open by stunning 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova at 15 in the opening round.
   Other women receiving wild cards in this year's tournament, Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, are three-time champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium and Americans Usue Arconada, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Caroline Dolehide, Ann Li, Robin Montgomery and Whitney Osuigwe.
   Men's wild cards went to 2012 champion Andy Murray and Americans Ulises Blanch, Maxime Cressy, Sebastian Korda, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, Michael Mmoh, Brandon Nakashima and JJ Wolf.
   There will be no qualifying tournaments in this year's U.S. Open because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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