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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Kasatkina stuns Aus Open champ Wozniacki

Sports Shorts: Kasatkina stuns Aus Open champ Wozniacki

Last updated on: February 03, 2018 20:33 IST

A summary of sports events and sportspersons, who made news on Friday.

Daria Kasatkina

IMAGE: Russia's Daria Kasatkina scored her second career win over a reigning world No 1. Photograph: Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

World number one Caroline Wozniacki suffered her first defeat since lifting the Australian Open trophy when she was edged out 7-6(2), 6-3 by Russia's Daria Kasatkina in the quarter-finals at the St Petersburg Ladies' Trophy on Friday.

 

The 20-year-old Kasatkina was dominant in the tie-break to claim the opening set and won three of the last four games of the match against Wozniacki, who had fought hard to get back on serve halfway into the second set.

"She just won the Australian Open, and since I beat her, it means I was playing really well," Kasatkina said.

"I was just trying to play point-by-point and focus on the rally."

It was Kasatkina's second career win over a reigning world number one, having beaten Angelique Kerber when the German held the top ranking in Sydney last year.

World number 23 Kasatkina will next face defending champion Kristina Mladenovic, who continued her strong run with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Czech Katerina Siniakova in the quarter-finals.

Earlier in the day, two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova booked her place in the semi-finals with an attacking masterclass to defeat second seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 6-2.

Kvitova, who entered the tournament as a wildcard, broke her Latvian opponent's serve five times to seal the most one-sided victory in the pair's five head-to-head meetings.

"At the end of the last match, I found my rhythm a little bit - I knew I had to play a little bit better today, against someone who is playing very aggressive," Kvitova said on-court.

"I had to stay focused on every point. It was just about a few games which I was serving and kept my serve... I served pretty well today, so it was great."

Kvitova's will next face fifth seed Julia Goerges, who recorded a convincing 6-3, 6-3 win over Russian qualifier Elena Rybakina.

Davis Cup: Injury-hit France tied with Netherlands; US lead Serbia

John Isner

IMAGE: John Isner of the United States reacts after his Davis Cup World Group first round match against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia. Photograph: Marko Djurica/Reuters

Holders France ran into a spot of bother as they split the opening day's singles matches to finish locked at 1-1 with the Netherlands in the first round of their Davis Cup World Group tie after being hit by injuries on Friday.

French number one Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had been ruled out of the tie with a knee problem and Lucas Pouille, who was scheduled to play the first singles rubber, pulled out injured on Friday.

That meant world number 25 Adrian Mannarino had to step in at the 11th hour and he ended up being outclassed 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3 by world number 369 Thiemo De Bakker.

Richard Gasquet drew France level with a 6-4, 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-5 win against Robin Haase.

Pouille, who gave France the winning point against Belgium in the 2017 final last November, pulled out suffering from a stiff neck.

"Gasquet was solid. He went for the points, especially near the end of the game. It's a good sign for the team," said France captain Yannick Noah.

Noah said he was not sure Pouille would be able to play on Sunday.

"I hope he can play but the medical staff will need to work miracles," added Noah.

Belgium got off to a commanding start in Liege against Hungary as Ruben Bemelmans and David Goffin won the opening singles.

Switzerland, without 20-times Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, were 2-0 down against Kazakhstan in Astana.

Britain, without the services of Andy Murray who led them to the title in 2015, were surprisingly tied at 1-1 with Spain.

World number 114 Cameron Norrie upset Roberto Bautista Agut, 23rd in the ATP rankings, in a five-set thriller.

Serbia were on the brink of being eliminated after falling 2-0 behind against the United States.

Sam Querrey and John Isner won their singles against Laslo Djere and Dusan Lajovic respectively.

Alexander Zverev needed five sets to tame unheralded Alex de Minaur to give Germany 1-0 lead against Australia before Nick Kyrgios overwhelmed Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets to level the tie in Brisbane.

Local favourite Dimitrov to miss Sofia Open

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov plays a backhand return

IMAGE: Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov plays a backhand return. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulgarian world number four Grigor Dimitrov said he would not defend his title at next week's Sofia Open as he has failed to recover from a shoulder injury.

"I and my team had to take one of the most difficult decisions -- to skip this year's edition of the tournament in Sofia," Dimitrov said in a statement.

"Earlier today I had my last medical consultation. Unfortunately I will not be at 100 percent ready for next week. If I play it would lead to additional risks and complications."

Local favourite Dimitrov will be replaced by Swiss Stan Wawrinka, who is trying to resurrect his career after suffering a knee injury.

"On back of disappointing news of Dimitrov injury, great that triple grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka will play Sofia Open," the tournament director Paul McNamee said on Twitter.

South Korea's Chung Hyeon will also miss the tournament after failing to recover from the foot injury that forced him to retire from his Australian Open semi-final against Roger Federer.

In first, Olympics chiefs invite Vatican 'God Squad' to IOC session

Some go for gold. Others go for God.

For the first time, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has invited the Vatican to send a delegation to its general meeting next week in South Korea ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano reported on Friday the delegation will attend in an observer role and be headed by Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca, an undersecretary with portfolio for sports at the Vatican Council for Culture, effectively its culture ministry.

Sanchez de Toca, a former pentathlete, will give IOC president Thomas Bach and all Korean athletes running vests used by the Vatican's track team, informally known as the "Pope's Marathoners".

The delegation will also attend the opening ceremony of the games in Pyeongchang. A Vatican delegation attended the opening ceremony of the Rio games in 2016.

The IOC could not be reached for comment. 

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