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Sports Shorts: Zverev, Tsitsipas roll into Beijing quarters

October 03, 2019 22:54 IST

Zverev has struggled with his serve for most of the season but looked in complete control against Canadian Auger-Aliassime, winning 25 of his 27 first-serve points

IMAGE: Zverev has struggled with his serve for most of the season but looked in complete control against Canadian Auger-Aliassime, winning 25 of his 27 first-serve points. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Second seed Alexander Zverev eased past Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-1 to reach the China Open quarter-finals on Thursday, while Stefanos Tsitsipas ended Nikoloz Basilashvili's hopes of retaining the Beijing title.

 

Zverev has struggled with his serve for most of the season but looked in complete control against Canadian Auger-Aliassime, winning 25 of his 27 first-serve points.

The 22-year-old German did not face a single break point as he booked a quarter-final spot clash against American Sam Querrey.

The victory ensured Zverev moved up to 10th in the race for the season-ending ATP Finals in London -- two places away from the eighth and final qualification spot.

Greek Tsitsipas became the fifth player to record 40 Tour-level match wins this season with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win over Basilashvili.

It was not until the deep into the second set that Tsitsipas finally made the breakthrough on his 12th break point when his Georgian opponent, who struck five double faults in the game, hit a forehand wide.

The 21-year-old Tsitsipas carried the momentum into the final set where he claimed a decisive break of serve in the seventh game to seal victory in a little over two hours.

Basilashvili, who successfully defended his clay court title in Hamburg in July, failed to extend his six-match winning streak in Beijing as he committed 32 unforced errors across the second and third sets.

Osaka sets up quarter-final clash with Andreescu in Beijing

Fourth seed Naomi Osaka beat American Alison Riske 6-4, 6-0 in the China Open in Beijing on Thursday to set up a quarter-final clash with US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.

Osaka, who won the Pan Pacific Open in Japan last month, converted five of eight break points and won the final 10 games in a row to wrap up the contest in 73 minutes -- her seventh consecutive win in the Asian swing.

"Today I was kind of happy because the first set was really tight," Osaka said.

"I was thinking that it's been a while since I've kind of had to be really serious.

"It seemed like she was the type that would use my pace, especially on the forehand. I just tried not to give her too much."

Riske started the brighter of the two in the last-16 encounter, taking a 4-2 lead in the opening set, but Osaka broke back twice before the American was bagelled in less than half an hour in the second set.

Canada's fifth-seeded Andreescu cruised past American qualifier Jennifer Brady with a 6-1, 6-3 win. Brady faced 11 break points, of which four were converted by the Canadian who advanced in 67 minutes.

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki also went through to the quarter-finals in straight sets with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Czech Republic's Katerina Siniakova in a match where neither player was able to dominate their service games.

Wozniacki won seven of 10 break points while Siniakova converted five. The Czech saved three match points but 43 unforced errors tilted the tie in Wozniacki's favour.

Wozniacki will now face Russia's Daria Kasatkina, who beat compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4, 6-3.

 

World Youth Chess C’ship: 2nd successive wins for Praggnanandhaa, Divya

Indian prodigies – GM Praggnanandhaa R and woman international master Divya Deshmukh notched up their second straight victories as Round 2 of the World Youth Chess Championship concluded on Thursday.

Chennai's Praggnanandhaa got the better of Poland's Antoni Kozak in the Open U18, while Divya routed Bhagyashree Patil in the Girls U14 to underline their form and preparedness for the 11-round mega event.

Fourteen-year-old Praggnanandhaa was among the 12 players, including four other Indians, to maintain a clean slate and pick up the maximum possible two points so far.

The country's second youngest Grandmaster Praggnanandhaa, playing white, opened with the King's Indian. On move 17, he sacrificed his Rook for a Knight as he put pressure on Antoni's King.

The Pole soon returned the sacrifice, hoping to get away unscathed.

But Praggnanandhaa was meticulous in his play and swiftly marched towards victory.

In the same group, top seed GM Shant Sargsyan of Armenia played brilliantly to knock out China's Shixu Wang.

In a complicated endgame, Sargsyan played aggressively with his pawns, which ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in his win.

India's other Grandmaster P Iniyan, too, had a fairly easy run, beating Ravan Aliyev of Azerbaijan.

Aditya Mittal, Srijit Paul and Luke Mendonca were the other Indians who won their matches in the morning session.

In the girls under-14, top seed Divya Deshmukh wheeled out the Sicilian Defence in reply to Bhagyashree's King Pawn opening.

Right at the start, Divya played a string of attacking moves, which her opponent couldn't cope with.

The game ended on move 30 with Bhagyashree's resignation.

Rakshitta Ravi and Dhyana Patel were the other Indians in this category who scored easy wins.

Key Results (Round 2)

U14 Open: Sreeshwan M (IND) bt. Rudolf Jun Jr (CZE); Volodar Murzin (RUS) bt. Dennis Andrijashkin (EST).

U14 Girls:  Divya Deshmukh (IND) bt.Bhagyashree Patil (IND); Rakshitta Ravi (IND) bt. Mariya Alekseenko (RUS)

U16 Open: Moke Niemann (USA) bt VS Raahul (IND); Oliver Wartiovaara (FIN) drew Santiago Avila (COL)

U16 Girls:  Leya Garifullina (RUS) bt. Madara Golsta (LAT); Govhar Bydullayeva (AZE) drew Svitlana Demchenko (CAN)

U18 Open:  Shant Sargsyan (ARM) bt Shixu Wang (CHN); R Praggnanandhaa (IND) bt Antoni Kozak (POL)

U18 Girls: Polina Shuvalova (RUS) bt. Tanishka Kotia (IND), Vantika Agrawal (IND) drew Aashna Makhija (IND).

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