Top Seeds Roll in Dubai, Daniel Evans Out in Doha

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The top two seeds in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships lost a combined three games while cruising to second-round wins on Tuesday in the United Arab Emirates.

No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland, the reigning French Open and U.S. Open champion, routed Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-1, 6-1, and No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, the reigning Australian Open champion, demolished the United States’ Lauren Davis 6-0, 6-1.

Swiatek was on court for 72 minutes three days after capturing the Qatar TotalEnergies Open championship in Doha. Sabalenka completed her day’s work in 59 minutes.

Third-seeded Jessica Pegula of the United States, who lost to Swiatek in the Doha final, got past Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 in the second round at Dubai.

American Madison Keys upset fourth-seeded Caroline Garcia of France 7-5, 6-4. Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic crushed sixth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-2, and the Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova knocked out seventh-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

Fifth-seeded Coco Gauff of the United States, eighth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, ninth-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, 12th-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 13th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, 14th-seeded Liudmila Samsonova of Russia and 15th-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus all advanced to the third round.

Merida Open Akron

Sloane Stephens finally won a match to open her fourth tournament of 2023, as the second-seeded American defeated French qualifier Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-3 in the first round at Merida, Mexico.

Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, had lost her first-round matches at Auckland, New Zealand; Hobart, Australia; and the Australian Open to begin the year. Against Jeanjean, she saved both of the break points she faced and converted four of her five break opportunities.

Also moving on to the second round were fourth-seeded Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, Xinyu Wang of China, Varvara Gracheva of Russia and Panna Udvardy of Hungary.

Top-seeded Magda Linette of Poland opposed Camila Osorio of Colombia in one of three late matches.

Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori took down sixth seed Daniel Evans of Great Britain 7-5, 6-4 in their first-round match at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Tuesday in Doha.

Ruusuvuori fired seven aces and won 29 of 38 first-service points (76.3 percent), holding on for the victory even as Evans saved six of 10 break points and converted both his opportunities to break Ruusuvuori.

Fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain needed three sets to outlast Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (7), 5-7, 6-4 in about three hours and eight minutes. No. 8 seed Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands beat Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka 6-2, 7-5.

Other winners Tuesday were Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor, Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea, Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic and French qualifier Alexandre Muller.

Open 13 Provence

No. 5 seed Maxime Cressy smashed 22 aces and fought past French wild card Geoffrey Blancaneaux 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4) in the first round in Marseille, France.

Cressy, who also overcame 13 double faults, is a Paris-born American looking to continue his run of strong form in France after reaching the final of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier two weeks ago.

No. 6 seed David Goffin of Belgium beat Slovak qualifier Lukas Klein 6-2, 6-4, and No. 7 seed Richard Gasquet of France battled past countryman Laurent Lokoli 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-6 (5). Another Frenchman, Gregoire Barrere, upset eighth seed Marc-Andrea Huesler of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2.

Also advancing were Switzerland’s Leandro Riedi and Alexander Ritschard and Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer.

Rio Open

No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain was ahead 6-4, 5-3 over Brazilian wild card Mateus Alves when rain halted play for the night in Rio de Janeiro.

Alcaraz, the world No. 2, faced a stiff fight from world No. 556 Alves, who had five aces and saved five of nine break points in his tour-level debut before the suspension. They will finish their match Wednesday evening.

Earlier on Tuesday, British No. 2 seed Cameron Norrie took down lucky loser Juan Manuel Cerundolo 7-5, 6-1. The Argentine’s older brother, fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo, rallied past Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia and Juan Pablo Varillas of Peru were also winners Tuesday before the rain arrived. Two other matches were suspended in their second sets and postponed, and three more matches — including matches featuring fifth seed Diego Schwartzman and sixth seed Sebastian Baez, both of Argentina — were also shifted to Wednesday’s schedule.

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