Kvitova returns to top 10 by winning Qatar Open

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova will return to the world’s top 10 after recording her 13th consecutive victory by beating Garbine Muguruza to win the Qatar Open title.

The Czech 16th seed came from a set down in Doha to win 3-6 6-3 6-4 for her second title of 2018 after triumphing in St Petersburg two weeks ago.

Kvitova, 27 is continuing her comeback following six months out after a knife attack at her home in December 2016.

“It’s a very special feeling to be back,” said the world number 21.

“I remember sometime last year when I was asked about this, I couldn’t even dream of it.”

It also seemed unlikely after Kvitova lost the first five games of the match, then coughed up break points in three separate services games in the second set.

However, Muguruza could not convert and Kvitova broke the Spaniard to edge ahead 4-2.

The world number four had chances again in the third set, with three break points in the four game, but could not capitalise and Kvitova seized control to claim the title.

It was Kvitova’s fourth win over a top-10 player in Doha this week, after victories against Caroline Wozniacki, Julia Goerges and Elina Svitolina.

And that was despite spending almost twice as long on court in Doha as Muguruza, who received a first-round bye and and benefited from a semi-final walkover after Simona Halep’s withdrawal.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova will be elevated 11 places when the rankings are confirmed on Monday, while Muguruza will rise one place to third.

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World number one Federer beats Dimitrov to win Rotterdam title

Roger Federer

Roger Federer marked his impending return to the top of the world rankings by sweeping aside second seed Grigor Dimitrov in the Rotterdam Open final.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who will be confirmed as world number one on Monday, beat world number five Dimitrov 6-2-6-2 for his 97th title.

The Bulgarian was broken in the fifth game, then on three more occasions as Federer won comfortably in 55 minutes.

It is the third time Switzerland’s Federer has won the Rotterdam event.

And it takes him to within 12 titles of American Jimmy Connors, who holds the Open-era record of 109.

Federer first became world number one in February 2004, but has not topped the rankings since October 2012 and slipped to a low of 17th in January 2017.

That was after he spent six months out recovering from an operation on a knee problem.

However, he has since won eight titles, including Wimbledon last year and two Australian Opens.

At 36, he eclipses the record held by Serena Williams, who was 35 when she lost her women’s number one ranking in May 2017.

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Roger Federer: World number one into Rotterdam Open final

Tennis world number one Roger Federer

New world number one Roger Federer has reached the final of the Rotterdam Open with a straight-set win over Italian Andreas Seppi.

The 36-year-old Swiss, who has just become the oldest player to top the rankings, eased through 6-3 7-6 (7-3).

Federer will face Grigor Dimitrov next, the Bulgarian having progressed following a freak injury to opponent David Goffin.

Belgian Goffin was forced to retire when the ball hit him in his left eye.

The 27-year-old was trailing world number five Dimitrov 6-3 0-1 when the ball bounced up off his own racket and struck him, leaving him unable to continue.

Top seed Federer, who notched his 14th win from 15 matches against Seppi, will take on second seed Dimitrov in the final on Sunday.

Although not at his best, Federer broke the Italian early in the first set and faced little trouble in the second-set tie-break.

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Kvitova shocks Wozniacki in Doha semi-final

Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki

Petra Kvitova recovered from losing the first set to shock world number one Caroline Wozniacki and reach Sunday’s Qatar Open final.

The Czech won 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 to earn her 12th successive win and set up a final against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.

It was the world number 21’s third win over a top-10 player in Doha this week.

Kvitova, who won in St Petersburg two weeks ago, is continuing her comeback following six months out after a knife attack at her home in December 2016.

“I don’t know what happened,” she said. “I just came to play and I was crazy a little bit in my mind and I was playing it everywhere.”

After losing the first set, Kvitova appeared set to become the latest player to lose to Australian Open champion Wozniacki amid her impressive start to the season.

However, she took the second set to a tie-break, then won six consecutive points to clinch it 7-3.

“At 3-1 down, I was just really angry with myself so I just tried to hit some winners. That’s how that ended,” she said.

Kvitova then edged the final set 7-5 to set up a meeting with Muguruza, who advanced after Simona Halep withdrew on Friday with a foot injury.

Wozniacki, who has reached finals in Melbourne and Auckland this season, had the consolation of becoming only the fourth woman to earn $30m in career prize money.

“I think we played both really well and I can take a lot out of that,” the Dane said. “I just need to live and learn and try not to make the same mistake when I play her next time.”

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Rotterdam Open: Roger Federer beats Robin Haase to become oldest world number one

Breaking news

Roger Federer became the oldest world number one in tennis history after he beat Robin Haase at the Rotterdam Open.

The 36-year-old replaces Rafael Nadal, 31, at the summit, as the Spaniard recovers from a thigh injury.

Federer’s prospects looked slim when he lost the first set, but he dropped just two games thereafter to claim a 4-6 6-1 6-1 win and reach the semi-finals.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will face Italian Andreas Seppi or Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the last four.

At the end of the match, Federer sat down in his chair and wiped away tears from his eyes, before returning to the court to take the acclaim from the crowd and being awarded a trophy for his achievement.

He first became world number one in February 2004, but has not topped the rankings since October 2012 and slipped to a low of 17th in January 2017.

That was after he spent six months out recovering from an operation on a knee problem.

However, he has since won eight titles, including Wimbledon last year and two Australian Opens.

Federer surpassed the previous record holder, eight-time Grand Slam-winner Andre Agassi, who was 33 when he last topped the rankings in September 2003.

Analysis – more to come?

Six-time Grand Slam winner Stefan Edberg on BBC Radio 5 live

The way Roger Federer plays, the way he moves on the court, he is probably the only one who was going to get to number one at this stage, this late in the career.

I doubt there is going to be somebody in the near future doing the same. He has done an extraordinary job to get there.

It is quite incredible, I don’t think he believes it himself, and I think everybody is surprised.

He can play pretty freely now, because whatever he does now is going to be a bonus. To play the way he is playing now is quite incredible.

Hopefully he can keep the momentum going, and if he keeps being healthy he is got a really good shot at Wimbledon again.

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'No evidence' Harrison aimed 'racial slur' at Young

Ryan Harrison

American Ryan Harrison will not face action over a claim he directed a “racial slur” at compatriot Donald Young during the New York Open.

The chair umpire intervened during the pair’s first-round meeting on Monday after they argued at a change of ends.

After the match, Young, 28, tweeted: “I’m shocked and disappointed to hear you tell me how you really feel about me as a black tennis player.”

The ATP said on Friday that it could find no evidence of any wrongdoing.

“The match footage did not pick up verbal exchanges between the players,” said the ATP, which also reviewed interviews with match officials and other tournament staff.

“At this time no evidence has been found to support the allegation that Ryan Harrison used a racial slur during the match.”

Harrison, who won the match 6-3 7-6 (7-4), responded to Young’s tweet by saying any video or audio from the match would “100% clear me”.

The 25-year-old added: “The accusations are absolutely untrue. I’m extremely disappointed that someone would say this in reaction to a lost tennis match.”

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Wozniacki complains about opponent's 'disturbing' grunting

Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki

World number one Caroline Wozniacki has complained about Monica Niculescu’s “disturbing” grunting after beating her in the third round at the Qatar Open.

The Australian Open champion won 7-5 6-1 but accused the Romanian of making too much noise and spoke to the umpire.

Wozniacki, 27, continued her criticism off-court, calling Niculescu “a player that tries to get into your head”.

The WTA has said umpires can act on grunting if it is deemed to affect an opponent through a ‘deliberate act’.

“I just tried to let him [the umpire] know to pay attention to her grunting because she’ll hit the ball and two seconds later when the ball is on my side and I’m right about to hit, she’ll start grunting and make a noise, and she’ll change the grunt according to what she feels like,” Wozniacki claimed.

“It’s disturbing. It’s in the rules that they’re not supposed to do that so I was just making sure the umpire was paying attention to that. And she stopped doing that after.”

Wozniacki moved back to the top of the women’s rankings after winning her first grand slam title in Melbourne in January.

But Niculescu, who beat Maria Sharapova in the first round in Qatar, has defended her game.

She told Romanian TV channel Digi Sport: “That was very bad from her, I have never heard a number one talk like that. I am really disappointed by what she said and I think she gives herself too much importance. I didn’t want to get in her head. This is how I play.”

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Federer one win from being oldest world number one

Roger Federer

Roger Federer said he “never imagined” he would be world number one again as he moved to within one victory of being the oldest man to achieve that feat.

The Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion beat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (10-8) 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals of the Rotterdam Open.

If Federer, 36, beats Robin Haase in their last-eight tie on Friday, he will replace Rafael Nadal at the summit.

“I’ve struggled to try and get there. I had to win a lot of matches,” he said.

Federer, who became world number one for the first time in February 2004, has not topped the rankings since October 2012 and slipped to a low of 17th in January 2017.

That was after he spent six months out recovering from an operation on a knee problem.

However, he has since won eight titles, including Wimbledon last year and two Australian Opens.

The oldest number one previously was eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi, who was 33 when he last topped the rankings in September 2003.

Federer had to work hard against Kohlschreiber to maintain his hopes, though, prevailing in a 54-minute first set after a lengthy tie-break.

The second set was no less attritional, with Federer breaking for the only time in the contest to go 6-5 ahead before serving out to clinch a quarter-final place on his second match point.

“Tonight was complicated, I had to fight and struggle,” he said. “I had a good gameplan going in, but I was never able to completely pull it off.”

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Kerber sees off Britain's Konta to reach Qatar Open quarters

Angelique Kerber in Doha

Ex-world number one Angelique Kerber came back from a set down to beat Britain’s Johanna Konta 1-6 6-1 6-3 and reach the Qatar Open quarter-finals.

Tenth seed Konta, 26, raced into a 5-0 lead against the eighth seed and won the opening set in 37 minutes.

But the 30-year-old German took the next in 28 minutes and secured an edgy decider in Doha.

She will play world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the last eight after the top seed beat Monica Niculescu 7-5 6-1.

Kerber won the Sydney International last month and reached the Australian Open semi-finals where she was beaten by Simona Halep.

Having lost her most recent meeting with Konta on the grass at Eastbourne last summer, Kerber could not contain the world number 11 in the early exchanges and the Briton went ahead with her sixth set point.

However, world number nine Kerber soon took command, wrapping up the match in one hour 51 minutes and maintaining an unbeaten record in three matches on hard court against Konta.

Wozniacki committed 18 unforced errors against the unorthodox world number 92 Niculescu and complained to French umpire Emmanuel Joseph during the match about the Romanian’s grunting.

“It isn’t in the rule book that you are not allowed to grunt when the opposing player hits?” the 27-year-old Dane asked.

In a courtside interview after her victory in one hour 30 minutes, Wozniacki said of 30-year-old Niculescu, who beat Maria Sharapova in the first round, “she tries to get in your head.”

Defending champion beaten by teenage qualifier

Catherine Bellis in Doha

Elsewhere, unseeded 18-year-old American qualifier Catherine Bellis beat defending champion and fifth seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in an hour and 36 minutes.

The world number 48 broke Pliskova’s powerful serve five times and it was the teenager’s first success against a player in the world’s top five.

She attributed part of her success down to eating ice cream every night in Doha, which “gives me a bit of energy”.

Bellis will play second seed Halep in the quarter-finals after the Romanian saw off Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-4 6-3.

Third seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine was beaten 6-4 7-5 by former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, seeded 16.

Left-hander Kvitova, 27, has won her past seven meetings with Svitolina and since a first-round defeat to Andrea Petkovic at the Australian Open, the Czech has now won 10 consecutive matches.

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Qatar Open: Johanna Konta beats Carla Suarez Navarro to make last 16

Johanna Konta

Great Britain’s Johanna Konta reached the last 16 of the Qatar Open with a straightforward 6-2 6-2 victory over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in Doha.

The British number one, who beat American Bernarda Pera in the first round, lost her only service game of the match at the start of the second set, but broke Pera three times to progress easily.

The 26-year-old, seeded 10th, faces either Australia’s Sam Stosur or Germany’s Angelique Kerber for a place in the quarter-finals.

There were easy wins for Australian Open champion and world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who beat Germany’s Carina Witthoft 6-2 6-0, and Romanian world number two Simona Halep, who saw off Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-0.

In an all-American last-32 tie, CiCi Bellis beat Madison Keys 2-6 6-3 6-0 to progress and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova came back from a set down to take a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4 victory over Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska.

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