Rafael Nadal beats Albert Ramos in Cincinnati Open for quarter-final place

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal moved into the Cincinnati Open quarter-finals with victory over fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos.

Both players were wearing black ribbons on their shirts in memory of the victims of the attacks that took place in Barcelona and Cambrils on Thursday.

Nadal, 31, won 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 to set up a quarter-final tie with Australia’s Nick Kyrgrios.

Kyrgrios earlier beat Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Kyrgrios and Nadal will play their quarter-final match later on Friday (not before 00:00 BST on Saturday), because of the rain delays that affected Thursday’s schedule.

Roger Federer’s withdrawal from the tournament means Nadal will return to world number one for the first time since July 2014, taking over from Andy Murray who is also injured.

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Cincinnati Open: Johanna Konta beats Dominika Cibulkova to reach quarter-finals

Johanna Konta

Britain’s Johanna Konta won a hard-hitting contest against Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova to reach the Cincinnati Open quarter-finals.

The seventh seed won 6-3 6-4 to reach the last eight for the first time, setting up a rematch of her Wimbledon quarter-final against Simona Halep.

Romanian second seed Halep beat Latvian 15th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-4 6-3.

In the men’s event, top seed Rafael Nadal will play fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas later on Thursday.

Bulgarian seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov beat Argentine Juan Martin del Potro for the first time in six attempts, coming through 6-3 7-5.

Konta sees off spirited Cibulkova

Konta, 26, did well to win a match that was far tougher than the straight-set scoreline suggests and break new ground in Cincinnati.

Five double-faults and a first-serve percentage of just 54% meant the Briton had to work harder than usual in her service games, with Cibulkova teeing off aggressively on the return.

Konta took the first set with two breaks of serve to one and looked to have the match well under control when she broke at the start of the second set.

However, Cibulkova refused to submit and had three break points for a 4-2 lead as a gripping set unfolded.

Konta clung on, and grabbed her chance with a deep return on break point at 4-4 before serving out for a fine win, finishing with 24 winners to Cibulkova’s 10.

Muguruza back from the brink

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza saved three match points on her way to beating American Madison Keys for the first time in four meetings.

The Spanish fourth seed came through 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-3) to set up a quarter-final against Russian eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-4.

“You never knew who was going to win until the last point,” said Muguruza. “I had match points against me so it was really hard. I battled back and I’m glad things went my way.”

Sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark saw off Australian qualifier Ashleigh Barty 6-4 6-2.

World number one Karolina Pliskova and fifth seed Elina Svitolina are among those in action later on Thursday.

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Victoria Azarenka set to miss the US Open – 'not willing' to leave son behind

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Victoria Azarenka is set to miss the US Open because she is “not willing” to leave her child at home in California.

The Belarusian former world number one returned to tennis in June after giving birth to her son, Leo, in December.

Azarenka, 28, separated from his father in July and the pair are working “to resolve some of the legal processes”.

In a statement, Azarenka said: “The way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the US Open this year is if I leave Leo behind.”

The US Open gets under way in New York on 28 August.

More to follow.

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Ilie Nastase: Romania's Fed Cup captain appeals against ITF ban after Fed Cup row

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Romania Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase has appealed after being banned from official roles by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) until 2021.

The sanction followed his tirade at a Fed Cup tie in Bucharest in April.

He swore at an umpire, insulted British number one Johanna Konta and her captain Anne Keothavong and made a derogatory comment about Serena Williams’ unborn child.

Nastase, 70, was also fined $10,000 (£7,700).

As it stands, as well as being prevented from taking any official roles, he will not be accredited for ITF events until 2019.

An independent tribunal will be arranged to hear his appeal.

Grand Slam tournaments are not included within the sanction, nor the respective ATP or WTA Tours, as they lie outside the jurisdiction of the ITF.

The ITF adjudication panel said his comment about Serena Williams’ unborn child was racially insensitive, adding that he made advances of a “sexual nature” towards Keothavong.

Nastase said his comments were intended as a joke and had been misinterpreted.

WARNING: Some people may find the language below offensive

During the Fed Cup in April, Romanian player Simona Halep was answering a question in English about former world number one Williams and her pregnancy. Nastase then turned to one of his other team members and added in Romanian: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”

Speaking to BBC Sport earlier in the year, he defended his comment, saying: “For me, it’s not racial. Somebody in England thinks it is.”

Former world number one Nastase also put his arm tightly around Keothavong and asked for her room number, in earshot of the watching media.

Nastase

The following day before play had even started, Nastase insulted a British journalist over their reporting of his comments about Williams, calling the Press Association’s tennis correspondent Eleanor Crooks “stupid”.

Later, after Konta and Keothavong complained of calling out from the crowd in the World Group II play-off tie in Constanta, Nastase was involved in a discussion with officials in which he used foul and abusive language.

He then called both Konta and Keothavong “a bitch” multiple times, as well as swearing at them.

Nastase, who won the US Open in 1972 and the French Open the following year, has said he would quit tennis if he was banned.

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Cincinnati Open: Venus Williams knocked out in second round by qualifier Ashleigh Barty

Venus Williams

World number nine Venus Williams was knocked out in the second round of the Cincinnati Open by Australian qualifier Ashleigh Barty.

Barty, ranked 48 in the world, beat the Wimbledon finalist 6-3 2-6 6-2 to earn a first career victory over a top 10-ranked player.

Williams, 37, served up six double faults in an error-strewn performance.

Barty, 21, will now face the winner of Elena Vesnina against Caroline Wozniacki in the third round.

Elsewhere, Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro eased through to the round of 16 with a 6-2 6-2 victory over Serbian Aleksandra Krunic.

American Madison Keys saw off Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in 6-2 6-1, where she will face Wimbledon champion and fourth seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

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Kei Nishikori: World number nine will miss the rest of the season after injury

Kei Nishikori

Japan’s Kei Nishikori is out for the rest of the season after tearing a tendon in his right wrist.

The world number nine joins 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka in missing the US Open, which starts on 28 August.

Nishikori, 27, is also one of seven top-10 players to pull out of this week’s Cincinnati Masters.

“Kei hit a serve during practice and heard a ‘pop’ in his wrist,” said a statement from his manager.

“At this stage, we have elected not to do surgery and Kei is in a cast. After the swelling comes down in the next weeks, we will evaluate next steps.”

Djokovic, Wawrinka, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic are the other top players missing in Cincinnati.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who is seeded first, will be the new world number one from Monday after Federer’s withdrawal.

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Cincinnati Open: Britain's Johanna Konta through to third round

Johanna Konta

Britain’s Johanna Konta beat Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands to reach the third round at the Cincinnati Open.

World number seven Konta broke early on in the first to take the set 6-3 with a strong performance on her first serve.

Bertens, ranked 27th, broke Konta in the second but the Briton found three breaks of her own to win 6-3 6-3.

Konta will play either Alize Cornet of France or Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova next, while world number two Simona Halep beat Taylor Townsend 6-4 6-1.

Romanian Halep plays the winner of Anastasija Sevastova and Roberta Vinci in the third round before a possible meeting with Konta in the quarter-final.

Earlier in the day Wimbledon 2017 finalist and world number nine Venus Williams beat fellow American Alison Riske 6-2 6-0 to ease into the second round.

But this year’s French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko was beaten 6-4 6-4 by world number 85 Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia.

And world number 10 Agnieszka Radwanska also failed to progress beyond the first round after being knocked out by Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-4 6-4.

Del Potro through to second round

Juan Martin del Potro

In the men’s event, Juan Martin del Potro fought back from a set down to beat Tomas Berdych and reach the second round.

The Argentine, ranked 30th in the world, beat the Czech 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-0 in one hour and 55 minutes.

He will face American world number 244 Mitchell Krueger in the next round.

Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios of Australia beat Belgian ninth seed David Goffin 6-2 6-3 to set up a second-round tie against Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.

And world number 10 Milos Raonic has withdrawn from the tournament with an injury to his left wrist.

The Canadian joins fellow top-10 players Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic in missing the event, while 2016 US Open winner Stan Wawrinka and 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic are out for the rest of the season.

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Maria Sharapova given US Open wildcard

Maria Sharapova

Russian player Maria Sharapova has been awarded a wildcard for the main draw of this year’s US Open.

This is the first Grand Slam the 30-year-old has been given a main draw pass since returning to action in April following a 15-month drugs ban.

She was denied wildcard for the French Open and did not request one for this year’s Wimbledon, which she missed through injury.

The five-time Grand Slam winner and former world number one is ranked 148.

More to follow.

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Rafael Nadal to return to number one after Roger Federer's Cincinnati withdrawal

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Rafael Nadal will be the new world number one from next Monday after Roger Federer withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters with a back injury.

The Swiss 19-time Grand Slam winner was the only player who could have denied Spain’s Nadal taking the top spot in the rankings from Andy Murray.

Federer was injured in Sunday’s Rogers Cup final defeat by Alexander Zverev.

Briton Murray pulled out of Cincinnati last week as he continues to recover from a hip problem.

Nadal returns to the top of the rankings for the first time since July 2014.

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Rogers Cup: Alexander Zverev beats Roger Federer in Montreal final

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Germany’s Alexander Zverev became just the third man to beat Roger Federer this year as the 20-year-old German won his fifth title of 2017 in Montreal.

Zverev, ranked eighth, won 6-3 6-4 at the Rogers Cup to claim his second Masters 1000 title and extend his winning run to 10 matches.

Federer, 36, lost for just the third time in 38 matches this year.

The Swiss can still take the number one ranking if results go his way at the Cincinnati Open next week.

Either Federer or Rafael Nadal will replace Andy Murray at the top of the standings on 21 August.

More to follow.

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