Osaka retires, Raducanu exits in Toronto

Published August 11, 2022
MONTREAL: Argentina’s Sebastian Baez plays a return to Nick Kyrgios of Australia during their Montreal Open match at the IGA Stadium.—Reuters
MONTREAL: Argentina’s Sebastian Baez plays a return to Nick Kyrgios of Australia during their Montreal Open match at the IGA Stadium.—Reuters

TORONTO: A tearful Naomi Osaka retired injured and US Open champion Emma Raducanu fell at the first hurdle as the top women’s players continued their preparations for Flushing Meadows at the Toronto Open on Tuesday.

News of the pending retirement of Serena Williams overshadowed proceedings at the tune-up for the year’s final Grand Slam but there were no shortage of first-round upsets for fans to enjoy, including one by local Bianca Andreescu.

Twice US Open champion Osaka, in only her second tournament back from an Achilles injury, battled on gamely before retiring while trailing Kaia Kanepi 7-6 (7-4), 3-0.

“I felt my back from the start of the match, and despite trying my best to push through it, I just wasn’t able to today,” said Osaka.

Toronto-born Raducanu conceded a tight first set to Camila Giorgi but looked on course to level up the contest when she took a 2-0 lead in the second.

The Italian defending champion stormed back to rattle off the last six games with a mix of solid returns, net play and movement, however, easing into the second round 7-6 (7-0), 6-2.

Andreescu later delighted a packed house with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina in an evening match.

There were also first-round wins for 10th seed Coco Gauff, China’s Zheng Qinwen, Belgian Elise Mertens, Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

Greek third seed Maria Sakkari stamped out any chance of another upset in the final match of the day, fighting off a comeback from 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens to take a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory in a second round tie.

KYRGIOS WINS

At the ATP Montreal Masters on Tuesday, Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios let an early lead slip but regrouped for a 6-4, 6-4 first-round victory over Sebastian Baez.

World number 37 Kyrgios, a title winner last week in Washington, next faces world number one Daniil Medvedev, who won last week’s Los Cabos crown.

The day was a disaster for Britain’s Andy Murray as the treble Grand Slam winner was cut off in the first round, a 6-1, 6-3 victim of Taylor Fritz.

Next up for Fritz is a meeting with countryman Frances Tiafoe after he battled back from a set down to see off Benjamin Bonzi 6-7 (6-8). 7-5, 6-3.

Earlier, fellow Aussie Alex De Minaur finished off a match delayed from Monday by rain, winning four of the only five points remaining to add to the misery of Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).

In other first-round action, Frenchman Gael Monfils returned to the ATP Tour after a three-month break with a 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-2 win over Pedro Martinez and will next face American Maxime Cressy, who was a 6-4 6-4 winner over Aslan Karatsev.

Matteo Berrettini’s comeback from the Covid-19 positive test which forced him to quit Wimbledon stalled out, with the Italian losing 6-3, 6-2 to Paolo Carreno Busta in the opening round.

Alex de Minaur, Dan Evans, Marin Cilic, Tommy Paul and Grigor Dimitrov were among other first-round winners on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2022

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