Safarova wins Prague Open title

PRAGUE - Lucie Safarova won her first title of the year by defeating Samantha Stosur of Australia 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 on clay in the Prague Open final on Saturday. Safarova defeated fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova to get into the final, while Stosur enjoyed a walkover when Russia’s Svetlana Kuznestova withdrew due to a thigh injury. Safarova struggled on serve in the opening set and was soon 0-2 down. The Australian then had problems of her own on serve in the second set, four double faults allowing the home player to move ahead. The deciding set was a cliff-hanger with Safarova breaking to love to lead 4-3 before serving twice for the win. It was her first title success since Doha in Feb 2015 and follows an injury-hit start to the season that saw her crash out five times at the first round stage.–AFP

 

Kohlschreiber bids for ATP Munich title

BERLIN - Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber will be bidding to win Munich’s ATP tournament for the third time after blasting past Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-4 in Saturday’s semi-final. In Sunday’s final, Kohlschreiber, 32, who won the Munich title in 2007 and 2012 but lost to Britain’s Andy Murray in last year’s final, will face Austria’s rising star Dominic Thiem but on a rich vein of form. With 26 wins and two titles already this season, Thiem fought back from losing the first set in his semi-final to beat German teenager Alexander Zverev and seal a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 on clay in the Bavarian capital to end the run of his 19-year-old opponent. Kohlschreiber has steam-rolled his way to his fifth Munich final after seeing off compatriot Florian Mayer, Juan Martin del Potro and Fogini en route.–AFP

 

Kyrgios eyes second Estoril final

ESTORIL - In-form Australian Nick Kyrgios moved closer to a second consecutive final at the Estoril Open after dominating Borna Coric 6-4, 6-4 in the quarter-finals on Friday. World number 20 Kyrgios, a losing finalist a year ago to Richard Gasquet, will Saturday face Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who beat Argentine seventh seed Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 7-6 (7/5). “He’s someone I watched when I was growing up,” Kyrgios said. “I’ve always admired how he played. I’m not going to think too much about the match. I know what he’s going to do and I know what I have to do to win.” Kyrgios and Croatian Coric are two of the most promising stars on the ATP but had never previously played each other. At the top of the draw, Pablo Carreno Busta prevented an all-French semi-final as he put out top seed Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-4.–AFP

 

Chen faces Lee in China final

BEIJING - World No 1 Chen Long of China eased past compatriot Tian Houwei at the semifinals of the Asian Badminton Championship on Saturday, setting up a meet with Malaysian rival Lee Chong Wei in the final. Chen beat Tian 21-14, 21-16 in a quarter-final match in the central city of Wuhan, forcing his way through to compete for the men’s singles crown on Sunday. Lee, ranked second in the world, recorded his 11th career win over China’s Lin Dan when he edged past the two-time Olympic champion 22-20, 15-21, 21-4. In the women’s competition world number three and reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui dispatched South Korean seventh seed Sung Ji Hyun 22-20, 21-11 in 40 minutes. Indian star Saina Nehwal crashed out against Chinese opponent Yihan Wang. The 26-year-old went down 16-21, 14-21 in 41 minutes.–AFP

 

Junior Tennis enters semis stage

LAHORE - The Master Paints National Junior Tennis Championship 2016 entered the semifinals stage as quarterfinals of U-16 and U-12 categories were decided on Saturday here at the PLTA tennis courts. In U-14 quarterfinals, M Shoaib played well against M Said and overwhelmed him by 6-0, 6-4. In another match of this age category, Abdullah Adnan outlasted Nalain Abbas 6-1, 6-4 while Hamza Bin Rehan had to dig deep to beat M Abdullah 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. In the U-12 quarterfinals, Sami Zaib outclassed Zaryab Khan 8-0, Faizan Fayyaz beat Bilal Asim 8-6 while Abdul Hanan Khan thumped Hamza Jawad 8-4. In U-18 doubles semifinal, the pair of Harris Irfanul Haq and Syed Nofil Kaleem played well against the pair of Nalain Abbas and Abdullah Adnan and defeated them by 6-1, 4-6 (10-0).–Staff Reporter