Sasnovich, Barty through to Sydney International semifinals

BC-TEN--Sydney International,2nd Ld-Writethru

Jan 10, 2019 6:42AM (GMT 11:42) - 202 words

Eds: Updates with late results. With AP Photos.

SYDNEY (AP) — Aliaksandra Sasnovich advanced to the Sydney International semifinals by beating Timea Bacsinszky 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday.

The 33rd-ranked Sasnovich reached the quarterfinals last week in Brisbane.

Sasnovich will next face either two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber. Kvitova and Kerber's match was suspended by rain at 2-2 in the opening set.

Ashleigh Barty, who beat top-seeded Simon Halep on Wednesday, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Elise Mertens, breaking the Belgian player's serve six times.

"I thought it was a little bit of a slow start, but it was good to get the ball rolling mid to late in that first set," Barty said.

Barty will next meet seventh-seeded Kiki Bertens, who beat Yulia Putintseva 6-2, 6-2.

In men's quarterfinals, eighth-seeded Andreas Seppi upset top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, No. 3 Diego Schwartzman beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (1), and Alex de Minaur beat Jordan Thompson 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Thursday

At Olympic Park Tennis Centre

Sydney

Purse: Men, $527,880 (ATP250); Women, $823,000 (Premier)

Surface: Hard-Outdoor

Singles

Men

Quarterfinals

Andreas Seppi (8), Italy, def. Stefanos Tsitsipas (1), Greece, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Alex de Minaur, Australia, def. Jordan Thompson, Australia, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Diego Schwartzman (3), Argentina, def. Yoshihito Nishioka, Japan, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (1).

Gilles Simon (4), France, def. John Millman, Australia, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3).

Women

Quarterfinals

Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Belarus, def. Timea Bacsinszky, Switzerland, 6-3, 6-3.

Ashleigh Barty, Australia, def. Elise Mertens (10), Belgium, 6-3, 6-3.

Kiki Bertens (7), Netherlands, def. Yulia Putintseva, Kazakhstan, 6-2, 6-2.

Petra Kvitova (5), Czech Republic, def. Angelique Kerber (2), Germany, 6-4, 6-1.

Doubles

Men

Quarterfinals

Lleyton Hewitt and Jordan Thompson, Australia, def. Martin Klizan, Slovakia, and Nicholas Monroe, United States, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Women

Quarterfinals

Aleksandra Krunic, Serbia, and Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic, def. Gabriela Dabrowski, Canada, and Xu Yifan (1), China, 6-2, 6-4.

Semifinals

Aleksandra Krunic, Serbia, and Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic, def. Miyu Kato and Makoto Ninomiya, Japan, 7-5, 6-2.

Eri Hozumi, Japan, and Alicja Rosolska, Poland, def. Andreja Klepac, Slovenia, and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (3), Spain, 4-6, 6-2, 10-8.

Alize Cornet advances to semifinals at Hobart International

HOBART, Australia — Former Hobart International champion Alize Cornet moved a step closer to another title in Tasmania with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen in the quarterfinals Thursday.

The sixth-seeded Cornet, who won the event in 2016 and hasn't dropped a set this year, overcame a fall and skinned knee to reach the semifinals.

Cornet served for the match at 5-2 in the second set but was broken as Minnen hit some clean winners.

"To finally close it out at 5-4, I was pretty tight, so I'm happy I could finish the match," Cornet said. "To be in the semifinal is a great start to the year."

Cornet will next play Sofia Kenin for a place in the final. The 20-year-old American beat veteran Kirsten Flipkins 7-5, 7-5.

In other quarterfinal matches, Belinda Bencic beat Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (2) 6-3 and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova defeated Irina-Camelia Begu 7-5, 7-5.

Thursday

At The Domain Tennis Centre

Hobart, Australia

Purse: $226,750 (Intl.)

Surface: Hard-Outdoor

Singles

Quarterfinals

Sofia Kenin, United States, def. Kirsten Flipkens (7), Belgium, 7-5, 7-5.

Alize Cornet (6), France, def. Greet Minnen, Belgium, 6-1, 6-4.

Belinda Bencic, Switzerland, def. Dayana Yastremska, Ukraine, 7-6 (2), 6-3.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Slovakia, def. Irina-Camelia Begu, Romania, 7-5, 7-5.

Doubles

Quarterfinals

Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan (1), Taiwan, def. Dalila Jakupovic, Slovenia, and Sabrina Santamaria, United States, walkover.

Kohlschreiber, Sandgren, Norrie, Struff reach Auckland semis

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated second-seeded Fabio Fognini again 6-3, 6-1 to reach the ASB Classic semifinals on Thursday.

Unseeded Kohlschreiber, who won the tournament in 2008, will have to go through Tennys Sandgren to reach another final in Auckland on his 12th visit.

The other semifinal will feature New Zealand-born Englishman Cameron Norrie, a wild card, against Jan-Lennard Struff. Norrie or Struff will reach his first ATP final.

Fognini called for the trainer at one point, and in the second set he made little effort to resist Kohlschreiber's progress to his seventh win over the Italian in nine meetings.

"I'm still improving my game, even at 35 years old. I think you are still able to improve," Kohlschreiber said.

He captured his first service break in the third game, held serve in the following game which lasted 10 minutes and contained five deuces, then clinched the set with relative comfort, breaking Fognini again in the ninth game.

Sandgren, an Australian Open quarterfinalist last year, defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 7-6 (5) without facing a break point.

Sandgren had eight break-point chances but converted only one.

Norrie beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (3), 6-3, and Struff beat fourth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (5), 6-7 (8), 7-6 (9) in three hours to ensure no seeds reached the semifinals.

Thursday

At ASB Tennis Arena

Auckland, New Zealand

Purse: $527,880 (ATP250)

Surface: HaRD-Outdoor

Singles

Quarterfinals

Tennys Sandgren, United States, def. Leonardo Mayer, Argentina, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany, def. Fabio Fognini (2), Italy, 6-3, 6-1.

Cameron Norrie, Britain, def. Taylor Fritz, United States, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Jan-Lennard Struff, Germany, def. Pablo Carreno Busta (4), Spain, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (6), 7-6 (7).

Doubles

Quarterfinals

Raven Klassen, South Africa, and Michael Venus (3), New Zealand, def. Guido Pella, Argentina, and Joao Sousa, Portugal, 7-5, 6-3.

Ben Mclachlan, Japan, and Jan-Lennard Struff, Germany, def. Marcus Daniell, New Zealand, and Wesley Koolhof, Netherlands, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5).

Bob and Mike Bryan (2), United States, def. Austin Krajicek, United States, and Artem Sitak, New Zealand, 7-6 (6), 2-6, 10-2.

Spanish police arrest tennis players in match-fixing ring

MADRID — Spanish police say 28 professional tennis players, including one who participated in last year's U.S. Open, have been linked to an international organized group accused of fixing matches.

Authorities said on Thursday the players tainted results after taking bribes from an Armenian ring that was dismantled in October. Fifteen people were arrested at the time, including some of the tennis players.

Eleven houses were raided and police seized luxury vehicles, a shotgun, credit cards, and 167,000 euros ($191,000) in cash.

It wasn't clear if the player who took part in the U.S. Open was among those detained.

Police accused Spaniard player Marc Fornell-Mestres, whose highest career singles ranking was 236th in 2007, of acting as the link between players and the Armenian ring that bribed them for betting purposes.

No other names had been immediately disclosed by authorities.

The 36-year-old Fornell-Mestres was provisionally suspended from professional tennis at the end of last year, according to the Tennis Integrity Unit, which said the suspension related to an investigation into "alleged breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program." Fornell-Mestres was ranked 1007th in singles and 772th in doubles at the end of 2018.

It was a warning by the Tennis Integrity Unit in 2017 that prompted Spanish authorities to begin the investigation.

Police said the organized group bribed the players to guarantee predetermined results and used the identities of thousands of citizens to place international bets on the matches. Authorities said members of the Armenian ring attended the matches to ensure the players complied with what was previously agreed.

European Union law enforcement agency Europol, which supported the operation led by Spanish authorities, said at least 97 matches from lower-tier Futures and Challenger tournaments were fixed.

In total, 83 people were implicated in the probe, including the alleged leaders of the Armenian group. More than 40 bank accounts used by those allegedly involved with the ring were blocked by authorities.

Police are also investigating what they suspect are strong links between some of the suspects arrested in Spain and an Armenian-Belgian crime gang broken up by Belgium police last year, also suspected of fixing tennis matches. In the Belgium case, police announced in June the arrest of 13 people in Belgium and said the gang also targeted lower-level tennis matches.

-- By TALES AZZONI , AP Sports Writer