Aryna Sabalenka will not play at Indian Wells after announcing she has tested positive for coronavirus.

In an Instagram Story post, the world number two revealed she feels "okay" while isolating after her COVID-19 result, though is "really sad" not to be playing in the tournament this year.

Sabalenka had been due to return to action for the first time since losing at the semi-final stage of the US Open last month.

"Unfortunately, I've tested positive at Indian Wells and won’t be able to compete," the Belarusian posted on Sunday.

"I've started my isolation and I’ll be staying here until I’m cleared by the doctors and health officials. So far I'm feeling okay but really sad to not be able to play this year."

The absence of Sabalenka is a further blow for the event, considering world number one Ash Barty had already pulled out.

Naomi Osaka is another big-name absentee, along with Serena Williams, while the men's edition is minus Novak Djokovic after the five-time champion opted to withdraw.

Emma Raducanu will be involved, however, after the US Open champion accepted a wild card, while Kim Clijsters has done the same as she prepares to continue her comeback with a first appearance at Indian Wells in a decade.

Andy Murray is a wild-card entrant for the men's tournament, with the main draw beginning on Wednesday.

Andy Murray and Kim Clijsters have been awarded wildcards for Indian Wells in October. 

Former world number one Murray will take part in the Indian Wells Masters for the first time since 2017. 

The Scot is competing in San Diego after opting to play the Moselle Open last week in a bid to improve his world ranking following a first-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open. 

Murray has now been handed a chance to improve on his career-best semi-final finish at Indian Wells in 2015, while Clijsters will also feature at the event, which will take place from October 4-17. 

Clijsters, another former world number one, started her comeback in 2019 after a seven-year break from tennis and will return to the tournament for the first time since 2011. 

The four-time major champion underwent knee surgery last year and made her first WTA Tour appearance since the 2020 US Open at the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic this week, losing to Hsieh Su-Wei in the first round. 

A two-time winner of the Indian Wells Open, Clijsters will be joined by Catherine McNally, Claire Liu, Katie Volynets and Katrina Scott. Newly crowned US Open champion Emma Raducanu was already a main-draw wildcard, with Ashlyn Krueger and Elsa Jacquemot also granted a place in the first round. 

A trio of Americans will join Murray in the men's draw, namely Jack Sock, Jenson Brooksby and Zach Svajda, with Denmark's Holger Rune also handed his debut as a main-draw wildcard. 

Wimbledon champion and world number one Ash Barty has withdrawn from this month's Indian Wells Open. 

The Australian has not played since her surprise third-round defeat to Shelby Rogers at the US Open last month. 

Barty follows four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka in pulling out of the California event, the final WTA 1000 tournament of the year. 

The 25-year-old had indicated after her defeat at Flushing Meadows that she planned to play at Indian Wells. 

Defending champion Bianca Andreescu heads a strong field, with world number two Aryna Sabalenka, Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova, French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, Olympic bronze medalist Elina Svitolina and last year's Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin all taking part. 

Three other previous winners – Simona Halep, Elena Vesnina and Victoria Azarenka – will also be present, along with teenager Leylah Fernandez, who reached the US Open final. 

World number one Ash Barty says her Western and Southern Open title holds her in "good stead" ahead of the U.S. Open which starts at Flushing Meadows next Monday.

The Australian defeated unheralded Swiss Jil Teichmann in straight sets in Sunday's final in Cincinnati in the perfect preparation for the U.S. Open.

Barty has never gone further than the fourth round at Flushing Meadows and did not compete in last year's U.S. Open due to COVID-19 concerns.

The 2021 Wimbledon champion, who also won the 2019 French Open crown, looms as a strong favourite for the women's singles title although she is typically refusing to get carried away.

"I think we're just excited that we've got matches under our belt in tough conditions here in Cincy, and that's put us in really good stead going into New York," Barty said.

"This week it was completely 'non-result-focused'. It was about preparing in the best way possible, knowing that we wanted to be ready for New York in a couple of weeks' time.

"Now that we've only got a week in between, we have played plenty of matches, and now it's about kind of refining as best we can to hopefully be feeling good come the first round in New York and just try and do the best that we can there."

On her favouritism, she added: "There are no certainties in sport, no certainties in tennis. It's just about playing each and every day as best you can as they come, and not focusing or concerning yourself or your self-worth with results."

Riding the wave of her Wimbledon triumph, Barty crashed out of the women's singles in the first round at Tokyo 2020 to Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo last month.

The Australian remained grounded after her Cincinnati victory and insisted preparations for the U.S. Open would stay normal.

"I think sometimes after big wins - and I felt it both times after the French Open and after Wimbledon - there's been a little bit of a big crash, more emotionally than anything else, because there's so much invested into that event," Barty said.

She added: "Our practice weeks before grand slams are quite normal. There is nothing fancy, no extra emphasis on anything.

"It's just gauged by how I'm feeling physically, how I'm feeling mentally, and we have had a lot of practice now as a team in being able to read each other and what we think is required.

"Then it's about going out there for the first round, whether it's the Monday or Tuesday, and try to do the best that I can. That's all I can ask of myself."

The draw for the U.S. Open will be revealed on Friday with Barty going in as the top women's seed, with Aryna Sabalenka second seed and reigning champion Naomi Osaka third.

Ash Barty won her first Western and Southern Open title on Sunday with a straight-sets defeat of Jil Teichmann in Cincinnati.

The world number one took her tally to 40 match wins and five WTA Tour titles in 2021 with a 6-3 6-1 victory.

Teichmann, ranked 76th in the world, had won all four of her meetings with top-10 players this season and accounted for Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova and Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic during this exceptional week.

Beating Barty, however, proved a step too far. The Australian recovered from some early jitters, winning 85 per cent of points behind her first serve and breaking her opponent five times.

Teichmann's resistance faltered as errors saw her fall 5-3 behind in the opener and Barty won eight straight games to take command of the contest.

Barty needed just one match point to see out the victory, the first at Cincinnati by an Australian woman since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1973.

"I think being able to come through and play a really clean week and walk away with the title is probably not what I really expected of myself, but [it is] certainly nice," Barty, who did not drop a set all week, told the Tennis Channel.

Barty will be the firm favourite to win the US Open, where she has never before gone beyond the fourth round. The Flushing Meadows grand slam begins on Monday, August 30.

Simona Halep says she is no longer afraid of coronavirus after getting vaccinated and hopes more players will take the jab.

Halep opted against travelling to New York for the US Open last year due to the pandemic before testing positive for COVID-19 last October.

The two-time grand slam champion missed the French Open and Wimbledon this year with a torn calf muscle, but claimed her first win since May at the Western and Southern on Tuesday, beating Magda Linette 6-4 3-6 6-0.

Former world number one Halep revealed she feels much more comfortable back on the circuit after taking the vaccine.

"I don't feel afraid, because I am vaccinated," The Romanian told reporters. "I feel protected. I am taking care. I wear the mask when many people are around."

Players have faced strict protocols since the tour resumed, with the challenges of staying in biosecure bubbles and playing in empty stadiums last year before restrictions gradually eased.

Stefanos Tsitsipas this week said that he would only take the vaccine if it becomes mandatory to play on the ATP Tour after Novak Djokovic stated he hopes it will not become a requirement to take the jab.

Halep hopes fellow professionals take the vaccine so they do not face such strict protocols.

"I don't like the bubbles," Halep said. "I feel very stressed when I'm in the bubble.

"So if people can vaccinate more and more (it) will be better, because we will not have more restrictions anymore."

Naomi Osaka was reduced to tears on Monday in her first WTA Tour news conference since snubbing the media at the French Open.

Osaka withdrew from the second grand slam of the year at Roland Garros almost three months ago after declaring she would not fulfil press conference duties during the tournament.

The four-time major champion cited mental health concerns for reaching that decision and skipped Wimbledon before returning to action at the Tokyo Olympics on home soil.

Osaka, who revealed in Paris she had suffered "long bouts of depression" since winning the US Open in 2018, agreed to speak to the press as she prepares return to the WTA Tour at the Western and Southern in Cincinnati this week.

The world number two was emotional after being asked how she benefits from a high-media profile but does not like talking to media.

Osaka answered the question from the journalist, but the video call was paused as she cried before later resuming the press conference.

She said before pausing: "That's interesting: I would say the occasion, when to do the press conferences is what I feel is the most difficult.

"I'm actually very interested in that point of view. For me I feel this is something I can't really speak for everybody, I can only speak for myself.

"But ever since I was younger, I've had a lot of media interest on me, and I think it's because of my background as well as how I play.

"Because in the first place I'm a tennis player, which is why a lot of people are interested in me. So I would say in that regard I'm quite different to a lot of people, and I can't really help that there are some things I tweet or say that create a lot of news articles or things like that.

"But I would also say, I'm not really sure how to balance it too, I'm figuring it out at the same time as you are, I would say."

Osaka then broke down while the next question was being put to her, but was able to continue.

The 23-year-old was given a first-round bye in what will be her first WTA tournament since the French Open.

 

French Open champion Iga Swiatek beat Elina Svitolina and Coco Gauff on a hectic Saturday to set up a clash with Karolina Pliskova in the Internazionali d'Italia final.

The Polish teenager began her day with a 6-2 7-5 morning victory over fifth seed Svitolina, twice a winner of this tournament in Rome.

It was a match that was carried over from Friday's schedule after rain interrupted play, and Swiatek delivered a convincing performance.

That set up the semi-final clash with Gauff, the 17-year-old American who was competing at this stage of a WTA 1000 event for the first time, having been gifted her last-four place when Ash Barty abandoned their quarter-final match due to injury on Friday.

There was no sign of fatigue from Swiatek as the 19-year-old powered to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 victory in a battle of the leading teenage stars of the women's game, who faced each for the first time in what could be a long rivalry.

Swiatek said: "I felt really good today. It's a big difference between my previous matches and today. I was able to beat Elina, so that shows that my game is here, I'm ready for anyone. It gave me a real confidence boost."

Quoted on the WTA website, the 15th seed added: "It's always hard to play against a young superstar, especially when I'm not used to that because I was always the youngest one.

"I just tried to have a high level of energy, even though it was my second match."

Between her two matches, Swiatek would have learned it was Pliskova waiting in the final, as the Czech ninth seed defeated Croatian Petra Martic 6-1 3-6 6-2 to keep up her remarkable record in the Italian capital.

Pliskova won the Rome title in 2019 and was runner-up to Simona Halep last year, but the 29-year-old former world number one has not been to a final since this event unusually took place in September of last year, having been delayed due to the pandemic.

Swiatek won as a major outsider at Roland Garros in October, defying her world ranking which at the time was a lowly 54th, and will face, in Pliskova, a player who has yet to win a grand slam title, a glaring absence amid an otherwise stellar career.

Against Gauff, Swiatek made 25 winners and just 16 unforced errors, a healthy ratio, and took three of her four break-point opportunities.

She sealed victory on a third match point, a big backhand forcing a stretching Gauff to chip beyond the baseline.

Gauff hit seven aces but also five double faults and had 33 winners and 32 unforced errors in the contest.

Ash Barty dramatically abandoned her Internazionali d'Italia quarter-final against Coco Gauff on Friday due to a right arm injury.

The world number one was leading 6-4 2-1 in Rome when, with her left thigh also heavily strapped, she pulled out of the match following talks with a trainer.

Barty's decision was precautionary as she will begin her French Open campaign in a little over two weeks' time, bidding to regain the title she won two years ago.

The scare came just hours after world number three Simona Halep announced she tore a calf muscle this week, putting the Romanian's Roland Garros prospects in some doubt.

Providing an update after the match with Gauff, which was interrupted by a rain delay, Australian Barty said: "The pain was becoming too severe so it was important to listen to my body and do the right thing knowing we have a slam."

Gauff, who had hit 12 winners to 15 unforced errors prior to her opponent's withdrawal, will now compete in her first career WTA 1000 semi-final.

Karolina Pliskova remained on course for a second Rome triumph in three years, after saving three match points to edge out Jelena Ostapenko.

The 2019 champion, who also finished runner-up last year, was 5-4 down in the final set when digging deep to hold off her 49th-ranked opponent.

The thrilling match went to a tie-break and Pliskova reeled off seven straight points after losing the opener to advance 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-1).

"I'm just proud of how I fought," Pliskova said at her post-match news conference. "I'm happy that I stayed in there and fought until the end.

"We played last month, so I knew what was going to be happening. You can never get ready for some of the balls which she's playing."

Petra Martic stands between Pliskova and a place in the final for the third year running after the Croatian defeated Jessica Pegula 7-5 6-4.

Pegula eliminated Naomi Osaka earlier in the week but was second best against Martic, who progressed in one hour and 40 minutes.

Martic trailed 2-0 in the opening set before twice breaking Pegula to move 3-2 in front, but her opponent hit back to make it 5-5 in a tight contest.

However, Martic managed to break in the 11th game and served out the set, before showing her steeliness in the second to remain on course for a maiden WTA 1000 crown.  

Ash Barty will meet Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia after an impressive defeat of Veronika Kudermetova.

The world number one claimed her 27th Tour-level win of this year, seeing off Kudermetova 6-3 6-3 in 81 minutes to reach the last eight in Rome for the first time.

Barty admitted it took some time to get used to the "wow factor" of centre court in the Italian capital, but she rarely looked under threat as she moved to 13-2 on clay in 2021.

The Australian would have faced Aryna Sabalenka for the third tournament in a row had it not been for a sterling performance from Gauff, who won 7-5 6-3 to secure a fourth quarter-final this year.

"Coco has shown that she loves to bring her best tennis against the players that challenge her the most," said Barty, who has never played against the American teenager. "She's played an exceptional tournament thus far. She's got the ability to take the game on. She's aggressive, she can run, she can trust her legs.

"I think it's going to be important for me to try to get the match back on my terms as often as possible. I know when they're in her patterns, the way she likes to play, she's extremely dangerous and very good at what she does. I think it's going to be a new challenge, a clean slate for both of us."

Matters were more difficult for reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek, who saved two match points before beating Barbora Krejcikova 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 in a contest lasting nearly three hours.

Powerful serving from Krejcikova and some errant shots from Swiatek gifted the Czech the chance to serve out a straight-sets win, but Swiatek held firm before taking the tie-break.

Swiatek persisted with a drop shot that seemed to cause difficulties for her and her opponent before Krejcikova's aim went awry at the end of the decider.

"I had fun when I played drop shots because today I felt them really good," said Swiatek, who will now face fifth seed Elina Svitolina after her 6-4 6-2 beating of Garbine Muguruza.

"I asked myself a question, what would annoy me in that situation? So, I tried to do that. So, yeah, sometimes it didn't look pretty, but I'm happy that I could do that. One year ago I wouldn't even come up with a solution like that. That's a progress."

Jessica Pegula followed up her shock win over Naomi Osaka by defeating Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets. She will now face Petra Martic, who came from a set down to defeat world number 44 Nadia Podoroska – conqueror of Serena Williams on Wednesday.

Ninth seed Karolina Pliskova, who beat Vera Zvonareva 7-5 6-3, will face Jelena Ostapenko following her three-set defeat of Angelique Kerber.

Garbine Muguruza eased into the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Tuesday thanks to a comfortable victory over lucky loser Patricia Maria Tig, though Belinda Bencic was the biggest casualty on a rain-interrupted day.

Spaniard Muguruza was due to face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova until the Russian withdrew due to an abdominal issue, giving Tig a reprieve and the chance of an upset.

But Muguruza won all but three games in a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 victory that required little more than an hour on court as the former world number one went to 22-6 for the season.

Conditions were not great as drizzle persisted for much of the match, but Muguruza was grateful to progress after a generally testing day.

"It was a weird day," the 12th seed said afterwards. "I woke up [and the weather was] sunny, had an opponent. Then it turned out I had another opponent and it was raining the whole match. We had a little bit of everything!

"But, Rome, it's such a familiar tournament. I played here so many times, I've had nice matches. I love this clay, the red clay. It's familiar to me. I'm just looking forward to getting as many matches as possible."

Bencic will not be joining her in the next round, as she became the highest seed to be eliminated on the day in a 6-3 6-4 defeat to Kristina Mladenovic.

The two played each other under two weeks ago in the first round of the Madrid Open, with Bencic victorious, but Mladenovic got her revenge as she capitalised on her opponent's seven double faults.

Like Tig, Sloane Stephens was also competing as a lucky loser as she came up against compatriot Madison Keys, though the outcome was no different.

Keys claimed only her second win in six meetings with Stephens but had to come from behind as she eventually clinched it 4-6 6-2 7-5 after two-and-a-half hours on court to set up a clash with 15th seed Iga Swiatek.

Elise Mertens, the 14th seed, was also dumped out of the competition, losing out 4-6 6-2 6-3 to Veronika Kudermetova, whom she had beaten in straight sets in their three WTA Tour contests before this one.

Veteran Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova, ranked 665 in the world, awaits top seed Ashleigh Barty after the 33-year-old showed character to fight back and beat Martina Trevisan 0-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (8-6), while Nadia Podoroska set up a second-round clash with Serena Williams after seeing off Laura Siegemund 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-1.

Petra Kvitova recovered from a poor start to beat Magda Linette in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Monday.

Linette took just 31 minutes to win the first set in Rome, but world number 10 Kvitova responded superbly to win 1-6 6-0 6-2.

Two-time grand slam champion Kvitova racked up 16 unforced errors in the first set, yet rallied like the great competitor she has proved to be for so long to ensure she will face Vera Zvonareva - conqueror of Christina McHale - in the second round.

The 11th seed from the Czech Republic said: "The first set I started very badly. I was missing almost everything. On the court... [the ball] was bouncing everywhere as well. A little bit windy. I just had to get used to probably everything.

"The beginning of the second set when finally I held my serve and broke her serve, I think since then it was much, much better."

French Open champion Iga Swiatek advanced when Alison Riske retired at 5-4 down in the first set due to a recurrence of a left foot injury.

Swiatek, who will take on Sloane Stephens or Madison Keys in the second round, made 18 unforced errors but had won four games in a row from 4-1 down when the American was unable to continue. 

Coco Gauff battled past Yulia Putintseva 7-5 4-6 6-4 to set up a meeting with 17th seed Maria Sakkari  - who fended off qualifier Polona Hercog 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-2.

Amanda Anisimova will do battle with Elina Svitolina, a winner of this tournament twice, after defeating Wang Qiang 7-5 6-3. Jessie Pegula, Jennifer Brady and Petra Martic were among the other winners on day one.

Second seed Rebecca Peterson was dumped out of the L'Open 35 de Saint-Malo after suffering a 6-4 6-0 quarter-final defeat to Varvara Gracheva. 

Russian Gracheva will face Italy's Jasmine Paolini in the last four after she overcame Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-3 7-5. 

Peterson's defeat means Viktorija Golubic is the highest-ranked player remaining, the Swiss fifth seed cruising past Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1 6-0. 

She will face Harmony Tan in the semi-finals after the French player saw off Aliona Bolsova 7-6 (7-3) 6-0.

Aryna Sabalenka will have a shot at redemption when she faces top seed Ash Barty in the Madrid Open final after beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets on Thursday.

World number seven Sabalenka squandered a one-set lead to lose to Barty in the Stuttgart Open final two weeks ago.

But she will have another crack at winning silverware in the Spanish capital in Saturday's final against Barty, who saw off Paula Badosa in straight sets in the other last-four match.

"I'm looking forward to the final," she said in her on-court interview. "First of all I will have a good rest and do everything I can to prepare myself as good as I can. 

"It'll be really interesting to play another final against Ash. I think it'll be a great battle. I think everyone coming here can see themselves winning the tournament. I'll do my best."

Sabalenka had not dropped a single set in Madrid in the lead-up to the semi-final and that remains the case after cruising past Pavlyuchenkova in a little over an hour.

The fifth seed converted four of her five break points and won 73 per cent of her second-service points.

Pavlyuchenkova, ranked 41st in the world, lost serve in the fourth and eighth games of the opening set and failed to hold on her first two service games in the second set.

Despite breaking Sabalenka in the seventh game, the Belarussian proved far too strong for her opponent and got over the line with a fourth ace of the match to reach her third final of the season.

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