Venus Williams, now ranked No. 697, couldn’t cause another upset at the Birmingham Classic, losing to second-seeded Jelena Ostapenko in the second round. Williams, who recently returned after six months out with a hamstring injury, received an off-court medical timeout when at 2-2 in the second set. Though she fought for every point and even saved a match point at 5-3 before recovering to win four games in a row and take it to a decider, her mobility was limited by the end of a 44-minute third set, and Ostapenko sealed victory with a forehand down the line. Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion and five-time winner of the Wimbledon singles, was granted a wild card by the All England Club for this year’s championships, and she has justified it.
Barbora Krejcikova Reaches Quarterfinals of Birmingham Classic
Top-seeded Barbora Krejcikova maintained her confident progress by reaching the quarterfinals of the Birmingham Classic with a straight-set win over fellow Czech player Tereza Martincova. With the 6-4, 6-4 victory, Krejcikova has yet to drop a set at the tournament. The No. 12-ranked Krejcikova won her first-round match 6-3, 6-3 against Cristina Bucsa.
Carlos Alcaraz Happy with Play on Grass Ahead of Wimbledon
Carlos Alcaraz, the new big thing in men’s tennis, looked quite at home on the lush green surface at the Queen’s Club Championships in beating Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals. Alcaraz, ranked No. 2 and the top-seeded player in west London, is playing the Wimbledon warmup event for the first time. These are his first professional matches on grass outside the All England Club, where he will head next month seeking his second Grand Slam title after winning the US Open last year. Alcaraz said he has been taking inspiration from Roger Federer and Andy Murray as he makes the transition from clay to grass. Alcaraz will next play qualifier Grigor Dimitrov, the 2014 champion who beat eighth-seeded Francisco Cerundolo 6-3, 7-5.
Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff Both Upset at the Berlin Open
Second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and seventh-ranked Coco Gauff had upset losses to Russian players in the second round of the Berlin Open on Thursday. Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion from Belarus, was beaten 6-2, 7-6 (2) by Veronika Kudermetova despite improving after an error-filled start. Gauff lost 6-4, 6-0 to Ekaterina Alexandrova. Players from Russia and Belarus are returning to Wimbledon next month after they were barred last year following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Yanina Wickmayer Rallies to Knock Off Sofia Kenin at Veneto Open
Yanina Wickmayer will face top-seeded Tatjana Maria in the quarterfinals of the Veneto Open after rallying to beat former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 on Wednesday. Wickmayer went on to win five of the final six games to keep the Belgian on course for a fourth title of the season. Sixth-seeded Yuan Yue also eased into the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Jang Su-jeong. The Chinese player will next face fourth-seeded Olga Danilovic of Serbia after she beat Sinja Kraus 6-3, 7-6 (2).